Polish Society for Film and Media Studies Award
The author of the Book of the Year will receive the Polish Society for Film and Media Studies Award on the Chamber Stage of the Musical Theatre.
The Jury’s explication and winners’ bios:
The Jury of the Polish Society for Film and Media Studies decided that the Book of the Year Award goes ex aequo to Dawid Głownia for Początki kina w Japonii na tle przemian społeczno-politycznych kraju [The beginnings of cinema in Japan on the backdrop of the country’s socio-political transformations] and Urszula Biel for Kultura filmowa prowincji górnośląskiej: kina, właściciele, widzowie [Film culture of the Upper Silesian province: cinemas, owners, viewers]. The Debut of the Year Award goes to Przeczucie końca: modernizm, późność i polskie kino [A sense of the end: modernism, lateness and Polish cinema] by Miłosz Stelmach.
Book of the Year
In the explication, the Jury emphasised Dawid Głownia’s detailed research, comprehensive knowledge, critical attitude towards sources and ability to tell a fascinating story about the first days of the cinema predating World War I. The author put film culture in the context of complex cultural, historical, social, political and economic processes. Particularly noteworthy is the brilliant analysis of exhibition practices characteristic of the era preceding the birth of cinema (street performances and magic lantern shows), which gave rise to a new audiovisual experience. His book deals not only with the people of cinema: entrepreneurs, artists and actors, but also with the government officials who set the framework for the film industry. The pioneering monograph by Dawid Głownia is part of interdisciplinary research where Far Eastern Studies, Cultural Studies, Sociology of Media and Art Sciences intersect.
Urszula Biel’s monograph is a testimony to research consistency and a continuation of the study published two decades ago entitled Śląskie kina między wojnami [Silesian cinemas between the wars], which was devoted to the Polish contexts of the film movement in Upper Silesia. The author reconstructed the image of the Upper Silesian province, i.e., invited readers to the other, German, side of the former border. The Jury applauded the extraordinary effort put into collecting materials for the book, many years of tedious research, but above all, the resulting complete description of the regional film culture. It is the first and therefore the only project of this kind in Polish Film Studies. The complicated borderline character read through the lens of the popular culture revealed the world of a fascinating film adventure encompassing the filmmaking history of cities, individual cinema facilities, and above all, people long-forgotten: owners, cinematographers, great visionaries and small wheeler-dealers, creating a microcosm of celluloid tensions. The book Kultura filmowa prowincji górnośląskiej… proves that reliable archival research is not pointless and that Film Poland is a broad concept awaiting its chroniclers.
Debut of the Year
Although Miłosz Stelmach’s monograph received the 2020 Debut of the Year Award, it is a broadly defined, problem-tackling piece of writing that boldly strives for synthesis. Stelmach treated the enormous and diverse analytical material with much attention. The audacity of his research proposals is accompanied by in-depth theoretical and literary studies as well as the researcher’s self-awareness explained in the introduction. The goal indicated by the author of Przeczucie końca… – rewriting the history of Polish cinema – was achieved not only reliably but also brilliantly. Stelmach puts the 1970s and 1980s works by several esteemed directors (such as Tadeusz Konwicki, Andrzej Żuławski or Wojciech Jerzy Has) in a new context and rebuilds the map of Polish cinema of that period treating late modernism as a trend that counterbalanced the cinema of moral anxiety. At the same time, the author bears in mind the point of reference provided by the international context. He managed to do this with the thoughtful use and functionalisation of research proposals developed for European cinema.