Maciej Drygas at Docedge, Documentary Resource Initiative

23 February - 1 March 2015, Kolkata

Docedge Kolkata is a platform for young and experienced filmmakers to explore international co-production opportunities for author-led independent documentaries through training and pitching workshops. Tutored by experienced and internationally known faculty (including filmmakers and producers), the forum critically discusses contemporary styles, storytelling techniques and develops content through intensive mentoring and skill sharing.

This year’s edition of Docedge will see the participation of renowned Polish documentary filmmaker Maciej Drygas. His latest production, Abu Haraz, will be screened; he will also be on hand to conduct workshops during the week-long event.

Abu Haraz

Screenplay and direction: Maciej Drygas
Documentation: Małgorzata Purzyńska
Cinematography: Andrzej Musiał
Music: Paweł Szymański (extracts from Krystian Lupa’s play “Persona. Ciało Simone”)
Sound: Maciej Drygas, Iwo Klimek, I.M.I. Studio
Editing: Rafał Listopad, Katarzyna Maciejko-Kowalczyk
Polish premiere: November 29th 2013

In Maciej Drygas’ film the story of an African village turns into an evolutionary tale that claims lives. “Abu Haraz” is a stunning cinematic requiem for a lost world.

Abu Haraz can no longer be found on the map. The small North Sudanese village wallows under 35 meters of water in the middle of an artificial, 180 kilometer long lake. Its inhabitants have been relocated to a giant city. Deprived of land, thrown into a foreign world, the government’s indemnification payout is just enough to get by. The memories of the place they had to leave, now only exist in their memories and on documentary images
Telling the story of the titular village, Drygas never falls victim to the temptation of ethnography. The inhabitants of Abu Haraz are not objects of anthropological observation. Abu Haraz has more in common with Flaherty’s documentaries than National Geographic’s colourful productions in which the creators treat other cultures like a zoological, travel oddity. Drygas treats the inhabitants of Abu Haraz with respect, his camera is kept at a distance, he doesn’t force open the door to his protagonists’ world. With time, they are the ones letting the creators in.

About the Director
Director of documentaries and radio dramas. Born in 1956 in Lódź.
Immediately after completing his studies in the Directing Department of the Moscow All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography (WGIK), he became an assistant to Krzysztof Zanussi and Krzysztof Kieślowski. He debuted as a documentary director with a piercing morality play, the film Usłyszcie mój krzyk / Hear My Cry, which won many awards at festivals all around the world. His second film Stan nieważkosci / Weightless, which speaks of the ‘human’ costs of the space conquest was also well received. He continues to make films and is also the director of the radio drama section of the Reportage Laboratory at Warsaw University.
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