But Kraków’s cinema doesn’t just look to the past. Today, the city hosts myriad ambitious film festivals exploring a range of themes and styles, with the genre coming to life every spring. In April and May, the international festival of independent cinema Mastercard Off Camera takes over Kraków, bringing in stars of Polish and international cinema; guests leave imprints of their hands at the Czerwieński Boulevard at the foot of Wawel Hill. The festival presents unconventional, rarely-shown productions. The Film Music Festival is a major event held in late May, celebrating world-famous composers of music for blockbusters, art cinema and TV dramas. Screenings are accompanied by captivating performances of soundtracks using state-of-the-art audio technologies.
The Krakow Film Festival, held in May and June, marks the end of cinematic spring with documentaries, animations and short films made in Poland and abroad. First held in 1961, it is Poland’s first event of its kind and one of the longest-running in Europe. During the communist era, it featured blistering discussions on artistic freedom and the role played by documentary-makers in society. Today, the event is an important international platform for meetings between artists and the public. In 2020, the 60th anniversary KFF was held entirely online due to the global pandemic. The pioneering edition of the festival attracted thousands of new viewers from Poland and abroad.