Veteran filmmaker FeliksFalk was the big winner at this year's 30th Polish Film Festival (Sept 12-17)in the Baltic port of Gdynia with his first film for 10 years, The Collector(Komornik), which picked up five prizes at the weekend's closing galaceremony.

Falk and his producer JanuszMorgenstern of Film Studio Perspektywa received the Golden Lions Grand Prix forBest Film from the competition jury headed by Andrzej Wajda and the film alsowon awards for best screenplay (Grzegorz Loszewski), best actor (AndrzejChyra), best actress in a supporting role (Kinga Preis) and best cinematography(Bartek Prokopowicz, ex aequo with I Am's Arthur Reinhart).

Speaking at the galaceremony, Falk said that receiving the Golden Lions was "a magicmoment" "because my life and film life have come full circle since Iwon a prize at the first festival 30 years ago." and called Wajda his"spiritual father".

There was somedisappointment among the festival's foreign guests that the competition jurydid not give more recognition to Dorota Kedzierzawska's I Am (which wonthe awards for cinematography and music as well as the Audience Award) or toPiotr Trzaskalski's The Master (one award for art direction) which willnow be competing at San Sebastian, as they had been their clear favourites fromthe 21-film competition.

Another veteran of Polishcinema - Krzysztof Zanussi - was not forgotten either for his new film PersonaNon Grata, fresh from competition in Venice, which was awarded the Prize ofthe Jury and the award for Best Supporting Actor to Russianproducer-director-actor Nikita Mikhalkov who had co-produced the film, whileleading Polish actress Krystyna Janda (Man Of Iron) was recognised forher performance as a blind woman in Andrzej Baranski's A Few People, LittleTime..

Discussion at the 30thjubilee festival centred on the opportunities now offered by the passing of theCinematography Law and the imminent founding of the Polish Film Centre (PFC)which will bring together the activities of the Film Prodcution Agency, ScriptSupport Agency and Polish Film Promotion with an annual budget of Euros 25mfrom January 1, 2006.

In Gdynia, the outgongMinister of Culture Waldemar Dabrowski fuelled speculation that his preferredcandidate to run PFC is the present Deputy Minister of Culture AgnieszkaOdorowicz by bringing her onto the stage for the presentation of the GoldenLions at the end of the awards ceremony. According to industry insidersDobrowski is looking to make the decision on the PFC managing director beforethe Polish parliamentary elections next Sunday on September 25.

Moreover, the Polish filmfunding landscape could receive a further boost after a conference was held inGdynia on Sunday (Sept 18) with representatives from several regionalauthorities to look at the possibilities of co-financing feature films. Todate, the only example of financial participation by a local authority has beenthe City of Gdansk's co-production of Robert Glinski's adaptation of theGuenter Grass novel The Call Of The Toad.