The European Film Academy and Krakow Film Festival congratulate THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE FOREST


    Poland, 2023, 10 min
    DIRECTED BY Szymon Ruczynski

    A lonely man limps down the road. A truck drives up to him. Several armed men jump out of it. They capture the limping man and transport him to the forest. The only witnesses of the scene are people from a nearby village. Since 2021, situations like these are commonplace on the Polish-Belarussian border of the EU, which is the scene of an ongoing refugee crisis. An animated documentary whose creator happens to live in a town by the border.

    Talking about the film the director said: in the autumn of 2021, in the forest surrounding my home village a large-scale military operation was launched. Still ongoing, it is aimed against people from distant countries who are crossing our border in search of a safer life in the European Union. In our vast woodlands, they face brutal pushbacks, which leave them stranded in the forest, suffering from hunger, thirst, cold, illnesses, and violence at the hands of the neighbouring regime.

    At first, as an inhabitant of this area, I was one of the relatively few civilians who were able to observe and react to the cold-hearted abuse happening around us. The further from the scene of the crisis, the more people are either unaware, indifferent, or supportive of the brutal solutions. As an artist, I felt the need to transform what I witnessed into a form that could expose the cruel absurdity and pointlessness of this situation. I chose the medium of an animated documentary, which allowed me to present the problem in a universal way without the overwhelming weight of large-scale politics.

    The very basics that are so often forgotten are simple: There are people at our borders. They are being made to suffer in the name of our “safety”. And they are still there. Will we continue to treat them like this?

    The film is now a candidate for a nomination in the category ‘European Short Film’ at the European Film Awards 2023.


    This is the 17th short film candidate for 2023. You can check out the rest of the candidates here for the 36th edition of the European Film Awards.

    The short film programme is organised by the European Film Academy in co-operation with a series of film festivals throughout Europe. At each of these festivals, an independent jury presents one of the European short films in competition with a candidacy in the short film category of the European Film Awards.

    After the annual cycle is completed, the participating festivals will nominate five short films from this list. Afterwards, the more than 4,600 members of the European Film Academy – film professionals from all over Europe – will vote for the overall winner that will be presented at the 36th European Film Awards Ceremony.