A young man standing behind a sophisticated camera is holding a cordless mike, perhaps asking a question. Groups of people sitting on deck chairs in front of a white tent form the background.
At the festival.

Mastercard OFF CAMERA: Message Matters.


The 17th Mastercard OFF CAMERA International Festival of Independent Cinema is slated for 26 April – 5 May 2024. Which means that this international festival has evolved for the last sixteen years. In all that time, it’s remained faithful to its purpose: to present and comment on global developments. Thus, it’s only to be expected that this year’s edition will touch upon the current wars and pushbacks.


A number of colourful neon circles interlace off the centre of a black square. The top left-hand corner is taken by the festival logo, and the two bottom ones – by its full name and dates, and the website.
Poster for Mastercard OFF CAMERA 2024.

As you can see, Mastercard OFF CAMERA addresses pressing and relevant topics, unafraid of going against the grain. The four thematic sections specially prepared for its 17th edition are Black Sheep about the nonconforming eccentrics, Girl Power! subtitled “Girls have their say!”, On the Border touching upon the recently topical and sensitive matters of political, religious, environmental, and personal borders, and finally, this year’s novelty, For a Good Cause delving into issues related to various forms of crime and investigating shifts in the narrative patterns typical of court dramas.

The core of the programme, unchanged over the years, is defined by two competitions with separate juries: the Main Dramatic Competition “Making Way” and the Polish Feature Film Competition. In the former, ten début or second films from directors around the world vie for the Andrzej Wajda Kraków Film Award accompanied by at least $25K. In the Polish Competition, ten of the most intriguing domestic productions compete for the Polish Feature Film Award. Prizes for Best Actress, Actor, and the Mastercard Rising Star for the début are also awarded.

All ten films participating in the Main Dramatic Competition “Making Way” are certainly worth watching. We already know five: She Came at Night directed by Jan Vejnar and Tomáš Pavliček, The Hypnosis by Ernst De Geer, Empty Nets by Behrooz Karamizade, Forever-Forever by Anna Buryachkova, and Power Alley by Lillah Halla. The remaining titles will be announced shortly.

We also know the first five of the ten films to compete for PLN 100K and the prestige of winning the Polish Feature Film Competition. They are Paweł Maślona’s Kos depicting the life of Tadeusz Kościuszko and awarded the Golden Lions at the Gdynia Polish Feature Film Festival and the Eagles in several categories, Doppelgänger. The Double by Jan Holoubek offering pure spy cinema; Sławomir Fabicki’s Anxiety, Gabriela Muskała’s Fools; and Agnieszka Elbanowska’s Pray For Peace, Train For War.

You can learn for yourself what will charm and enchant the jurors of the Kraków festival at the turn of April and May. Passes for the whole event are already available on, and tickets to individual productions will be available in April, after the publication of the complete schedule of the 17th Mastercard OFF CAMERA.

An interesting section of the festival is the #63seconds Film Competition for people aged 15 to 22, ready to share their visions of the future in a world undergoing various revolutions, all encapsulated within 63 seconds.
The Key Visual for Mastercard OFF CAMERA 2024 symbolises the intertwining circles of life. As much as they are diverse, our life’s stories are inseparably and mutually connected. It’s up to us whether we consciously strive for harmony and lightness or, in trying to impose our choices, introduce chaos into our weave.

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