Documentary Film Group

Group tutor: Hanna Polak

Filming in a hostile environment.

We invite you to join the Documentary Group, which will be supervised by Hanna Polak.

Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Hanna Polak will share personal experiences from working on her documentaries, including the Oscar-nominated ”Children of Lenigradsky,” the Producers Guild of America Award-nominated ”Something Better to Come,” portraying homeless children and people living on the streets and garbage dumps in Moscow, and on the film ”Stone Silence,” shot in Afghanistan, for which Hanna served as cinematographer.

Special emphasis will be placed on her latest film project ”Angels of Sinjar,” a testament to the continued courage and resilience of Hanifa and Saeed, survivors of the 21st century Yezidi genocide. Filmed in Iraq, “Angels of Sinjar” is currently on the short list for the prestigious European Film Awards.

Often filmed in some of the most dangerous, challenging and underreported places on earth, Hanna’s films celebrate the strength of the human spirit and show the beauty of humanity in the most adverse circumstances.

11 October 2022
  • Documentary Film Group - dir Hanna Polak

    Sign-up: RESTAURANT (ground floor)

    11 October 2022  17:00 - 18:30

12 October 2022
  • Documentary Film Group - dir Hanna Polak

    3rd floor (foyer at the sauna)

    12 October 2022  11:00 - 14:00

13 October 2022
  • Documentary Film Group - dir Hanna Polak

    ROOM "F" (floor -1)

    13 October 2022  10:00 - 11:30

  • Documentary Film Group - dir Hanna Polak

    RESTAURANT (ground floor)

    13 October 2022  11:30 - 14:30

14 October 2022
  • Documentary Film Group - dir Hanna Polak


    14 October 2022  11:00 - 13:00

15 October 2022
  • Documentary Film Group - dir Hanna Polak

    Open lecture as part of the Documentary Film Group

    15 October 2022  11:30 - 12:30

16 October 2022
  • Documentary Film Group - dir Hanna Polak

    ON SET

    16 October 2022  11:00 - 15:00

17 October 2022
  • Documentary Film Group - dir Hanna Polak

    ON SET

    17 October 2022  10:00 - 16:00

Access details

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Group tutor


Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, PGA producer, Hanna Polak studied acting and theatre at the Acting School in Wroclaw and Warsaw, Poland, and worked in the Theatre of Entertainment, Chorzow. She graduated with a Master Degree from the Cinematography division of the Cinematography Institute of the Russian Federation (VGIK), where she studied under Vadim Yusov, DOP of Andrei Tarkovsky. In 2003, Hanna was awarded Best Producer of Documentary Movies at the International Film Festival in Krakow for Railway Station Ballad. In 2004 Hanna completed The Children of Leningradsky, which was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Short Documentary subject. It also received the Best Documentary Achievement Award from IDA and was nominated for an Emmy Award in two categories: Best Documentary and Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Editing. The Adult American Library Association nominated this film as a Notable Video, and it received the Gracie Allen Award, given by American Women in Radio & Television, amongst many other awards. The Children of Leningradsky explores the lives of Russia’s most innocent victims. Hanna has been advocating for the case of homeless children all over the world. She contributed to UNICEF’s publication covering the twentieth anniversary of the Declaration of the Right of the Child. She founded and later collaborated with Active Child Aid. For her charitable efforts, Polak was awarded the prestigious Golden Heart Award in 2006, the “Award for serving the uppermost ideals of mankind,” received in the presence of Sophia Loren, Jessica Lange, and millions of viewers on Russian NTV Television. She was also awarded the Crystal Mirror award by Mirror magazine in Poland, an award that recognizes “people of dialogue, those who unite, not divide.” As a producer, director, and/or cinematographer, Hanna has worked on various films, including Al – Tribute to Albert Maysles; Battle of Warsaw 1920 in 3D, Stone Silence, shot in Afghanistan; Warsaw–Look from the East; Officer’s Wife; Orange Sun; White Power; Faces of Homelessness, and others. Stone Silence won her an award from the Kiev Film Festival for “Artistic Mastery of Photographing” for her cinematography work. In 2006, Polak’s photography won her third prize in the UNICEF International Photography Competition: Photo of the Year. She directed and produced Love and Rubbish, for the Why Poverty? series in 2012, winner of A Corto di Donne Women’s Short Film Festival. Polak’s works have been screened in hundreds film festivals, including Sundance, IDFA, True/False, and FIPA, and they have appeared on major television networks worldwide. In 2014 Hanna has completed Something Better to Come, which received the PGA award nomination, IDFA Special Jury Award and won over 30 awards and nominations, including Cinema Eye nomination, Munich Film Festival award, Documentary Edge Festival, Docs Against Gravity, ArtDoc Fest, Trieste Film Festival, EuroDok Film Festival, and others. Hanna was awarded the Best Director award at Imagineindia Film Festival and she received Best Cinematography award from Gdańsk DocFilm Festival and the Canon Non Fiction Frame Special Mention from Docs Against Gravity film festival. Hanna has lectured on film producing and documentary filmmaking at many universities worldwide (including Yale; New Media School; Carnegie Mellon University; USC School of Cinema; UNC School of Public Health; University of Guadalajara; North Texas University; Monterey Institute of International Studies; Middlebury College; University of Hawaii; and many others). Hanna was a jury member at IDFA and other film festivals. She was a tutor for the EsoDoc and the Academy of Documentary Arts and she was an expert for the Mazovia Warsaw Film Commission and the Polish Ministry of Culture, evaluating documentary projects for the Polish Film Institute. Hanna is a member of the Producers Guild of America.

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