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.

Director's Statement

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?

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Szymon Ruczynski

Written by: Szymon Ruczynski

Produced by: Agata Golanska

Editing: Szymon Ruczynski

Production Design: Szymon Ruczynski

Sound: Szymon Kucharski

Animation: Szymon Ruczynski

Nominations and Awards

  • Short Film Candidates 2023