Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Mastercard OFF CAMERA 2024: Black sheep are among us. And they’re doing quite well

“You don’t have to go to California anymore to become a weirdo and live peacefully as a black sheep, as Lana Del Rey sings in one of her songs,” reveals Grzegorz Stępniak, artistic director of Mastercard OFF CAMERA.

“However, it is enough to look around to see that the contemporary cultural landscape is full of various types of freaks who, over the last dozen or so years, have become favorite characters and heroes of various productions. This is not surprising – after all, a freak hides danger and mystery. , questions and often overthrows ossified social and moral norms – he adds, thus inviting you to the May film weekend in Krakow.

In the second of four special sections that have been prepared for this year’s edition of the Mastercard OFF CAMERA festival, the organizers will look at the difficulties and adversities of both fate and the system that characters with unconventional life models have to face – which could be colloquially described as – “bizarre” or “weird”.

“At SEXEDPL, we believe that each of us writes our own definition of ‘normality’. We are happy that we will be part of the festival for another year in a row and will add an educational aspect to an artistically great program,” announces Martyna Wyrzykowska, managing director of SEXEDPL.

“We will meet the audience after the screenings to discuss, explain and advise. We know that the topic of diversity arouses emotions, and our experts will be present on site to facilitate conversations about it. Our actions will also be visible to people who will not be able to reach cinemas – we will prepare educational content for them available on our Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and website,” adds the director of SEXEDPL.

Selected plots of films that will be shown in Krakow from April 26 to May 5, 2024 are as follows.

The Summer with Carmen

Demos and Nikitas, striving for acting success as friends and gays, create their own film – a queer romantic comedy. They work on the script in a Greek summer atmosphere, creating a work full of humor, where fiction intertwines with reality.

Zacharias Mavroeidis proposes an intelligent and witty “film within a film”, playing with the conventions of the so-called gay cinema. It does not focus on showing exclusion or mismatch in the overwhelmingly hetero world, but instead offers a joyful, queer holiday escapade in which the boundaries between reality and dreams are blurred.

The Practice

In Martin Rejtman’s new film, Gustavo from Buenos Aires, a yoga instructor, struggles with life’s adversities in Chile. After breaking up with his wife and taking over the yoga studio, he experiences a knee injury that requires long-term rehabilitation. His life becomes even more complicated when his worried and domineering mother appears in town.

Rejtman not only humorously shows the turmoil surrounding the midlife crisis, but also mocks a number of male fixations. At the same time, he looks at his lost hero, floundering between two cultural worlds, with empathy and understanding.

The Dreamer

In Anaïs Tellenne’s feature debut, presented at the Venice Film Festival, Raphaël, a one-eyed man approaching sixty, lives with his mother in an isolated villa where he works as a gardener. Living a solitary life, his routine is changed by the arrival of Garance, a free-spirited tattoo artist who encourages him to take part in her new art project. Their meeting brings chaos and new emotions to Raphaël’s life.

Tellenne tells the story of a cyclopic, almost mythical Other, moving between the poetics of fairy tale and psychological drama. Bringing to the foreground ethical problems surrounding contemporary art, which often balances on the border between objectification and liberation and giving subjectivity to aliens like its fascinating hero.


In Stéphanie Di Giusto’s film, set in 19th-century France, Rosalie, played by Nadia Tereszkiewicz, marries Abel, the owner of a debt-ridden pub. Unaware of her secret, he discovers that her body is covered with thick hair. After initial rejection, Rosalie decides to use her uniqueness, becoming an attraction in the local community and attracting new customers to her husband’s restaurant.

Rosalie is a brilliantly played, illustrated with atmospheric music by Hania Rani, a praise of otherness. The director spins her emancipatory story, showing that fear of what is foreign. it is as contemporary and up-to-date as possible. However, following her heroine, she sees difference in otherness as a source of strength and power that has great potential to change the environment and reality.

Black blackbird, black blackberry

Elena Naveriani’s film, presented at the Cannes festival and based on a Georgian novel, focuses on the character Etero (Eka Chavleishvili), who lives in a small village and leads a lonely life. Despite having no family or love interest, Etero experiences a violent sexual awakening after an accident. This event leads to a change in her perception of her surroundings and herself.

In her thoroughly feminist film, Naveriani sharply deals not only with stereotypes about mature female corporeality and sexuality, but also mocks the conservative rules and norms that define the reality surrounding her heroine, who, despite everything and everything, intends to enjoy life and draw from handfuls of it.

Soon there will be an announcement of films that will be shown at Mastercard OFF CAMERA 2024 as part of the third and fourth special sections. As always, the organizers invite you to film screenings both in the best cinemas in Krakow and in outdoor cinemas. The Festival Opening Gala will traditionally take place at the Kijów Cinema on April 26.

The partner of the “Black Sheep” section is SEXEDPL