Hanna Polak, a Polish director and producer, has the stamina and guts that most filmmakers would envy. And now audiences at film festivals around the world are experiencing her dedication through “Something Better To Come,” a documentary that Hanna shot over the span of 14 years. The documentary follows the lives of Russians living in a massive garbage dump, located 12 miles from the center of Moscow. Hanna filmed many people living in the garbage dump, but one person in particular stood out: a young girl named Yula. We watch Yula grow up on-screen, experimenting with hair dye and makeup, foraging for food and shelter, as well as witnessing some firsts: trying her chances with alcohol, cigarettes and young love. Hanna previously directed the short film, “The Children of Leningradsky,” which explores the lives of homeless children living in Moscow train stations. The film received an Oscar nomination, an International Documentary Association Award for Best Documentary, two Emmy nominations, and the Gracie Allen Award, given by Women in Radio and Television. But there are many moments when Hanna puts down her camera and serves as an activist. In 1997, as part of her work in Russia, she founded and later collaborated with Active Child Aid to help support the children of Russia and in 2006 she was awarded the prestigious Golden Heart Award. Hanna shares the challenges of shooting and editing a film for 14 years, as well as a special memory with documentary pioneer, Ricky Leacock. Doc fans: this episode is not to be missed.
Name: Hanna Polak
City: Warsaw, Poland
What are you listening to now? "So Close" by Ólafur Arnalds.
What piece of media changed you? Crime and Punishment
Who is your career role model? Vadim Yusov, Director of Photography of Andrei Tarkovsky
What is a tool you can't live without? Avid editing system
How do you drink/take your coffee/tea? Ginger tea with lemon
What's your spirit animal? Haven't discovered yet
MUSICMAKER FEATURED IN SHOW:
Taryn Blake Miller (Your Friend) from Jekyll / Hyde EP.
- Tame One
- Jekyll / Hyde
- Expectation / Reality
This interview was conducted at True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri. Hanna's feature documentary "Something Better to Come" had it's US Premiere at True/False AND our featured MusicMaker, Taryn Blake Miller of Your Friend was a musical busker. Find more information on films, music, dates, and passes at the True/False website.