Written and directed by Anastasia Solonevych and Damian Kocur, As It Was is the only film from Poland selected for the short film competition at the 76th Cannes Film Festival.

The 15-minute fiction film tells the story of several days in the life of Lera, who has been living in Berlin since the war in Ukraine began. One day, she decides to return to Kyiv. On the way, she learns that her family isn't in the capital and they are going to return the next day. She spends the day waiting for her loved ones in the company of her friend.

The Polish-Ukrainian co-production is among only 11 titles from around the world that will be competing for the Palme d'Or for the best short film at the Cannes festival, which will take place from May 16th to 27th. The festival screening will also be the film's world premiere.

Anastasia Solonevych is a debuting director from Kyiv. In 2020, she graduated from the Department of Cinema and TV Arts at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. As a director, she has made music videos, one of which won an award at the Prague International Film Festival in 2022. Since 2017, she has been working as an assistant director and in other positions on commercials, feature films, and TV series.

Damian Kocur is a director and cinematographer. Graduate of the Krzysztof Kieślowski Film School in Katowice and a doctoral student at the Łódź Film School. He is the author of the award-winning feature debut Bread and Salt (awarded in Venice, Cairo, Cottbus, Antalya, Gijon, Bratislava, and Gdynia) and several short films, including Beyond is the Day, My Heart, and Nothing New Under the Sun. As a filmmaker, he examines the credibility of emotions on screen, and considers the authenticity of the presented characters and their stories as his most important goal.

Damian Kocur is also the cinematographer and editor in As It Was. Tadeusz Chudy was responsible for sound on set, and Łukasz Kaczmarski for sound post-production. The main character is played by Valeriia Berezovska. Starring in other roles: Kyrylo Zemlyanyi, Olena Korohod, and Sofiia Berezovska. The film was shot in Kyiv and Berlin in January and February 2023. The production is handled by Exa Studio based in Katowice. The film's producer is Piotr Steczek (Exa Studio), and the co-producer is Mikołaj Lizut (Lizart Film). Michał Hudzikowski is responsible for promotion and distribution.

Press release