Side Roads is Julia Sokolnicka's short documentary showing the provincial Poland seen from a car. For three years between 2012 and 2015, the director and cinematographer hitchhiked in the winter, looking for people who would take them to their car and share a bit of their story. The drivers appearing in the film share glimpses of their lives, reflecting on their reality and dreams. In Slavic manner of rough kindness, shown in intimate space of their cars, they help to capture the identity of a nation in change – on the move between East and West. The landscape of awkward commercials, bumpy roads driven through by trucks, local businesses and grotesque architecture, reflects the 25 year history of economical journey that Poland is on. The film is a unique collage of portraits and landscape that this self-produced filmic adventure brought.
The film premiered in January 2016 at the Los Angeles International Culture Film Festival, where it was awarded the prize for the best documentary. Later it was shown at the Kraków Film Festival, Competition of Short Polish Films at the 16th T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival, Opolskie Lamy Film Festival and the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography Camerimage