06-10-2008

24th Warsaw Film Festival – New Films, New Venues, New Ideas

The 24th Warsaw Film Festival, one of the most important film events in Eastern Europe, kicks off on 10 October 2008. The screenings of this year's festival will take place at Multikino Złote Tarasy and Kinoteka. The opening gala will be held on Friday night, 10 October, in Room 1 of Multikino Złote Tarasy which seats 777 people.

"For the first time in the festival's history we are using nine screening rooms in the heart of Warsaw, in two venues which are just a six-minute walk apart. This is a dream situation, making it easy for audiences to switch venues and take advantage of a greater number of screenings",

says Stefan Laudyn, the Warsaw Film Festival's director.

The Warsaw Film Festival is Poland's only film event which Variety, the film industry magazine published in Los Angeles and an authority for the entire industry, has included on its list of twenty leading European festivals.

"I believe we have won this position thanks to a careful selection of films and by working in accordance with global and European standards. We do our best to be a useful component of the international film industry. Producers and agents know it's worth screening their films here because this boosts their chances for distribution. Visiting directors and actors value the festival's informal atmosphere and the contacts with our wonderful audiences. For everyone from the industry, this festival is a friendly meeting place well worth visiting",

Laudyn adds.

The opening film of WFF is the Cannes’ sensation “Waltz With Bashir”, to be presented by the director Ari Folman in person. The ten-day event will end with “Tulpan” by Sergey Dvortsevoy, this year’s Cannes Cetain Regard winner.

The programme, including 153 features and 87 shorts from 55 countries, is divided into sections, five of them competitive:

1. The Warsaw Competition - for feature films from all over the world:

33 Scenes From Life / 33 sceny z zycia by Malgoska Szumowska, Poland

The 4th Man / Četvrti čovek by Dejan Zečević, Serbia / Hungary

Berlin Calling by Hannes Stoehr, Germany

Black Sea / Mar Nero by Federico Bondi, Italy / Romania/ France

The Desert Within / Desierto adentro by Rodrigo Plá, Mexico

Heart of Fire / Feuerherz by Luigi Falorni, Germany / Austria

Katia's Sister/ Het zusje van Katia by Mijke de Jong, The Netherlands

Love and Other Crimes / Ljubav i drugi zločini by Stefan Arsenijević, Serbia / Germany / Austria/ Slovenia

No One's Son / Ničiji sin by Arsen Anton Ostojic, Croatia / Slovenia

Red by Trygve Allister Diesen & Lucky McKee, USA/ Norway

Still Walking / Aruitemo, Aruitemo by Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan

The Visitor by Thomas McCarthy, USA 2007

The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner / Svetat e golyam i spasenie debne otvsyakde by Stefan Komandarev, Bulgaria

Yuri's Day / Yuriev Den by Kirill Serebrennikov, Russia / Germany

2. Competition 1-2 - for first and second feature films by directors from all over the world:

Blink / Kurap by Ronnie Bertubin, Philippines

Carmo by Murilo Pasta, Spain / Brazil / Poland

End Of The Line / Fim da linha by Gustavo Steinberg, Brazil / The Netherlands

Go with Peace Jamil / Ma salama Jamil by Omar Shargawi, Denmark

The Investigator / A nyomozó by Attila Gigor, Hungary

Involuntary / De ofrivilliga by Ruben Östlund, Sweden

Jinghu by Li Shuai, China

The King Of Ping Pong / PingPong-Kingen by Jens Jonsson, Sweden

March/ März by Händl Klaus, Austria

Mr Kuka’s Advice by Dariusz Gajewski, Poland

Music / Muzika by Juraj Nvota, Slovakia / Germany

My Marlon and Brando / Gitmek by Hüseyin Karabey; Turkey / The Netherlands / UK

Snow/ Snijeg by Aida Begic, Bosnia-Herzegowina/ Germany / France / Iran

Unfinished Stories / Ravayat haye na tamam by Pourya Azarbayjani, Iran

Landscape No.2 / Pokrajina št.2 by Vinko Möderndorfer, Slovenia / Montenegro

The Skyjacker by Jeff Pickett, USA

3. The Free Spirit Competition - for independent, rebellious films from all over the world

American Military Intelligence And You! by Dale Kutzera, USA

Animal Crisis/ La crisis carnívora by Pedro Rivero, Spain

Another Man / Un Autre Homme by Lionel Baier, Switzerland

Ben X by Nic Balthazar, Belgium / The Netherlands

Fantastic Parasuicides / Fantastic ja-sal-so-dong by Park Soo-young, Cho Chang-ho, Kim Sung-ho, Korea

Fix by Tao Ruspoli, USA

Harvest by Nicolas Jolliet, Saint Lucia

Horizontal 8 / 8 w poziomie by Grzegorz Lipiec, Poland

Nirvana by Igor Voloshin, Russia

Nothing to Lose / TBS by Pieter Kuijpers, The Netherlands

Sita Sings the Blues by Nina Paley, USA

Sleep Dealer by Alex Rivera, USA / Mexico

A Song of Good by Gregory King, New Zealand

Tears for Sale / Čarlston za Ognjenku by Uroš Stojanović, Serbia / France

Tony Manero by Pablo Larraín, Chile / Brazil

4. The Documentary Competition - for feature-length documentaries from all over the world:

Bigger Stronger Faster* by Christopher Bell, USA

Dar Fur – War for Water / Dar Fur - vojna za vodo by Leslie Greif & Mimi Freedman, Slovenia

The Day After Peace by Jeremy Gilley, UK

Donkey in Lahore by Faramarz K-Rahberq, Australia

East West - Sex & Politics by Jochen Hick, Germany

Full Battle Rattle by Tony Gerber & Jesse Moss, USA

The Heart of Jenin / Das Herz von Jenin by Leon Geller & Marcus Vetter, Germany

Heavy Metal in Baghdad by Eddy Moretti & Suroosh Alvi, Canada / USA

Not Quite Hollywood by Mark Hartley, USA

Roskilde by Ulrik Wivel, Denmark

Secrecy by Peter Galison & Robb Moss, USA

Song of Lives by Csaba Bereczky, Hungary

Very Young Girls by David Schisgall, USA

5. European Short Films Competition - for short films from EU countries:

The jurors from various competitive sections are, among others: producers Jim Stark, Richard Nemec and Jerzy Kapuscinski, directors Kadri Koussar, Vinko Bresan and Gianfranco Quattrini, scriptwriter Cezary Harasimowicz, festival programmers Alissa Simon and Mihai Gligor, and composer/rock icon Tomek Lipinski.

The non-competitive sections are:

- Gala Screenings

- Master’s Touch – new films of well-acclaimed directors from all over the world

- Discoveries - visions of the contemporary world

- True Stories – documentary features

- Free Spirit.

The two retrospective programmes are devoted to Israeli icon Gila Almagor and to Estonian animator Priit Pärn, respectively.

"Our objective is to create a distinct profile for each section, which will make it easier for audiences to choose films, among other considerations. One innovation is a competition for short films, the genre from which most filmmaking careers start. We have backed debuting filmmakers for many years, and by inviting short films to the programme we will enable audiences to discover great talent at an even earlier stage. This educational aspect of the festival, presenting new trends and names from world cinema, is extremely important to us.

The Warsaw Festival is prepared with a very demanding audience in mind. This year's programme includes over a hundred new film premieres from all over the world which - with just a few exceptions - have yet to find a Polish distributor",

Laudyn says.

This year is the 22nd time that WFF audiences will choose one film from among all those presented at the festival as the winner of the greatest distinction - the Audience Award.

The 10-person programme team, with the support of consultants from Europe, Asia, and the Americas, watches and selects films throughout the year. The rule is that this absolutely must be a premiere for Poland.

The FIPRESCI (www.fipresci.org) Jury will choose the best first film by a director from Central and Eastern Europe. Apart from judging films, the FIPRESCI jury members will act as tutors at the training programme for young film journalists.

The guest list of WFF includes First Lady of Israeli Cinema Ms Gila Almagor, actors Julia Jentsch, Maria Popistasu, August Diehl, Jan Budar, industry figures Karl Baumgartner, Michael Schmid-Ospach, Bill Stephens or FIPRESCI president Andrey Plakhov, directors Atom Egoyan, Paul Cox, Julien Temple, Laila Pakalnina, Antonello Grimaldi, Jan Schuette, animator Priit Pärn, and numerous young and talented film makers, like Aida Begic (“Snow”), Stefan Arsenjevic (“Love and Other Crimes”) or Luigi Falorni (“Heart of Fire”).

Poland is represented by “33 Scenes from Life” by Malgoska Szumowska, “Mr Kuka’s Advice” by Dariusz Gajewski, “Horizontal 8” by Grzegorz Lipiec, and two shorts: “A Story of a missing car” by Grzegorz Jaroszuk and “Significant Others” by Dara Van Dusen.

In its long history the Warsaw Film Festival has played host to many great directors and screened their works, to mention Wim Wenders, Michael Haneke, Sir Alan Parker, and Peter Greenaway. Polish filmmakers who have taken part in the festival include Krzysztof Kieślowski, Andrzej Wajda, Agnieszka Holland, Jerzy Skolimowski, Jan Jakub Kolski, and Dorota Kędzierzawska. Discoveries are a speciality of the Warsaw festival - Cristian Mungiu, Bent Hamer, and Ari Folman were among those who came here when they were still relatively unknown debuting directors.

"We have a rich history behind us, but it wasn't until this year, chiefly thanks to support from the city authorities and our new main sponsor RWE, that we were able to think about a broader scale of operation. We have ambitious though realistic development plans. The first steps, namely expansion of the programming profile and a concentration of the festival's events, are being taken this year",

Laudyn comments.

Apart from participation in this prestigious event, the Warsaw Film Foundation as the festival's organizer offers selected Polish films assistance with international promotion. The foundation, which maintains regular contacts with the directors and selectors of the world's greatest film events such as those in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, Locarno, San Sebastian, Tokyo, and Pusan, has contributed to the international success of Poland's most talented filmmakers: Jan Jakub Kolski, Dorota Kedzierzawska, Piotr Trzaskalski, Robert Glinski, Malgoska Szumowska, Wojtek Smarzowski, Andrzej Jakimowski.

"Promotional support for the best Polish film productions is a less visible but extremely important aspect of our activity, and another element that defines the uniqueness of the Warsaw Film Festival", Laudyn says. "Another unique quality of this event is its industry impact. Sales agents, distributors, and festival selectors from all over the world who are interested in Polish and Eastern European cinema, come to Warsaw to attend the CentEast Market which accompanies the festival, and which will be held at Kinoteka. There is an additional summer edition of the Warsaw Screenings in June/July, at which representatives of major festivals held in the autumn can view the latest Polish productions".

Contact: Stefan Laudyn, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.