With such titles as Bartosz M. Kowalski’s Playground, Andrius Blaževičius’ The Saint and Hana Jušić’ Quit Staring At My Plate, Warsaw Film Festival puts spotlight on new filmmakers. Judging by their features, the future of cinema looks bright.

Eastern Europe between history and new challenges

This year, from 8 to 13 November, the FilmFestival Cottbus will bring the world of Eastern European film to Cottbus for the 26th time. Some 200 productions from about 35 countries, ranging from blockbusters to arthouse films, will be presented in four competitions and another eight programme sections. A varied supporting programme will provide inspiration and entertainment also beyond the silver screen. As always, the heart of the festival programme is comprised of three sections, the Feature Film Competition, Short Feature Competition and the U18 Youth Film Competition, with the latter being expanded this year to include the Czech Republic in addition to Germany and Poland. Again, expert juries have been recruited to assess the entries. The Feature Film Competition jury alone features a top-class cast with actress and director Mirjana Karanovic (Serbia), the Cottbus 2015 winner and shooting star at this year's Berlinale Tihana Lazovic (Croatia), actress Kate Molchanova (Ukraine), producer Marek Rozenbaum (Israel) and writer Elisabeth Hermann (Germany).

Topics 2016: Searching for traces and Focus Cuba

"Especially in our time, it is of enormous importance to build bridges with all available means. Here, we do this predominantly with the medium of film", says Managing Director Andreas Stein about the intention behind the festival. Programme Director Bernd Buder further substantiates: "With a new Focus series, which this year focuses on Cuba, we turn our attention to a range of issues that will lead us to countries that over the course of the 20th century have been much influenced by Soviet-style socialism. Moreover, the Specials series 'Searching for traces: German-Czech-Polish history in a state of flux' will address itself to the increasing efforts of Polish and Czech film makers in investigating in great detail the resettlement of people as a consequence of events during World War II. The series 'Bridges and disruption' devotes itself to the disruption of identification in East Germany in the 1990s. After the huge success of the anniversary issue in the past year, the organisers again prepare to welcome about 20,000 cinemagoers and continue in their efforts of presenting the FilmFestival Cottbus as a competence centre for contemporary Eastern European film. The involved film makers have been invited to take part in discussions and the website www.filmfestivalcottbus.de is being revamped and will in future provide a comprehensive archive of festival films since 1991.

The FilmFestival Cottbus receives significant support from the Federal State of Brandenburg, the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH, the City of Cottbus, the German Federal Foreign Office and the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

Please use the following contact details for requesting further information as well as images for print and broadcasting purposes:

Alex Schirmer (Head of PR & Marketing)
Telephone: +49 (355) 4310713
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Jenni Ellwanger
Telephone: +49 (355) 4310714
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Anne-Kathrin Schöler-Rensch
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Astra Film Festival, taking place this year between 17 and 23 of October, is the main screening platform and a catalyst for the latest documentary film productions in Romania.

The programme DocumentaryTank@AFF (20 - 22 of October), a platform dedicated to members of the film industry, will bring together local and European film-makers in Sibiu for 3 days of networking, masterclass sessions and presentations about the new trends in documentary film production and distribution. Also included in this programme, Romanian Docs in Progress (22 of October) is a competition open to Romanian documentarians who have film projects in the development stage. Six finalists will make presentations of their work in progress before a jury and an audience of local and international professionals. The winning teams receive awards in the form of post-production services and other forms of support for completing their documentary films.

The selection of Romanian documentary films in the AFF 2016 programme takes a look throught the cinematic magnifying glass at the recent history of the country, at its people, and their amazing stories.

A national premiere, The New Gypsy Kings, the latest documentary made by Liviu Tipuriță and produced by the BBC, deals with the complex phenomenon of the music style called 'manele' and the incredible position of the 'manele' singers in Romania. Not only does the film scrutinize the rise to fame of the most well-known and well-paid manele artists “from horse-driven carts to Ferraris and from tents to palaces”. It is as well an investigation into the prosperous industry of manele music, which generates six-figure income, and collects millions of views online.

Self / Family / Society

How did the shutdown of Communist plants in Copşa Mică, the most polluted city in Europe by 2009, affect the life of an ultra-religious family? The Sicreas are more frightened by the bills and bank instalments needing to be paid than by the aggressive pollution which might be the cause for their daughter's  debilitating illness. A Mere Breath(directed by Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan) was recently awarded at the Sarajevo Film Festival. In contrast, Chat with Alice (directed by Sandra Isabela Țenț) enters the intimate space of an unusual family of artists: he, a regular of mental institutions and married for the fifth time; she, a highschool graduate and a mother, who must support the family and does it through  videochats.

In rural Transylvania, the story of a Roma teenager, Angela (directed by Botond Püsök), reveals the hardships of young women in their community: the lack of education and an uncertain future, gender inequity, and the persistence of controversial traditions, such as kidnapping girls for marriage. How does the fate of pregnant women and the future of children depend on the corrupt, deficient and insalubrious Romanian healthcare system? Pregnant in Romania(directed by Jesús del Cerro) provides an overview through a series of interviews with (future) moms from all milieux.

Refurbished Past

How do remnants of the Golden Communist Age become functional through the efforts of entrepreneurs who have their heart set on upgrading them? Cinema, Mon Amour (directed by Alexandru Belc) looks at the internal reasons for the decay of film theatres in Romania,  through the example of a cinema theatre in a province town. Cinema Dacia is one of the few theatres still running, and a dramatic question arises: What happened to more than 400 public film theatres? Where and how have they vanished after the fall of Communism?  The film The Block (directed by Maria Șalaru) alternates between the past of a residential area of Communist apartment blocks and the daily reality of the dwellers under the rigorous coordination of a tough and industrious block administrator.

Communist Faiths

The history of the Communist regime in Romania, still obscure and distorted, is explored by documentary filmmakers in their attempt to present a history that is based on verifiable truth. The Red Empress – The Life and Adventures of Ana Pauker(directed by Radu Gabrea) portrays ”the most powerful woman alive” as TIME Magazine called her in 1948, debunking the extremely negative reputation of Ana Pauker, owing to the deceitful propaganda of the Communist regime following her being purged from the Party. God Save the Partisans as We Wait for Americans! (directed by Dragoș Zămosteanu) scans the phenomenon of the fugitive partisans in the 1940s and the 1950s, the main guerrilla group against the horror of the Communist regime, who counted on and put all their hopes in a rescue intervention of the Americans.


Through various approaches, the films Armânii, at the famous Manakia to I’m not famous (directed by Toma Enache), The Manakia Brothers. Diary of a long look back (directed by Eliza Zdru) and Torna, torna, fratre! (directed by Marian Voicu) contribute to getting to know the fabulous community of Aromanians in the Balkans.

”A unique aspect of the Festival is that from its very early days, it has offered an international visibility to Romanian documentary films, viewed and debated upon by audiences and professionals, Romanians and foreigners alike. In the 1990s this was a first; today we are happy to see how people have made a habit out of coming to Sibiu to take the pulse of the latest Romanian productions. I don't belive it to be an overstatement when I say that for 23 years Astra Film Festival has been an inspiration and stimulus for Romanian film-makers and that it has become a launch pad and a catalyst for the Romanian documentary productions”, declared Dumitru Budrala, founding director of Astra Film Sibiu.

WARSAW: Fifteen films will compete in the international competition of the 32nd Warsaw International Film Festival, which will take place from 7 to 16 October 2016.



WEMW Co-production Forum
DEADLINE: October 31, 2016
Starting from the next edition (January 22-24, 2017) WEMW will launch a new East & West double focus and will bring together in Trieste over 350 film professionals from more than 30 countries and, in particular, from the 2017 spotlight territories: France and the Baltic Countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). Producers from all European territories, Canada, USA and Latin America will be eligible to apply and WEMW will select 20 projects in development with co-production potential either with France, the Baltic Countries or Italy.

  • Projects must be long feature fiction films or documentaries with preferably 15% of the total budget already in place
  • Projects from all Eastern European countries* with coproduction potential either with France or Italy
  • Projects from all Western European countries**, Canada, USA and Latin America with coproduction potential either with the Baltic Countries or Italy
  • Projects from Italy with coproduction potential either with France or the Baltic Countries

All applications must include: complete online application form, treatment in English (max 5-8 pages), financing plan, teaser of the submitted project or previous works of the director.
In order to submit your application and the required materials, you need to create your own account and fill in the online form following this link
Deadline: October 31, 2016.   
Selected projects will be announced in mid-December and selected producers will be offered up to 4 night accommodation in Trieste.
Along with the EAVE EPW 2017 scholarship, the Flow Postproduction Award and TRL Espresso, all selected projects will compete for two new prizes: the CNC Development Award, a 5.000 EUR grant for the best project, and the EWA – Europe Women’s Audiovisual Award, a cash prize for the best female director.
First Cut Lab  
DEADLINE: December 5, 2016
First Cut Lab is a training programme run by Matthieu Darras  and Alex Traila, and it is designed for 3 long feature fiction films in editing phase from Eastern Europe* and Italy. Selected producer/director teams will receive tailor-made advice from a consulting editor (Benjamin Mirguet) and expert feedback from top international film professionals (creative producers, festival programmers, sales agents, etc).
All applications must include: complete online application form and video material not less than 60 minutes long. In order to submit your application and the required material, you need to create your own account and fill in the online form following this link
Deadline: December 5, 2016.
Selected projects will be announced by the end of December. The participation at FCL is free of charge and selected teams will be offered 2 night accommodation in Trieste.
More information on the submission process and the event are available at www.wemw.it
* Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine
**Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
WEMW is organized by the FVG Audiovisual Fund and the Trieste Film Festival in collaboration with EAVE, Maia Workshops, Creative Europe Desk Italy, EURIMAGES, and the support of Creative Europe/MEDIA Programme, MiBACT - Direzione Centrale per il Cinema, CEI - Central European Initiative and the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. The 2017 focus is in cooperation and with the support of CNC - Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée, Estonian Film Institute, Lithuanian Film Centre and National Film Centre of Latvia.

In 2016, BIAFF Film Festival industry platform will be presentedby"Alternative Wave",which is supportedby the National Film Center of Georgia.

The main focus of  the "Alternative Wave 2016"is to develop the low budget feature film projects with the support of foreign and local experienced film industry specialists. Selected participants will have the opportunity to develop projects in the following areas – script, presentations, funding strategy, film production strategy, distribution and marketing strategy.

There are selected the following low-budget feature film projects for the “Alternative Wave 2016”:

1. "The runner'' – Script writer and film director PapunaMosidze.

2. "September" – Script writer and film director Tamta Gabrichidze.

3. "Destiny" –script writer - Mikho Mosulishvili, film director - Kote Chlaidze, Producer -Lali Kiknavelidze.

4. "Inga" - screenplay - Zaza Koshkadze/Mary Bekauri, film director - George Gogichaishvili, producer - Gega Khmaladze.

5. “Flight London-Shenako" – Script writer and film director - Beso Solomonashvili, producer – Irakli Solomonashvili.

6. "Hello" – script writer, director and producer George Varsimashvili.

7. "The pig" - writer, director and producer Giga Liklikadze.

8. "Time" – Script writer and film director Anna Sarukhanova, producer- Jana Sardlishvili.

9. "The Rejected"- the invited project; Script writer and film director George Pipinashvili.

Experts: Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos (script doctor), Konstantin Mindia Esadze (DOP), Dito Tsintsadze (Film Director), Gela Babluani (Film Director), Peter Rommel (Producer)

The authors of the project will meet withRebecca  Lenkiewicz (Scriptwriter of the film"IDA", UK) and Alexander Mindadze (film director, Russia)

Moderators: Tinatin Kajrishvili, Lasha Khalvashi

Organizers: Tinatin Kajrishvili, Lasha Khalvashi, Zviad Eliziani

The Meetings will be attended by representitives of the film industry and invited TV producers. "Alternative Wave 2016" will be held during 21-25 September in Batumi. Free public lectures will be held for students and for other representatives of the film industry. The location of “Alternative Wave” will be the conference hall of the Hotel "DIVAN SUITES Batumi".

In 2015, "Alternative Wave" was held for the first time at Batumi Art-house International Film Festival. There were 7 projects participating that time (Georgia, France, Turkey, Serbia). Different workshops and masterclasses were conducted for the participants. The invited trainers were: Paul Tyler, Arne Ludwig, Duygu Targan, Helen Yanovsky, Tobias pauzingeri, Gulin Ustun, Sigfrid, etc.

Contact information:

"Altertnative Wave" - ​​This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

BIAFF Film Festival - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The 41st Gdynia Film Festival hereby presents the jury of: Main Competition, Visions Apart Competition, Young Cinema Competition and Short Film Competition:

Main Competition:

    • Filip Bajon (Chairman)
  • Lenny Abrahamson
  • Magdalena Górka
  • Bartosz Karczyński
  • Ola Maślik
  • Łukasz Orbitowski
  • Kinga Preis
  • Gary Yershon

Visions Apart:

  • Monika Strzępka (Chairwoman)
  • Elżbieta Benkowska
  • Marcin Bortkiewicz

Young Cinema Competition and Short Film Competition:

    • Agnieszka Smoczyńska-Konopka (Chairwoman)
  • Mateusz Damięcki
  • Andrzej Krakowski
  • Adam Palenta
  • Małgorzata Potocka

Young Jury:

  • Dagmara Cioska
  • Łucja Olszewska
  • Czarek Orłowski

Main Competition - Jurors' Profiles

Filip Bajon 

Director, screenwriter, film producer, writer. Director of over twenty feature films, several documentaries, TV series. He also directs for the theatre and TV Theatre. Winner of numerous awards, incl. for “Aria for an Athlete”, “Inspection of the Crime Scene 1901”, “Shilly-Shally”, “Daimler-Benz Limousine”, “The Magnate”, “Poznan 56”. His most significant films also include “Engagement” (TV), “The Spring to Come”, “The Foundation”, “Maiden Vows” and “Damaged”. He has recently finished filming his latest production – “Kamerdyner ”. He has published several novels and collections of short stories. Lecturer at the Radio and Television Faculty of the University of Silesia and the Łódź Film School, in the years 2008-2016 Dean of the Directing Department of the latter. Graduate of Law from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and of Directing from the Łódź Film School. Member of the Board of the Polish Filmmakers Association. In the ‘90s, head of the DOM Film Studio, since 2015 - the Director of the KADR Film Studio. 

Lenny Abrahamson 

Director. While studying physics and philosophy at Trinity College Dublin, he directed short videos with the Trinity Video Society, which he co-founded with Ed Guiney. His first short film, “3 Joes”, won the Best European Short Film Award at the 1991 Cork Film Festival and the Organiser’s Award at the 1992 Oberhausen Short Film Festival.

Before making his feature-length debut, he directed numerous commercials for television. His first feature film, “Adam & Paul”, won the Best First Feature award at the 2004 Galway Film Fleadh and the Grand Prix at the 2005 Sofia International Film Festival.

“Garage”, another collaboration with writer Mark O’ Halloran similarly to his debut, was selected for Director’s Fortnight at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and won the CICAE Art and Essai award. The film also won the awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Script and Best Actor at the 2008 Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTAs). 

“What Richard Did”, his third feature, premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and was also selected for the 2012 BFI London Film Festival and the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.

In his next feature Lenny cast Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. “Frank” premiered to great praise at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Lenny’s latest film, “Room”, starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress for which Brie Larson won and Best Adapted Screenplay. In addition, “Room” won the People’s Choice Award at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, was one of the AFI Awards Movies of the Year, and appeared on numerous critics’ top ten lists. 

Lenny is developing a number of projects including “The Little Stranger”, a film based on Sarah Waters’ novel, and “Neverhome”, an adaptation of Laird Hunt’s civil war novel.

Magdalena Górka 

Cinematographer. Graduate of the Łódź Film School (2000). Her talent and experience have gained world-wide recognition. She has been the director of photography of feature and documentary films, TV series, music videos and international advertising campaigns. She is very flexible changing among the many carriers available on today’s film market. A high-class specialist in filming action scenes and car commercials. Her area of expertise includes action films, baroque studio scenes requiring complex camera moves and filming vast landscapes, but also recording the emotions of film characters. 

The films with her cinematography ranked high in the box office, e.g. “Paranormal Activity 3” directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman or Władysław Pasikowski’s “Jack Strong”. Her music video for Katy Perry’s “Unconditionally” (2013) has been viewed by two hundred and eighty million people up to date. 

Her works also include Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s “A Brief History of John Baldessari”, Jerzy Śladkowski’s “Two Rembrandts in the Garden” and Casey Affleck’s fictionalised “I’m Still Here”, Mark Edwin Robinson’s feature “The Levenger Tapes”, Jim Tassopulos’s “The Appearance of Things”, Frank Robak’s “Statistics”, Ezra Buzzington’s “Outta Sync”, Władysław Pasikowski’s series “Glina 2”, Elton John’s music video directed by Brent Bonacorso “Home Again” and advertising campaigns for Mercedes Benz AMG, Audi A4, Ford, Corvette, Google, BNY Mellon, XBOX, Goya, New Balance, BCBG, Max Azria, Tyskie, MKCafe, CTIA, Converse, Johnnie Walker, Milka, Lunchables, WalMart, Unilever. 

She lives in Los Angeles, California. 

Bartosz Karczyński 

Film editor. Graduate of the Film and Television Academy in Warsaw. In the profession since 1996. For many years he has been involved in the production of TV shows (“Agent”, “Big Brother”, “Idol”) and documentary series (“Pierwszy krzyk”, “Real Cops”). He has worked on feature-length films (“The Magic Tree”, “Felix, Net i Nika oraz teoretycznie możliwa katastrofa”, “These Daughters of Mine”), series (“The Magic Tree”, “Na dobre i na złe”, “Barwy szczęścia”, “Ojciec Mateusz”) and documentaries (incl. Maria Konwicka and Kinga Dębska’s “Aktorka”, Eagle – Polish Film Award 2016 for Best Documentary). In 2016 he was nominated for the Eagle - Polish Film Award for editing “These Daughters of Mine”.

Enthusiast of films for children and young adults, windsurfing and skiing. 

Ola Maslik 

Production designer. Graduate of Graphic Design from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw (2000), MFA from Yale School of Drama (2006). Awarded by the Donald and Zorca Oenslager Fellowship and the Elder Scholarship for International Design Students.

After exploring puppets design she worked with Richard Foreman at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater in New York City. 

She worked as a production designer on many films, including Craig Johnson’s “The Skeleton Twins”, Cherien Dabis’s “May in the Summer”, Chris Nelson’s “Ass Backwards” presented at Sundance Film Festival.

She recently wrapped two seasons on the CBS TV show “Madam Secretary” created by Barbara Hall and Morgan Freeman and directed by Eric Stolz, Tony Phelan, Denny Gordon, Charlotte Brandstrom.

Previously, Ola's work was also featured in Ryan O'Nan's “Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best”, which had its premiere in 2012 at the Toronto Film Festival.

Ola Maslik is originally from Poland, she lives in New York City.

Łukasz Orbitowski

Writer and journalist. He specialised mainly in horror literature and fantasy prose, but recently made himself known as an astute observer of reality. Graduate of Philosophy from the Jagiellonian University. He made his debut with a collection of short stories “Złe wybrzeża”. He published collections of short stories and six novels: “Horror Show!”, „Święty Wrocław”, „Widma”, „Tracę ciepło”, „Szczęśliwa ziemia”, „Inna dusza”. For „Szczęśliwa ziemia” nominated for Nike Literary Award and Passport of “Polityka”. He received the latter for “Inna dusza” published in 2015, which has also been nominated for the Gdynia Literary Award and the Nike Award.

As a critic and columnist he has collaborated with e.g. “Nowa Fantastyka”, “Przekrój”, “Lampa”, “Mówią Wieki”, “Gazeta Wyborcza”.

He hosts a programme “Dezerterzy” on the TVP Kultura channel. Always travelling, he gets lost in between cities. His friends call him the Monster.

Kinga Preis

Film and theatre actress. Graduate of the Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Wrocław. In the years 1995-2012 associated with the Polski Theatre in Wrocław. In cinema, after some supporting roles, she shone in Witold Adamek’s “Monday” (1998). She starred in the films directed by Rosa, Wosiewicz, Falk, Cywińska, Kwieciński, Wojtyszko, Smarzowski, Wajda, Skolimowski, Holland, Smoczyńska. She is among the most talented and acclaimed Polish actresses. She has received prestigious awards, including Zbyszek Cybulski Award and Gold Duck, she has been nominated for the Polish Film Award eleven times and won the Eagle award five times (“Silence”, “Tuesday”, “The Collector”, “In Darkness”, “The Mighty Angel”). Awarded at the Gdynia Film Festival three times (“Monday”, “Silence”, “The Collector”). She has presented the scope of her talent not only by means of her outstanding performance in Jerzy Skolimowski’s “Four Nights with Anna”, Wojciech Smarzowski’s “The Dark House” or Agnieszka Holland’s Oscar-nominated “In Darkness” but also in her ingenious interpretations of songs. In 2010 she was decorated with the Gold Cross of Merit.


Theatre and film music composer but also writer, translator, musical director and teacher.

For forty years he has been creating music for the leading UK theatre companies, West End and Broadway productions, radio, television and film. He has been collaborating with the Royal Shakespeare Company and since 2016 - the Old Vic company as an Associate Artist. He co-operates with the National Theatre, theatre companies in the West End (including premiers of Yasmina Reza’s plays) and on Broadway (2009 Drama Desk nomination for “The Norman Conquests”). 

His movie work has been for Mike Leigh (“Topsy-Turvy”, “Happy-Go-Lucky”, “Another Year”, “Mr Turner”). For “Another Year” (2010) he was nominated for the European Film Award, for “Mr Turner” (2014) he won the Best Orchestral Score award at Grand Scores 2016, as well as nominations for Ivor Novello, ASCAP Composer’s Choice and Academy awards. Curator of the “Oscar©-Winning Scores” exhibition at London’s Barbican Centre.

He has written for BBC radio since 1979: songs for “Midweek” (Radio 4), music for plays (“The Odyssey”, “Gawain and the Green Knight”, “The Theban Plays”, “The Winter’s Tale”, “The Eve of St Agnes”, “Three Men in a Boat”). He received the Sony award for his music for Louis MacNeice’s “Autumn Journal”. For Radio 3 he also translated and dramatised Pushkin’s “Ruslan and Lyudmila”, and contributed a new work, “Orwell on Kipling”, to the live performance show “The Verb”.
He also writes for TV (a detective drama “Trial and Retribution IX & X”, children’s cartoon series “James the Cat”, “Painted Tails”, “Ebb and Flo” with the animator Kate Canning).

Visions Apart Competition - Jurors' Profiles

Monika Strzępka (chairwoman)

Theatre director. Born 1976. She made her debut in 2004 with Mark Ravenhill’s “Some Explicit Polaroids” on the Polish Stage in Czech Teschen. Her next projects were created in Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Jelenia Góra. Since 2007 she has been working in a duo with the playwright Paweł Demirski. Their first performances prepared together were “Forefathers’ Eve. Exhumation” (Polski Theatre in Wrocław, 2007) and “There Was a Pole, Pole, Pole and the Devil” (Drama Theatre in Wałbrzych, 2007). Their most significant performances include “There Was Andrzej, Andrzej, Andrzej and Andrzej” (Drama Theatre in Wałbrzych, 2010), “In the Name of Jakub S.” (Drama Theatre in Warsaw, 2011), “Un-Divine Comedy. I Will Tell God Everything!” (National Stary Theater in Krakow, 2014). In 2015 she directed an eight-part TV series “Artyści” which is to be broadcast in autumn 2016 on Channel 2 of Telewizja Polska.

Winner of numerous awards, including “Polityka” Passport Award 2010 (with Paweł Demirski) in the Theatre category.

Elżbieta Benkowska

Born in the Year of the Dragon, a daughter of a shipyard worker and an accountant, sister of a mathematician, granddaughter of three Cashubians and a citizen of the Free City of Gdańsk, who decided to become a film director. She graduated from the Gdynia Film School in 2013 and is writing her Ph.D. thesis at the University of Gdańsk on Polish and Serbian football fans. Her graduation film “Olena” received numerous awards, including a nomination for Palme d’Or in the Short Film Competition at 66th IFF in Cannes.

Benkowska directed the first part of “New World”, a film triptych produced by Akson Studio. She is currently working on a screenplay of her feature-length debut.

Marcin Bortkiewicz

Director, screenwriter, film and theatre actor. 

Graduate of the University of Gdańsk and Wajda School. He made his debut with a short documentary “Early Learning”, which received a Special Mention of the Jury at the Krakow Film Festival in 2009. His “Drawn from Memory” made at the Munk Studio as part of the 30 Minutes Programme was presented in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the International Film Festival in Cannes in 2012. In 2015 he made his debut with a feature entitled “Walpurgis Night” which received many awards at Polish festivals, including the Golden Claquer Award for the longest applauded film at the Gdynia Film Festival.

Young Cinema Competition and Short Film Competition - Jurors' Profiles:

Agnieszka Smoczyńska (chairwoman ) 

Director, screenwriter. Graduate of Culture Studies from the University of Wrocław, Directing from the Radio and Television Faculty of the University of Silesia and master courses from Wajda School.Author of short documentaries (“Artykuł 567”, “Viva Maria!”) and feature shorts (“Kapelusz”, “3 Love”, “Aria Diva”) which won numerous awards at film festivals in Poland and abroad.

Holder of the scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage for outstanding artistic achievement. Winner of the programme “My Talent for Poland”, winner of the Golden Pen award granted by the President of the Republic of Poland. 

In 2015 she made her feature-length debut “The Lure” in which she experimented with the genres of a musical and a horror film. Awarded for Directing Debut at the Gdynia Film Festival, named the Polish Film Awards Discovery of the Year. Apart from that, “The Lure” has won dozens of awards around the world, including in Fantasporto, Sofia, Montreal and Vilnius and also at Sundance Film Festival where she received the Special Jury Prize for “unique vision and design”. This year, invited by Sydney Film Festival, “Variety” and European Film Promotion, she participated in the European Cinema: Ten Women Filmmakers to Watch programme. 

Mateusz Damięcki

Film, theatre and TV actor. Graduate of the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw. He began his career as a child in Jerzy Łukaszewicz’s series “Wow”, he also appeared on Jerzy Gruza’s “40-latek. 20 lat później”, Juliusz Machulski’s “Mothers, Wives and Lovers” and a cinema feature “Hunter” directed by Jerzy Łukaszewicz. He has been playing in Polish and foreign productions since 1999, including a Russian-French costume film “The Captain’s Daughter” (Russkiy bunt), Filip Bajon’s “The Spring to Come”, Giacomo Battiato’s biographical “Karol. A Man Who Became Pope”, Michał Kwieciński’s “Jutro idziemy do kina”, Dominik Matwiejczyk’s “Black” (Special Mention in the Independent Film Competition at the 2009 Gdynia Film Festival and the Polish Independent Cinema Jan Machulski Award in the Best Actor category in 2010), Jacek Lusiński’s “Pixels”, Bruce Parramore’s musical “Love and Dance”. As a leading man he partnered Alice Dwyer in a German war melodrama “Remembrance” directed by Anne Justice.

He has starred in popular series “The Officer”, “Egzamin z życia”, “Now or Never!”, “Na krawędzi”, “Na dobre i na złe”, “Bodo” and many others. He played a leading role in a Russian sitcom “How I Became Russian” (Kak ya stal russkim) for CTC station. Mateusz Damięcki also took part in documentaries: “Ocalony świat” and “Mapa ginącego świata”.

His most significant dubbing roles include the character of Christopher Robin in “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”.

Since his studies, associated with Warsaw theatres: Nowy and Współczesny (2004-06). He currently performs in “Onegin” directed by Irena Jun at the Studio Theatre and in “Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody” directed by John Weisgerber at Teatr Polonia.

Member of the Programme Council of the Institute KOSMOPOLIS - the Science, Culture and Education Foundation.

Andrzej Krakowski

Director, screenwriter, film producer, teacher, writer and cartoonist. Professor of the City University of New York, doctor of film arts. He studied Directing at the Łódź Film School. In 1968 he emigrated from Poland and continued his studies at the American Film Institute. He has made over sixty films and TV series. Director of the awarded “Looking for Palladin”, “Farewell to My Country”, “Campfire Stories”, “The Politics of Cancer”. Producer of e.g. the Oscar-nominated “California Reich”, winner of two Emmy awards for the series “We Are New York” and the popular Broadway musical “King David”. Author of screenplays of eighteen films and of books, including “Pollywood: jak stworzyliśmy Hollywood” [Pollywood: How We Created Hollywood], “Pollywood II: uciekinierzy w raju” [Pollywood. Volume II. Refugees in Paradise] and “The World Through the Eye of a Screenwriter”.

In the eighties he was a cartoonist of the “Business of Film” magazine issued simultaneously in London and Los Angeles. Recently his cartoons have appeared on the blogs “Foreign Confidential” and “Reunion ‘68”.

Adam Palenta

Cinematographer, director, photographer, screenwriter. Graduate of Multimedia Communication from the University of Arts in Poznań, the Film and Television Picture Realisation from the Radio and Television Faculty of the University of Silesia in Katowice, Photography from the Silesian University in Opava and from Wajda School in Warsaw. Winner of awards and special mentions at festivals in Poland and abroad. Holder of the scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (Młoda Polska, 2010). The films which he directed (incl. “Freestyle Life”, “House on Its Head”) or which he was the director of photography of (incl. “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark Room”) have been presented and acclaimed at e.g. DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Palm Springs International Short Fest, Vilnius International Short Film Festival, Krakow Film Festival. His feature-length cinematographic debut “Baby Bump” directed by Kuba Czekaj won the Queer Lion Award Special Mention at 72nd Venice International Film Festival and a Special Mention in the Visions Apart Competition at 40th Gdynia Film Festival.

Małgorzata Potocka

Actress, director, producer, manager. Having graduated in Acting and Directing from the Łódź Film School, she began working at the Educational Film Studio and made documentaries. In 1979, together with Józef Robakowski, she opened a private Exchange Gallery which became a venue for lectures, workshops and study visits of artists from the opposition milieu. In the eighties she was the originator and organiser of artistic events, including Konstrukcja w Procesie festival, closed on 13th December 1981. Scholarship holder of the Millennium Film Workshop (1986).

Owner of MM Potocka Production film company which has produced nine feature films for Ted Turner Television, Channel 4, BBC and Canal+. For Telewizja Polska she produced concerts of stars at the International Song Festival in Sopot, while at the Polish Song Festival in Opole she created the Stage of Young Talents. Co-author and first artistic director of the Dialog 4 Kultur Festival. Organiser of mass cultural events, rock concerts and theatre performances.

Director of festival-awarded documentaries, a feature “Oko Ra” and two series for young adults.

Adviser to the minister of culture on media, director of media education at the National Broadcasting Council. At the Adam Mickiewicz Institute she developed projects promoting Polish culture: the Year of Poland in Ukraine, the Polish Season in France. Director of the TVP Centre in Łódź (2006-10). Vice-president of Europejska Fundacja Edukacji Audiowizualnej DISCE. Member of the Programming Council of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Łódź. She conducts classes on the basics of acting at the Directing Department of the University of Social Sciences in Warsaw.

Young Jury - Profiles

Dagmara Cioska – a student of second grade of the 2nd high school in Opole. She made her first short film as soon as in junior high school. Currently, she experiments with animation. She is also interested in literature and psychology. Her eye is wary, her character tough, and her language harsh. She herself says she is a very strict critic but she learns to translate cutting remarks into constructive and spicy reviews.

Łucja Olszewska – a student of the 3rd grade of a convent high school in Rzeszów. She is interested in the history of the twentieth century and literature. Above all, she likes spontaneous journeys into the unknown. She spents her moments of out-of-school freedom in the cinema, most happily watching films that are non-obvious, philosophical and full of meaningful symbols; that is why Luis Buñuel is her favourite director.

Czarek Orłowski – a student of the 3rd grade of the 42nd junior high school in Szczecin. A real omnibus - he knows Michael Jackson's music inside out, he could write a voluminous monograph about the history of the royal family, and when woken up in the middle of the night, he quotes Shakespeare. He is inspired by the people of theatre and film, with whom he holds interviews. To him, cinema is a respite; he values most the universal cinema which incites deep reflections and revaluations.


MEMORIES OF SUMMER/WSPOMNIENIE LATA, dir. Adam Guziński (Poland). World premiere
1970s, small provincial town in Poland. Teenage Piotrek is spending summer holidays with his mother. Little does he expect that it will turn out to be the most important summer in his life and the experience of first love, friendship and loss will change him forever.

THE SUN, THE SUN BLINDED ME/SŁOŃCE, SŁOŃCE MNIE OŚLEPIŁO, dir. Anka and Wilhelm Sasnal (Poland, Switzerland). Polish premiere
Rafał Mularz, alienated from the society, seeks solace in daily routines protecting him from the outside world. However, an unexpected meeting forces him to re-examine his life. Loosely inspired by Albert Camus’ The Stranger, the film premiered at Locarno Film Festival.

CLAIR OBSCUR/ TEREDDÜT, dir. Yeşim Ustaoğlu (Turkey, Poland). European premiere
Two very different women struggle with the same problem. Deprived of the right to discover themselves, to love and be loved, they try to find their own voice in a country torn between modernity and tradition. CLAIR OBSCUR/ TEREDDÜT is scheduled to premiere at Toronto Film Festival.


PLAYGROUND/PLAC ZABAW, dir. Bartosz M. Kowalski (Poland)
It’s the last day of school in a small Polish town. 12-year-old Gabrysia doesn’t have a lot of time to tell her classmate that she has fallen in love with him. She sets up a secret meeting, but things don’t go according to plan. Inspired by true events, this observational drama focuses on juvenile psychopathology.

PARK, dir. Sofia Exarchou (Greece, Poland). Polish Premiere
After ten years, the Olympic Village in Athens is in decay. Among the abandoned athletic facilities and new-money tourist resorts, Dimitris, Anna and their friends explore the ruins of past glory. A portrayal of a young generation that has been betrayed and deprived of its future.

THE SAINT/SVENTASIS, dir. Andrius Blaževičius (Lithuania, Poland). World Premiere
As economic crisis in Lithuania deepens, Vytas looses his job. Pushed by his wife, he immediately starts looking for a new one, but not to much success. Instead, he starts looking for a man claiming to have seen… Jesus.


COMMUNION/KOMUNIA, dir. Anna Zamęcka (Poland). Polish premiere
Ola is only 14 years old, but she already takes care of her alcoholic father, autistic brother and a mother who lives in a different place. But most of all, she tries to reunite the family. Her brother Nikodem’s approaching Holy Communion seems like a perfect excuse to get them back together.


TRUE CRIMES, dir. Alexandros Avranas (USA, Poland). World Premiere
Based on incredible true events – as well as an article written by David Grann and published in The New Yorker in 2008 – it tells the story of a complicated case which re-opens once it’s discovered that a newly published novel seemingly holds the key to the unsolved murder. It features several Polish stars including Agata Kulesza and such renowned actors as Jim Carrey and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

TALES OF MEXICO/EL HABITATION, dir. Carlos Carrera, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Carlos Bolado, Ernesto Contreras, Alfonso Pineda Uolla, Alejandro Valle, Ivan Avila Duenas, Natalia Beristain (Mexico, Poland). World Premiere

Eight different stories – all directed by different helmers – are set in the same room over the period of 100 years, serving as an apt metaphor of Mexico’s historical tribulations. Small, confined space witnesses the dreams, hopes and disappointments of its ever-changing residents. The film is co-produced by Polish production company No Sugar Films


FIRST POLE ON MARS/PIERWSZY POLAK NA MARSIE, dir. Agnieszka Elbanowska (Poland). World Premiere
Kazimierz Błaszczak is retired, but he never stopped dreaming of going to Mars. Suddenly, it seems like his biggest dream is about to come true: a Dutch businessman is looking for people who are willing to go there in 2023 as a part of Mars One programme.

BED SIDE STORY, dir. Marcin Łubiński (Poland). World Premiere
Story of an unexpected late night visit and a teenager faced with something he thought was just a fairy tale.

THE PLAY-OFF/BARAŻ, dir. Tomasz Gąssowski (Poland). World Premiere

38-year-old Zyga lives in the suburbs of Warsaw. He tries to explain the rules that run the world to his son, Witek. The rules he doesn’t necessarily follow himself, which doesn’t go unnoticed by the clever boy.

This year’s program of Toronto IFF will include Czech film We Are Never Alone by director Petr Vaclav and producer Jan Macola (Mimesis Film). The film premiered this year in Berlinale’s Forum where it received Tagesspiegel Reader’s Jury Award and later screened at several other international film festivals.Moreover, Wasteland, a new eight episodes drama series produced by HBO Europe will have its international premiere in the Primetime section.


Contemporary World Cinema

We Are Never Alone / Nikdy nejsme sami

CZ, FR 2016, 105 min
DIRECTOR Petr Vaclav

A paranoid prison guard befriends his new neighbor, an unemployed hypochondriac supported by his wife who works at the local grocery store. Weary of life and caring for her two sons, she develops an attraction to the nightclub bouncer, but he is in love with the club stripper, who is in turn waiting for the father of her child to return from the same prison where the prison guard works. No one is ever alone, no matter how lonely they feel.

CONTACT WIDE - Diane Ferrandes, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SEP 8 12:30 Scotia 5 (P&I)
SEP 8 17:30 Scotia 4
SEP 9 12:00 TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
SEP 14 13:45 Jackman 


Wasteland / Pustina

CZ 2016, 449 min
DIRECTOR Ivan Zachariáš, Alice Nellis

When Hana Sikorova, mayor of a northern Bohemian village, stands up to a large coal mining concern that offers villagers large compensation in exchange for abandoning their houses built on land containing brown coal deposits, her fourteen year old daughter Misha disappears. Under the pressure of unfolding events, the community starts to fall apart and show its true face. Solving the mystery divides the story into several interweaving narratives that ultimately connect in unexpected ways.

CONTACT Beta Cinema - Thorsten Ritter, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SEP 9 10:15 Jackman
SEP 17 12:30 Scotia 3


Personal Shopper

FR, CZ, DE 2016, 105 min
DIRECTOR Olivier Assayas

Maureen is a young American in Paris making her living as a personal shopper for a celebrity. Also, she may have the psychic ability to communicate with spirits, just like her twin brother, Lewis, who recently passed away. Maureen soon starts receiving mysterious messages coming from an unknown source.

CONTACT MK2 - Ola Byszuk, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SEP 8 11:45 Scotia 3 (P&I)
SEP 10 21:00 Scotia 1
SEP 18 18:30 Scotia 1


Marketa Santrochova - Head of Czech Film Center
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., M: +420 724 329 948
Sep 8 - 14

Irena Kovarova - New York Representative
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., M: +1 646 645 6575
Sep 7 - 14



XI Batumi International Art-house Film Festival will be held in Batumi during September 18-25 September. BIAFF organizer is – Batumi Art-house ARGANI, Official partner – Batumi City Hall.

BIAFF announces its line-up of International sections – Feature, Doc and Short films.

The films in BIAFF Feature Film Competition section, will be assessed by following Jury:

  1. Head of Jury -  Dito Tsintsadze, Georgia
  2. Rebecca Lenkiewicz, UK
  3. Liza Antonova, Russia
  4. Mahtab Keramati, Iran
  5. Gulnara Abikieva, Kazakhstan

In BIAFF Feature competition section will be screened 9 films:   

  1. Confessions, Roberto Andò, Italy/France, 2016; 103 min.
  2. Daughter, Reza Mirkarimi, Iran, 2016; 103 min.
  3. Death in Sarajevo, Danis Tanovich, France / Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2016; 85 min.
  4. Godless, Ralitza Petrova, Bulgaria/Denmark/France, 2016; 103 min.
  5. I, Olga Herpanova, by  Petr Kazda/Tomas Weinreb,  Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, France 2016; 106 min.
  6. Rauf, Soner Caner/Baris Kaya, Turkey, 2016; 94 min.
  7. Teacher, Jan Hrebejk Slovak/Czech, 2016; 102 min.
  8. United States of Love, Tomasz Wasilewski, Poland/Sweden, 2016; 104 min.
  9. Zoology, Ivan I. Tverdovskiy, Russia / France/ Germany, 2016, 87 min.

BIAFF 2016 International Doc Film Jury will be presented by:

  1. Head of Jury - Marina Razbeshkina, Russia
  2. Diliara, Kazakhstan
  3. Oles Yanchuk, Ukraine
  4. Elhum Shakerifar, UK
  5. Beso Odisharia, Georgia

In BIAFF 2016 International Doc Film Competition section will be screened 9 films:

  1. Close Relations, Vitaly Manksi, Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, 2016; 112 min.
  2. Deadlock,  Harutyun Khachatryan, Armenia, 2016; 94 min.
  3. Dybuk, Krzysztof Kopczyński, Poland, Ukraine, Sweden 2015; 85 min
  4. Innocence of Memories, Grant Gee, UK, 2015; 80 min.
  5. Land of the Enlightened, Pieter-Jan De Pue, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, 2015; 87 min.
  6. Refugee Ship Enguri, Vakho Varazi, Georgia, 2016
  7. The Cinema Travellers, Shirley Abraham/Amit Madheshiya, India, 96 min.
  8. The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger, Colin MacCabe/Tilda Swinton/Christopher Roth/Bartek Dziadosz , UK, 2016;  89 min.
  9. Wild Women - Gentle Beasts, Anka Schmid, Switzerland 2015; 96 min

In BIAFF 2016 International Short Film Competition section will be screened 25 films:

  1. Coffee Break, Giorgi Tavartkiladze, Georgia, 2015; 12 min.
  2. Guest,  Nino Shaburishvili, Georgia/France, 2016; 16 min.
  3. Lethe, Dea Kulumbegashvili, Georgia, 2016; 15 min.
  4. Lost village, Giorgi Todria, Georgia/Spain, 2016; 15 min.
  5. Neighbors, Gabriel khotivari, Georgia/Germany; 2016; 14:35 min.
  6. Till the End of a Day,  Anna Sarukhanova, Georgia, 2016; 15 min.
  7. A Night in Tokoriki, Roxana Stroe, Romania, 2016; 18 min.
  8. All Rivers Run to the Sea, Alexandru Badea, Romania, 2016; 24 min.
  9. Ascension, Pedro Peralta, Portugal, 2016; 18 min.
  10. Daughter, Mehrdad Hasani Iran, 2016; 15 min.
  11. Deal with it, Gáspár Fehér, Hungary, 2015; 6:38 min.
  12. Donna Lucia, Olesya Khoroshikh, Russia, 2016; 30 min.
  13. El Matador, Turkey/Mexico, 2015; 9:45 min.
  14. Excess Baggage, Mariachiara Manci, 2015; 5:45 min.
  15. Her Biji, Fuat, Kurtoglu, Turkey, 2016; 4 min.
  16. Home, Iryna Tsilyk 
Ukraine, 2016, 12 min.
  17. Land of the Lost, Hawraz Mohammed, Iraq, 2016; 10 min.
  18. Limbo, Konstantina Kotzamani, Greece, 2016; 30 min.
  19. Malika, Valentin Kruse, Germany, 2016; 10 min.
  20. Mother, Piotrek Golebiowski, Poland, 2016; 27 min.
  21. Piknik, Jure Pavlović
, Croatia, 2015; 13 min.
  22. Requited Love, Christina Ki Casini, Italy, 2016; 15 min.
  23. The Beast, Miroslav Sikavica, Croatia, 2016; 14 min.
  24. When You Hear the Bells, Chabname Zariab, France/Tunisia, 2015; 25 min.
  25. White Wolf, Fanni Szilágyi, Hungary, 2015; 18 min.

Festival Sponsors – Ministry of Culture of Georgia,  Georgian National Film Center, Divan Suites Batumi

Festival Supporters – British Council, Polish Audio-Visual Fund, Cinema APOLLO, Alphabet Tower, Hotel Rcheuli, Hotel Batumi Plaza, Hotel Admiral, Cinema “Rustaveli”, Tourism Department of Ajara AR, festival “Tbilisi Open Air”, HQ propaganda, Tour Company “Wonderland”

Festival Media Partners – Radio Fortuna/Fortuna+, Adjara TV, Newspaper “Georgia Today”, FILMPRINT, Publicity Group (www.publicity.ge), www.newswire.ge, Film New Europe (www.filmneweurope.com), Newspaper BATUMELEBI, www.netgazeti.ge


BIAFF contact info:
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: 599-482181
Web: www.biaff.org 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/biaffbatumi