Treat on "Tricks”

By Ola Salwa
    Andrzej Jakimowski's second feature, Tricks, is the topic of CentEast's distribution panel discussion, taking place October 17 as part of the 4th CentEast Market Warsaw (October 15-19).

    Tricks will compete for the Golden Globe and Oscar nomination, while it continues a triumphant march through film festivals around the world. under the title "Tricks - a success story," producer/director Jakimowski will talk about how to accomplish the trick of successfully promoting your film abroad . The other panelists are Maren Kroymann from M-appeal (the international sales company representing Tricks), Rene Wolf from Dutch distributing company Filmmuseum Amsterdam, and Stefan Laudyn, the director of Warsaw Film Festival.

    Tricks is a dramatic comedy about two siblings: six-year-old Stefek (charming debutant, Damian Ul) and 18-year old Elka (Ewelina Walendziak). The boy wants their father to return home, so he uses different tricks to challenge the fate. The story is lovely and warm and appeals to viewers for different countries and cultures.

    "Reactions [to my film] don't really vary. I hear the same questions about my film; it's only that the people who ask them differ," explains Jakimowski. He adds that now Tricks is so popular that he is not able to show the filom at all festivals he is invited to attend. It wasn't always the case.

    The international career of Tricks began at the Venice Film Festival in 2007, where the film was screened in the Venice Days section. It won a Label Europa Cinemas Award and Laterna Magica Prize. Placing the film in an A-list festival was probably the most difficult trick of all, because Poland has no specific company that would help promote local films abroad. Only a small part of the Polish Film Institute's budget is set aside for that purpose.

    "In the begging of the 'festival circuit' we were able to give a Tricks screener to people selecting films for most important festivals, and that move opened many doors for us. I give Stefan Laudyn credit for that," says Jakimowski.

    The film received many awards at international festivals, including Special Jury Award in Sao Paulo, Best Actor Award for Damian Ul in Tokyo, and Grand Jury Prize in Miami. To date the promoters have signed cinema distribution contracts for 27 territories both in Europe, and also in such far-flung countries as South Korea. It's an unsual treat for Polish film, and it makes Tricks the most popular and internationally recognized movie since Three Colors from the late Krzysztof Kieslowski. Jakimowski, now preparing for an Oscar nomination campaign, did not disclose any particular steps he will take on his road to get to the Kodak Theatre in February 2009.