Festival winners also market winners in Warsaw

By By Jorn Rossing Jensen in Warsaw
    Three award winners at the 24th Warsaw International Film Festival were also screened in the CentEast Market Warsaw programme, which ran during the latter half of the Warsaw festival.

    Two of them entered the Top 5 list of features mostly favoured by the 200 market professionals present at the two events, including Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov's Yuri's Day and Bulgarian director Stefan Komandarev's The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner, and Slovak director Juraj Nvota's Music.

    Both Serebrennikov and Komandarev received major awards - the Warsaw Grand Prix and the Special Jury Prize, respectively - "confirming the synergy between the festival and the market profiling films and filmmakers from the region," explained market director Rik Vermeulen, unspooling the CentEast Warsaw market for the fourth time.

    For the first time the market had limited its focus to include fewer countries (Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria), at the same time adding to the number of works-in-progress presented either as nearly-completed-features or trailers. "We had a very positive response to the new structure," Vermeulen observed, "with CentEast's comprehensive presentation of new product especially from Poland, Russia and Romania, and its appeal to the international art house circuit which benefits films from the whole region,

    Warsaw seems to have found its role in the European network of film markets which will be further emphasised next year.
    "Although the dates (14-18 October) overlap with Rome's Business Street, I am sure we will welcome even more buyers than now. With 60 Polish features scheduled for 2008-2009, 100 Russian movies currently in the making, and Romanian production to reach unknown heights, we will certainly be able to compile a strong selection," Vermeulen concluded.

    Market films most-in-demand comprised Polish director Malgorzata Szumowski's 33 Scenes from Life, which won the Silver Leopard in Locarno; Polish director Kasia Adamik's The Offsiders (Silver Screen Public Award in Gdynia); and Russian director Aleksei Uchitel's Captive (Best Director prize in Karlovy Vary). The Top 5 works-in-progress listed Polish director Marcin Wrona's My Flesh, My Blood, Romanian director Radu Jude's The Happiest Girl in the World, UK director Peter Strickland's Katalin Varga, and Russian directors Valery Todorovsky's Boogie Bones and Ivan Vyrypaev's Oxygen.

    Besides local and foreign buyers, CentEast Market Warsaw participants included international sales agencies, such as Paris-based Insomnia World Sales, Rezo Films, and Berlin's M-Appeal, adding festival programmers from Cannes, Karlovy Vary, Rotterdam and Palm Springs. This year's programme included 46 screenings.