Culture.pl maps Poland's freshest film festivals of summer 2013.
Warding off the approach of autumn, Culture.pl maps Poland - north to south, east to west - in search of the freshest Polish film festivals of summer 2013
T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival
T-mobile New Horizons Festival, photo by Łukasz Gawroński
Ambitiously starting in western Poland, with the cream of the crop: New Horizons is a trendsetter. Poland’s biggest annual film event, it is also considered among the most important in Central European. Based in Wrocław, it focuses on art-house cinema and explores "new horizons" in film language, expression and storytelling. The 13th edition of the festival presented over 350 films, 140 of which were shown in Poland for the first time. Of those, we'll mention Alexey Fedorchenko's Celestial Wives of the Meadow (winner of the 2013 international competition), Alain Guiraudie's Stranger by the Lake and Nicholas Fackler's Sick Birds Die Easy, to name but three.
Established in 2001, New Horizons has four competitive sections and is accredited by FIPRESCI and by FIAPF as a Competitive Specialized Feature Film Festival. The Wrocław festival has another particularity, acknowledging the links between film, visual art and music, and it has sections dedicated to each discipline. "Today cinema enters into the spheres of other artistic fields", says Roman Gutek, founder of New Horizons, "and thus becomes part of contemporary art". The festival took place between the 18th and 28th of July.
Młodzi i Film Koszalin
Młodzi i film, the crew of the movie "Magdalena", photo: press release
The oldest, largest Polish festival true to promoting young filmmakers - and the event where legendary directors Agnieszka Holland, Krzysztof Kieślowski and Krzysztof Zanussi presented their first films. It has been taking place in Koszalin, the largest city of Middle Pomerania in north-west Poland, a dozen kilometres south of the Baltic Sea coast, since 1973. The Koszalin Festival of Film Debuts "Młodzi i Film / The Young and the Cinema" - as its full title goes - shows professional debuts, full features and shorts. The festival is mostly dedicated to Polish films, and its 32nd edition showed films that are becoming this year's Polish favourites: Jerzy Kowynia's Kamczatka (winner of the Jantara 2013 award for script), Maciej Cuske's Stacja Warszawa and Julia Kolberger's The Easter Crumble.
Another Koszalin tradition are meetings, under the demanding title "Truth for Truth", which bring together young filmmakers, audiences and critics. The festival took place between the 24th and 29th of June. This year's special guest was Krzysztof Zanussi, who had received the Koszalin Mlodzi i Film Grand Prix for Illumination (1972) at the festival's first edition .
Dwa Brzegi festival, photo by Łukasz Łuszczek
Called the Two Riversides Film and Art Festival, the event took place for the seventh time in Kazimierz Dolny. A small, historic town on the the Vistula River's bank in central Poland, its natural and architectural appeal make it a touristic destination. Dedicated to film as well as music and art, the festival's 2013 edition presented 90 screenings, 12 premiers, 300 shorts and almost 100 small-scale artistic happenings. The edition revolved around the theme of "Identity", bringing up notions of origins and traditions.
Dwa Brzegi picks up the latest films from festivals around the world and additionally shows premiere screenings such as Felix Van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown, Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty and Alex Van Warmerdam’s Borgman. The festival opened with a performance by jazz master and trumpet maven Tomasz Stańko and his New York Quartet in a show of poetry-inspired jazz from their well-traveled album Wisława. Two Riversides took place between the 7th of July and the 4th of August.
Letnia Akademia Filmowa
Summer Film Academy in Zwierzyniec, photo: press release
The Letnia Akademia Filmowa / Summer Film Academy takes place in the Roztocze region in Zwierzyniec, a town located in the middle of the hill ranges of east-central Poland. But to patch together its programme, it reaches to the far ends of the world. The 14th edition presented films from Iceland (the work of Fridrik Thór Fridriksson; Baltasar Kormákura's The Deep), Pakistan (Taliwood, a film that captures the complexity of the situation for filmmaking in a nation where the Taliban tries to fight the influences of Bollywood), Cuba (a retrospective of the work of Tomas Gutiérrez Alea) and Palestine (a retrospective of the work of Elia Suleiman). Furthermore, the Summer Film Academy presents a selection of films from the Berlinale. This year's Summer Film Academy / Letnia Akademia Filmowa (LAF) took place between the 2nd and 11th of August.
Lubuskie Lato Filmowe
Lubuskie Lato Festiwalowe, photo: press release
Set among lake scenery, the small western Polish town of Łagów hosts the Lubuskie Lato Filmowe / Cinematic Summer of the Lubuskie region, aka the International Film Festival of Eastern and Central European Cinema. It stands out for screening up-to-date big Polish productions in a laidback atmosphere. The one-week programme comprises over 180 films (features and documentaries) from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Germany, Austria and Poland. The event has been taking place since 1969, which makes this its 42nd edition.
Presented this year were Andrzej Jakimowski's Imagine, a film that shows film as the best medium to transport an audience into the world of the blind (and winner of the festival's main prize), Władysław Pasikowski's controversial Aftermath (winner of the festival's second prize) and Ukrainian director Daria Onyszczenko's Eastalgia. The fesitval welcomed well-known Poles from the cinematic sphere - Leszek Dawid, Andrzej Jakimowski, Jacek Bławut, Maciej Drygas - and looked back on early, less-known works of famous Polish filmmakers. The 42nd Cinematic Summer of the Lubuskie region took place between the 30th of June and 7th of July.
Hommage à Kieślowski
Sokołowsko Festiwal Filmowy Hommage a Kieślowski 2013, photo: insitu.pl
A film festival with particular appeal for Kieślowski lovers, it aims to encourage contemporary interpretations of the legendary filmmaker's work. Taking place for the third time, it has last position on our list and is not an item of the past - it will take place from the 6th to the 8th of September. The fest takes place in Sokołowsko in Lower Silesia, close to the border with the Czech Republic and the town where Krzysztof Kieślowski spent a part of his childhood - and where he filmed the 1974 documentary X-Ray / Prześwietlenie. The festival is under the patronage of the director's wife, Maria Kieślowska, and this edition revolved around the second of the Three Coulors trilogy, White (1994), and hosts the film's French producer, Marin Karmitz.
A cross-border event, the festival travels 6 kilometres from Sokołowsko to the Czech town of Meziměstí for additional open-air screenings. Back in Poland, apart from an exhibition of artifacts from the Archive of Creative Output Krzysztof Kieślowski, the festival screens 40 films (including Agnieszka Holland's 1981 film A Lonely Woman, Bartek Konopka's Fear of Falling and David Ondříčk's Loners) with a review of the works of young documentary filmmakers from the Wajda School, workshops, panels discussions, performaces and concerts.
Sources: T-Mobile New Horizons, portal filmowy, Dwa Brzegi, LAF, Lubuskie Lato Festiwalowe
Author: MJ, based on the suggestions of BS, 14.08.2013