The festival was inaugurated twenty five years ago as a modest albeit ambitious event to promote young filmmakers and has since become the grand-scale even it is at present... Over the next ten days, the Kinoteka and Multikino Złote Tarasy cinemas present over 210 films from 50 countries. Highlights include Marcin Wrona's "The Christening" and Szabolcs Hajdu's "Biblioteque Pascal"...
Over the next ten days, the Kinoteka and Multikino Złote Tarasy cinemas present over 210 films from 50 countries
The Warsaw Film Festival was inaugurated twenty five years ago as a modest albeit ambitious event to promote young filmmakers and has since become the grand-scale even it is at present, an event that holds a dignified place on the map of European cinematic events. Last year the WFF joined as the 13th officially registered event of the elite group of Competitive Feature Film Festivals, which includes the festivals in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Locarno, Tokyo or San Sebastian and is recognised by the International Federation of Film Producers Association (FIAPF).
The WFF programme is specifically dedicated to offering a glimpse or a deeper view into a variety of productions often confined to modest distribution or overlooked altogether in Poland. It is a competition festival divided into 5 professional categories: the International competition, with the main award Warsaw Grand Prix (the director[s] and producer[s] share a 25,000 Euros price) and the award for Best Director; the 1-2 competition (judging first and sophomore feature films by directors from all over the world); the Free Spirit Competition (rewarding independent, innovatory, rebellious films from all over the world); the Documentary Films competition and Short Films Competition. The WFF is a meeting place for filmmakers and audiences, with some one hundred directors, actors and producers of expected to attend to present, defend and explain the story behind their productions.
In addition to the professional categories, the WFF involves its audience into the voting process, gathering all the films presented at the festival in one sole competition: the Audience Poll for the best film of the WFF. The viewers vote after each screening, and the film with the highest marks wins the Audience Award. Moreover, directors competing in the 1-2 professional category can still have their shot at the FIPRESCI Award, for the best first or second film by a director from Eastern Europe, presented in any festival section. FIPRESCI is the International Federation of Film Critics, initiated in 1925 and at the origin of many events promoting new filmmakers and movies, and preserving the legacy of international cinema.
Also featured in the program of the festival are gala screenings of new films by established directors from all over the world, the discoveries section, presenting visions of the contemporary world, and the Family Cinema Weekend, with films destined to younger audiences and their parents. This year, in association with the INCAA (Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales), in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Argentina's independence, the WFF presents a review of Argentine films. As an exchange program, a selection of Polish films will be presented at the festival in Mar del Plata in mid-November.
Among the major Polish selections at this year's edition, three stand out most: Marcin Wrona
's tale of a retired gangster in Chrzest
/ The Christening
, Marek Lechki
's exploration of the confinement of corporate life in Erratum
and Krzysztof Łukasiewicz's tale of a small-town murder in Lincz / Lynch. Then there's Janusz Mrozowski's spin on last year's documentary Bad Boys. Cell 425 as he takes a look into a women's prison in Bad Girls. Cell 77.
Highlights from the foreign film repertoire include Szabolcs Hajdu's Oscar-nominated Bibliotheque Pascal from Hungary, which details the story of a girl named Mona who creates her own version of the events that brought her from Romania to England as a prostitute. Several more Oscar nominees are on the programme, including Olivier Masset-Depasse's Illegal (Belgium), Mohameda Al-Daradji's Son of Babylon (Iraq), Feo Aladag's When We Leave (Germany), Florina Serbana's If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle, Alexei Uchitel's The Edge (Russia) and Marcela Rasquin's "Brother" (Venezuela).
(br> Other points of interest include: Matti Geschonneck's Berlin, Boxhagener Platz (Germany), which revisits the buzzing city in 1968, Cristi Puiu's Aurora (Romania) which delves into the dark depths of a sick mind bent on violence, wandering the suburbs and Kuki Ningyo's Air Doll (Japan), a creepy glimpse into pop-culture romance in our lonely times. The American selections range from Bobby Sheehan's bubbly DocuFantasy: Arias With a Twist to Mark Claywell's throught-provoking American Jihadist and the film adaptation of Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner's bestseller Freakonomics.
Throughout its 25 years history, the WFF has been evolving along with the socio-political context in Poland. The complex of cultural backwardness inherited from the previous system still holds its mark in the mass conscious, and the need to fill the gap between the Polish audience and the civilisation it has been cut off from for over half a century is palpable. With the ever-changing world, the WFF aspires to offer its audience the latest and most interesting trends in world cinema as soon as possible. In this way, audiences of the Warsaw Film Festival, usually as the first people in Poland, had a chance to discover American independent cinema as well as Asian, Latin American, Iranian, Russian, and Romanian productions. Time has always been a major consideration: capturing the moment of the greatest success, the peak. Presenting a film, anticipating its success and potential success in the industry, and recognize a movie before it appears and gets praised by the critics and the industry, before such events as the Academy Awards or the Cannes festival.
The organisers of the festival have been expanding its professional aspects for the past ten years. Film festivals are part of the giant mechanism that is the global film industry and the WFF is a notable stepping-stone for Polish films, leading the way to screening at major leading festivals, and potentially eventual international distribution. Parallel to the festival, the 6th edition of CentEast Market Warsaw is on. The event, organised since 2005 by the Warsaw Film Foundation, is designed for professionals specialising in films from Eastern Europe, with the aim to bring Eastern European cinema to the world. Its program features Warsaw Screenings (selected new Polish films) and CentEast Warsaw-Moscow (a presentation of selected works-in-progress from Eastern Europe and Russia).
26th Warsaw Film Festival
Multikino Złote Tarasy, 59 Złota Street
Kinoteka - at the Palace of Culture and Science, Jerozolimskie Ave.