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American Film Festival


The inaugural American Film Festival will be held in the heritage town of Wroclaw, Poland from October 20 to 24, 2010. It is the first film event in Eastern Europe exclusively devoted to contemporary and classic American cinema.


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A New Festival Comes To Poland

Poland already has its fair share of film festivals, with yearly events in Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk, plus the recently concluded ERA New Horizons International Film Festival, named by the Polish Film Institute as the most significant film event in the country. The latter takes place in the UNESCO heritage city of Wroclaw in the southeastern corner of the country, an area that has become a major European go-to destination for its historic architecture and fine cuisine. Wroclaw (known before 1945 as Breslau when it was part of Germany) is again hosting a film event that has great potential to make a big noise.

The AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL (AFF) is the first film event in Eastern Europe solely devoted to the works of contemporary and classic American cinema. The new event, patterned as an Eastern European version of the famed Deauville Film Festival in France, was announced during last May's Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.   

The first edition of the AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL will be held from October 20 to 24, 2010 in the cultural heritage city of Wroclaw (featured in the New York Times as one of the hot travel destinations in Europe). The event is being organized by the New Horizons Association, which also presents the ERA NEW HORIZONS International Film Festival (www.enh.pl), fast becoming the most important film festival in the region.

 The timing of the announcement was not a coincidence.  “The Tribeca Film Festival has a worldwide reputation as an event that embraces independent cinema from around the world, with a special focus on the works of contemporary American independent artists”, Artistic Director Urszula Sniegowska announced at the time. “Therefore, it is completely appropriate that we made this announcement about the first film event in Eastern Europe completely devoted to American cinema during the Tribeca Film Festival”.

“While Polish audiences are certainly aware of the big Hollywood films, they are not as exposed to the world of American independent cinema”, Sniegowska continued. “The AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL will allow Polish audiences to become acquainted with contemporary American cinema with presentation of the latest films from both established directors and up-and-coming talents. In this way, we hope to present the diverse culture and political/social realities of the United States in a fuller way than has ever been tried before.”   

Artistic Director Urszula Sniegowska, previously manager of KINO.LAB at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, attended a slew of film festivals looking for dramatic feature  films and documentaries for the Festival. She scouted for narrative features and documentary feature films at such important events as the Sundance Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, South by Southwest Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival.

 

The Festival, designed mainly as a cultural event, also can have commercial implications for the visibility and ultimate sales of these films to the Eastern European market. “Although American films dominate Polish cinemas, they are chiefly commercial productions distributed globally by major film studios and many quality films are not released in Poland at all”, Roman Gutek, the founder of pioneering Polish distribution company GutekFilm (http://www.gutekfilm.pl/english) and the AFF Festival Director explained. “With this new festival, we hope to introduce to our audiences new names and works of the contemporary American cinema and stimulate interest from the business sector.” 

Look to this Online Dailies site for news about the films in the Narrative Features and Documentary Features competition sections, as well as announcements of special events and retrospectives. American indies will be en route to Wroclaw in October, creating opportunities for cultural exchange and business affairs at Europe's newest film festival. For more information, visit the Festival website: www.americanfilmfestival.pl

 

Sandy Mandelberger, Online Dailies Editor 

 

 

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