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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.


Indie Filmmakers Contemplate The Future At American Film Festival


At a lively discussion held on Thursday evening at the Szajba Festival Café of the American Film Festival in the cultural heritage city of Wroclaw, Poland, several of the American independent filmmakers present had much to say about the advent of the internet and how it is effecting their chance to produce, distribute and market their films. As they contemplated the future of the industry, the discussion became quite lively.



Michael Mohan (Director, ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS) 

“The internet means that my film can find an audience without necessarily having a distributor”, director Michael Mohan, the director of ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS, declared. “The internet gives people the chance to find films that are not readily available at their movie theaters or video stores. This is an exciting opportunity to get your film shown to the widest possible audience.”


Alex Mar (Director, AMERICAN MYSTIC) 

Alex Mar, the director of the documentary feature AMERICAN MYSTIC, agreed but with some reservations. “By having documentaries available on downloadable platforms, you can tap into existing social networks for which your film will have instant appeal”, she stated. “There is no question that the internet offers access to a greater variety than ever before, the problem is how it effects the financial return for your movie. In that sense, having a regular distribution deal in place is also very important if you hope to recoup your production costs.”



Chuck Workman (Director, VISIONARIES) 

Veteran director Chuck Workman, who is premiering his documentary on the avant-garde film world VISIONARIES here, was also supportive of the new media platforms. “They allow audiences to find our films, especially in places where our kinds of films do not ever come, except maybe for a film festival screening”, he offered. “It is really up to the artist to determine the platform that best suits his work, and that can be anything from the big screen to a small mobile device…..the work is more important than the technology.”



 Jakub Duszynski, Gutek Film

Jakub Duszynski of Gutek Film, the leading distributor of arthouse films in Poland, was the sole distributor of the group and had his own take on the pros and cons of the new technologies. “There is no question that the analog world is falling apart”, he declared. “The concepts of distinct territories and classic release patterns for films is completely falling away. Audiences can now be more active in their choices and can find the quickest path to what they want to view. Of course, how this all works financially is still a big question and for the moment the whole industry is a little lost in the woods.”



 Alistair Banks Griffin (Director, TWO GATES OF SLEEP)

Alistair Banks Griffin, the director of the feature narrative TWO GATES OF SLEEP, defended the traditional system of releasing films. “Distributors are still important because people trust their labels and their curatorial taste”, he stated. “However, as digital becomes the preferred method of distribution, the high costs of releasing a film are drastically reduced and it remains to be seen how these savings will effect revenue that ultimately comes to the filmmaker.” 


 Olivier Lecot (Director, A NY THING)

French director Olivier Lecot, who works in both Paris and New York and is screening his film A NY THING at the Festival, said that the size of the screen is secondary to how films will be financed and ultimately seen. “If more people decide to view my films on their cel phones, then that is fine with me, however there has to be a pay structure that will ultimately return investment to financiers so that we can access financing for our future projects….otherwise, it will be a disaster.”



Tyler Measom (Co-Director, SONS OF PERDITION) 

Summing up, Tyler Measom, the co-director of the documentary SONS OF PERDITION, called for filmmakers to be more savvy about the business and where it is going. “Making a film is like opening up a small business”, he declared. “We need people who are experts in marketing and publicity to help us get our films sold and seen. Most filmmakers are not very good business people, so having them do all the work of making the film and then being responsible for getting it shown is more than most can handle. These days, there is so much competition from other internet content and the high quality of television these days, that we need that special something to get noticed above all the noise.”


For more information on the films and events of the American Film Festival, visit:

Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor