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A Letter from Stefan Laudyn, Director of WFF

Warszawski Festiwal Filmowy

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It’s already two months of restrictions. I vividly remember my last visit to my favorite place in Srodmiescie called “Pardon, To Tu”. As I was leaving, I could hear the sounds of R.E.M.’s song „It’s the end of the world as we know it” from the speakers. I realized that it’s difficult to find more adequate words to summarize the situation we all found ourselves in.

Then there was the last visit to the gym, on Friday if I remember correctly, and then on Saturday everything was already closed. Right before that however - “Samson”, last herring and last shot of “pejsachowka”.

My life in isolation is all about human contact these days, mostly in business matters. This means it’s business almost as usual, although without really leaving the house. I’ve struggled a little to get a grip of Zoom. I already took part in three Thursday online meetings with Polish Film Academy, all thanks to Zoom.

It’s amazing that we’re still receiving new films to watch for the upcoming edition of the Festival, and from all over the world. Filmmakers seem to believe that it’ll all end up like in the famous song by Tomek Lipinski – it’ll be “beautiful and normal”.

There was a film of a certain filmmaker which we invited 8 years ago to participate in the Festival, but then he preferred to have Berlinale as his premiere screening instead of Warsaw. Now he sends us his latest work as he’d love to have his premiere here. Isn’t that lovely?

I’ve recently been calling some Polish filmmakers. There are many films currently in post-production. Perhaps some will end up being presented at WFF?

Toronto and Busan festivals, the most important American and Asian film festivals respectively, have asked me for my recommendations regarding new Polish films. We hear about strong rivalry between festivals, but there is also friendship and kindness, and there is help, especially in these hard times.

Last week Cannes Film Festival was supposed to begin. I wrote to its president, Thierry Fremaux, about the obvious matters. That Cannes is extremely important, that it’s like the Sèvres standard.

May 29th marks the opening of Krakow Film Festival, the online edition this year. Fingers crossed! It’s already 60 years and counting.

I recently came across an information about our last year’s guest, the director of “5 minutes too late”. Dan Chisu has made a new film, while in isolation. He asked the actors to realize scenes, in which they perform, using their mobile phones. The script was written between March 12th and April 10th. The film was made in just 9 days, between April 15th and 23rd. The editing process took 8 days. 17 actors and some amateurs participated. The effect is incredible. The title reads: „9 love and hate stores in isolation”. I do have the director’s permission to share a link to a complete version of the film with English subtitles:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPr8U0FLeH4&t=2874s

More on the project from its director:

“9 STORIES OF LOVE AND HATE IN ISOLATION” by Dan Chisu, Romania 2020, 90 min.

 

1. STAR TV

A famous TV star refuses to move his show online. After he talks to his producer, weird things start to happen to his girlfriend.

2. ADICTIA / ADDICTION

A wife, separated from her husband by the pandemic, finds out about his unusual addiction, while talking on Skype.

3. CAINELE / THE DOG

A story told by a dog, after the birth of the first child of his owners in the lockdown.

4. OLANDA / NETHERLANDS

Two actresses, separated for three years, one living in Amsterdam, the other one in lockdown in Bucharest, start bringing back memories and everything turns emotional.

5. MINCIUNA / THE LIE

A young teenager cannot buy her dose of drugs due to the lockdown, and in despair she calls her mother, who has to lie in order to help her.

6. CONSULTATIA / THE CONSULTATION

How to cope with COVID-19 during the lockdown being a lawyer in need of money.

7. GARSONIERA / THE ROOM

Released from prison on the very day the lockdown starts in Bucharest, a woman finds herself again in prison of her home, in an empty room.

8. PESIMISTUL / THE PESIMIST

Brother and sister  after 6 months of quarantine. She has hope, while he is convinced that it’s the end of the world, and it’s the people are to blame.

9. VINOVATUL / THE GUILTY ONE

He is the patient zero. He lied and because of him half of Romania is dead. His punishment is to stay alive.

 

CAST: 

Alex Bogdan, Cătălina Mihai, Codin Maticiuc, Ana Pandeli (STAR TV)

Tudor Istodor, Raluca Aprodu (ADICTIA / ADDICTION)

Andrei Huţuleac (CAINELE / THE DOG)

Diana Cavallioti, Silvana Mihai (OLANDA / NETHERLANDS)

Corina Moise, Ana Radu (MINCIUNA / THE LIE)

Constantin Dogioiu, Alex Pavel (CONSULTATIA / THE CONSULTATION)

Ilona Brezoianu (GARSONIERA / THE ROOM)

Adrian Titieni, Judith State (PESIMISTUL / THE PESIMIST)

Emanuel Pârvu (VINOVATUL / THE GUILTY ONE)

AS THEMSELVES:

Elena Voineag,  Adrian Nicolae

And:

Adrian Silişteanu — DOP

Alex Pintică — Editor

Marius Leftarache — Sound Editor

Dan Chisu — Director and Producer

Co-Producers: ALL CAST AND CREW

DOP Consultant: Adrian Silişteanu

Camera Operators: ALL ACTORS AND THEIR FAMILIES

Animated Credits: Augustin Pop — Popixar Studio

Outdoor Cinematography: Mircea Banu

Additional Editing: Eugen Kelemen (Olanda), Horatiu Carpiuc (Garsoniera)

Script: Anca Florescu

A Dakino Production © 2020     

 

SHORT SYNOPSIS

The film tells a story of a film director (played by Dan Chișu himself) who is trying to convince a bunch of actors to shoot themselves at home while playing parts that he has written. With the advice from DoP Adrian Silișteanu and editor Alex Pintică (played by themselves), the director is putting together several stories of people in quarantine for various amounts of time. The feeling of the real quarantine and the actors real experience slowly leaves the realistic realm and moves into a disaster movie with funny by-the-ways to Jafar Panahi and his political forced isolation.

 

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT (interview for Film New Europe)

“I was disappointed because the release of my feature film 5 Minutes Too Late / 5 minute (produced by Domestic Film and DaKINO Production — world premiere at the Warsaw Film Festival in October 2019), which was due for 26 March 2020 release, together with a national tour, has been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was so frustrated and I needed to do something, so while talking with my friend, the actor Emanuel Pârvu, about the  situation in Romania, I came up with the idea of doing a feature film about a director desperately trying to do a film during the quarantine.”

“The actors were free to add or cut the text to their needs. Adrian Silișteanu saw the rushes and helped the actors with suggestions about frames and supplementary lighting. Some takes were intentionally out-of-focus to give the feeling of a technical compromise. The editing took eight days.”

“I produced through DaKINO Production, together will all the people involved, but the budget was 0. Nobody received any money, but we did pay the beers that one actor had to drink and some other actor’s cigarettes in another story.”

 

Let it be the first film of 36. WFF.

Take care and see you in October hopefully

Stefan Laudyn, Director of WFF

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