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American Film Festival Poland list of upcoming events

The AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL (AFF), the first film event in Eastern Europe solely devoted to the works of contemporary and classic American cinema, has announced a number of Special Events and VIP Guests who will participate in the inaugural edition which begins next week. These events are in addition to the 20 Dramatic Features and 15 Documentary Features that will compete for Audience Awards and cash prizes, including a chance at Eastern European distribution.

“We have assembled a very dynamic and exciting program for this first year”, AFF Artistic Director Urszula Sniegowska stated. “Our programming will be an exhaustive survey of the current pulse of dramatic and documentary filmmaking in the US, as well as offering retrospective programs that fondly look back at both the Hollywood and independent traditions of the past 70 years.”

One of the most anticipated events at the upcoming AFF is the Eastern European premiere of the multi-media extravaganza REBIRTH OF A NATION, a riff on the D.W. Griffith silent classic by musician and visual artist DJ Spooky (aka Paul Miller). In this reconstruction and deconstruction, he riffs on the early film (notorious for its racist depiction of blacks) to offer a contemporary take on race relations in America, accompanied to music by the world renowned Kronos Quartet and audio imaginings from his own collection. To give audiences a reference, the Festival is also presenting the 1915 silent film….arguably the first time it has been presented on the large screen in the region.



Another film of equal artistic verve that will be presented as a Special Event is EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, UK graffiti artist Banksy’s canny satire on the values of contemporary society and the contradiction of street art being sold for millions of dollars to complacent bourgeoisie. The film, which premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, is a tour-de-force of artistic mischief that has become one of the highest grossing and most talked-about documentaries of the decade.

Rounding out the Special Event Screenings is the premiere of Charlie Kaufman’s iconoclastic satire SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK, a theater-of-the-absurd diorama of human ambition, artistic pretension and the transcendent aspirations of culture, with a stellar cast including Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Hope Davis and Tom Noonan.

Screening out-of-competition in the Highlights section are five of the most innovative and successful indie films of the year: GREENBERG, the slacker satire starring Ben Stiller, written and directed by Noah Baumbach; KABOOM, the latest incendiary film bomb from subversive director Gregg Araki; THE KILLER INSIDE ME, director Michael Winterbottom’s look at the underbelly of violence in small town America; PLEASE GIVE, a rollicking satire of urban life in New York City by Nicole Holofcenter; and SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, an intelligent and innovative fantasy film by Edgar Wright and starring indie darling Michael Cera.

An army of American producers, directors, screenwriters and actors will come together in Wroclaw, to offer a full spectrum of the innovative talents at work in contemporary American filmmaking. The Festival’s special guest is iconic actor Seymour Cassel, who will make a rare appearance as part of the Retrospective Of John Cassavetes, the first presented in Eastern Europe. The actor starred in several of the director’s masterpieces and was a lifelong friend to him and his actress wife Gena Rowlands.

Directors in attendance include Neil Truglio (WE ARE THE SEA), Michael Mohan (ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS), Alex Mar (AMERICAN MYSTIC), Paul Gordon (THE HAPPY POET), Olivier Lécot (A NY THING), Chuck Workman (VISIONARIES), Tyler Measom and Jennilyn Merten (SONS OF PERDITION), Tim Rutili (ALL MY FRIENDS ARE FUNERAL SINGERS), Alistair Banks Griffin (TWO GATES OF SLEEP), THE TWO ESCOBARS (Michael Zimbalist), SPARK OF BEING (Bill Morrison), and Vincent D’Onofrio (DON’T GO IN THE WOODS). Other featured film artists include screenwriter Samuel Gray Anderson (LUCKLY LIFE), screenwriter/producer Catherine Di Napoli (UNTITLED), and actress/producer Chantelle Frazier (WE ARE THE SEA).

In addition to the full screening program of contemporary and classic American cinema, the Festival is presenting three provocative panel discussions, covering a wide array of topics including the future of films on the internet, new tools for screenwriters and a behind-the-scenes look at documentary filmmaking in America. Many of the Festival guests will participate and share their views in these eye-opening networking sessions.

The AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL will be held from October 20 to 24 in the cultural heritage city of Wroclaw, Poland. The Festival, is organized by the New Horizons Association, which also presents the ERA NEW HORIZONS International Film Festival (www.enh.pl) in July, named by the Polish Film Institute as the most important film event in the country. For more information, visit: www.americanfilmfestival.pl or the: The AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL Dailies

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Chatelin Bruno
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