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TOFIFEST International Film Festival

The International Film Festival TOFIFEST is a festival that stands out from others, because of its originality and rebellious nature. 

The trends in the development of the festival are shaped not only by the frantic rush of cinematography, but also by the creative chaos raging in the heads of artists, their creativity and the joy of creation. Yet one aspect has remained unchanged for so many years: the “innate” lack of any pomposity.

And how does TOFIFEST manifest its rebellious nature? Well, it is seen in each element of its functioning. It is a keyword that opens (and contains) the entire diversity of the festival’s programme, the functioning of the event in space, and even its visual identification.

This rebellious nature is the ideological backbone of the Festival. It is also the courage to present the work of unconventional authors, still unknown cinematographies, as well as a surprising combining of various essences of cinematography, in the festival’s programme. It is precisely this magnetising and creative unrest that we owe the uniqueness of our festival to.

We also say: “No” to the machine-made festivals. We want to “touch” the cinema with our own hands. That’s why TOFIFEST is a “handmade festival” — from A to Z. It is a festival without red carpets and an avalanche of camera flashes. It can charmingly and professionally measure doses of the cinema’s aroma, and can also be naturally nonchalant, providing unforgettable thrills, both for the notable guests and the audience themselves, among the scent of fresh oranges.

TOFIFEST is a festival of fascinating films, long discussions, making friends and unconventional education. It is a festival that opens the horizons of cinema to all — not just to the chosen few.

It is a festival of cinema eaters who take part in our festival feast. So chew Tofi!

I invite all of you!
Kafka Jaworska
Director of IFF TOFIFEST



The 13th International Film Festival Tofifest 2015

Here we go. Eight days with cinema and at the cinema. 150 films, many magnificent guests, and controversial topics to discuss. Four competitions, Club 27, a problem with Islam and the future of cinema. There will be a lot to see and to talk about. We invite you to Tofifest in Torun, from 18th OCtober to 25th October, 2015.

This year, Special Golden Angel Awards for artistic insolence will go to Jan Peszek and Anna Dymna. Festival jury will include, among others, actor Joe Pantoliano from Matrix, and film director Anne Fontaine, author of Coco Chanel. British star Julian Sands will give a stage performance with a monodrama directed by John Malkovich, and the main thematic axis of the festival will be the mythical 'Club 27' and its cinema reception.

According to festival guests, the Tofifest Film Festival in Torun is the coolest film event in Poland. The success of the festival has been produced by combining film programme based on premières, recognisable cinema stars, and the beauty of old Torun, which provides perfect scenery. And all that may be the reason why it was possible to meet such great celebrities, as Geraldine Chaplin, Emanuelle Seigner, Jim Sheridan, Jiri Menzel, Krystyna Janda, Jerzy Stuhr, Janusz Gajos, or Wojciech Smarzowski, at Tofifest.

The leading phenomenon of Tofifest 2015 is the mythical Club 27. Enthusiasts of conspiracy theories classify all musicians, who died before their time, at 27, as members of the club, including Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, or Jimi Hendrix, the latter of which is featured on the official poster for Tofifest 2015. There will be an entire section dedicated to films presenting their lives. That will include two films made in 2015, i.e. 'Janis: Little Blue Girl' and 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'.

The ON AIR (full-feature films) and SHORTCUT (short films) main competitions are based on excellent debuts that have been awarded at prestigious film festivals, for example in Berlin, Cannes, Toronto, and Venice, but also on films that have been discovered and appreciated by the decision-makers that select films for Tofifest. Those discovered jewels include the Mexican candidate for Academy Awards 600 Miles and Icelandic Rams, as well as Sleeping Giant that has won awards at the TIFF, and Polish-Swedish co-production The Here After. Nearly all the films that to be screened as part of international competitions will have their POLISH PREMIERES.

Tofifest is referred to as 'a rebellious festival', since it has always reacted to the situation in the world. Therefore, we have included the 'Islam. The Near and Far East' section that will feature the Iranian New Wave and films by Muslim women directors about women living in Muslim countries. This will be the only section of this type, among all film festivals in Poland. The programme of this section includes The Cow, which was a milestone for Iranian cinema and won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice IFF in 1971, but also Nahid that has won an award in the Un Certain Regard section at this year's festival in Cannes.

Tofifest will also be the first film festival in Poland to show premières of many great films that have their international premières this year. The festival in Torun will see the première of From Afar / Desde Alla, which won the Golden Lion Award in Venice 2015. Similarly, Son of Saul by László Nemes, winner of the Palme d'Or award at Cannes 2015, will have one of its few Polish screenings at Tofifest. And to top it all off, there will also be a screening of Waves'98, a short film from Lebanon that has won the Palme d'Or award for short films at Cannes 2015, as well.

This year, Special Golden Angels awarded to people of cinema for their artistic insolence will go to two outstanding Polish actors – Jan Peszek and Anna Dymna – and to French director Anne Fontaine, who is the author of Coco Chanel with Audrey Tatou and Agnus Dei with Agata Kulesza (it will be released in 2016). The Angel for the Rising Talent of European Cinema will go to Umut Dag. 5 years ago, this Turkish director, who lives and works in Austria, won Tofifest with his debut film Kuma. Flisak Tofifest Film Awards, i.e. special awards given to filmmakers connected with the region of Kujawsko-Pomorskie, will go to actor Pawel Tchorzelski and German TV star Anna (Anja) Antonowicz.

Juries for each of the competitions will include, among others, Stefan Kitanov, director of Sofia International Film Festival, writer Wojciech Kuczok, or film director Agnieszka Smoczynska.

Summing it all up, the programme will feature the total of 150 films, divided into several sections, as well as concerts, fiery debates, and... night parties at a festival club, which this year is the legendary underground club Enerde.

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Amy Berg and Przemyslaw Wojcieszek. Two world meet at Tofifest.

There are many cinema celebrities present among the guests to the Tofifest 2015 festival. One day, two of such guests came to take part in festival screenings, and both differ from each other just as night and day. One of them was Academy Awards nominee Amy Berg and 'enfant terrible' of Polish cinema, Przemyslaw Wojcieszek.

Amy Bereg at Tofifest filmfestival

Janis Joplin – was she a sad girl?

The American documentary filmmaker known for Deliver Us from Evil, which was nominated for Academy Awards, talked with the festival audience about the legendary singer, author of lyrics, and a hippie icon, Janis Joplin. Amy Berg decided to make her the main figure of the latest film Janis: Little Girl Blue, in which the director has revealed a previously unknown face of the artist.

'The possibility of making this film was a great joy for me. Joplin was the first woman to have achieved such tremendous success on the American music scene, she has an incredible voice, and most importantly her music is still relevant today,' commented the director. What Amy Berg found most surprising during working on the film was the extreme contrast between the image of Janis Joplin and her private life. 'Everybody remembers her as a stage animal, but in reality she was an emotionally fragile persona, going through intense inner dramas,' explained Amy Berg. As an example of that, the film analyses the fact that Joplin was rejected by her peers in school. For that reason and also for many others, the film by Amy Berg is part of the 27 Club section – the main section of Tofifest 2015. By way of that section, the festival shows how cinema tried to reply to the phenomenon of a group of musicians, who passed away at 27, and have included in the so-called 27 Club, by enthusiasts of conspiracy theories. Janis died at 27, as well.

One of the main problems troubling the making of the film was its costs. Archive footage is often quite expensive and copyrights form a barrier that prevents them from being used without proper permission. Another potential problem was lurking in the unique method of filmmaking adopted by the director. Previously, she had always started working based on a concrete concept, but with Janis: Little Girl Blue it was just the opposite: she started with the materials she had at her disposal, and everything else was later adjusted to fit to that.

More interestingly, the director mentioned the name Natalia Przybysz, a Polish singer, who made a record with covers of songs by Janis Joplin. According to Amy Berg, it was just one of many proofs that the heroine of her film is still a meaningful person and artist, who continues to have an impact on the contemporary international music scene, 45 years after her death.

Wojcieszek discussing (Non)Wojcieszek

Przemyslaw Wojcieszek came to Tofifest with his latest film Berlin Diaries, which is a very original film journal, featuring the director himself, in the leading role. 'I really needed this film to deal with my problems. It is a piece of my life captured at a very special moment,' explained the director, during the meeting. But just as literary journals are under a strong influence of their author's original (auto)creation, Berlin Diaries is similarly not reduced to being only a record of a certain period of one's life. The director confirmed that they include quite a lot of fictional elements, or a fictional narrative structure, if you will. Such structure and involving Joanna Laganowska to be part of the project made it possible for the director to make the story more coherent and orderly, although it is still far away from the classical linear narrative in a film.

Wojcieszek was inspired by a number of similar films (for example, by Kim Ki-Duk's Arirang), and in his film experiment (quite exhibitionist in nature, one must admit), he analyses the boundary between what can and what cannot be still referred to as cinema. Wojcieszek considered that experience to be very peculiar and challenging, in many aspects: 'I am not an actor, so I find it extremely difficult to talk about myself, even if it is fictional.'

Judging by reactions of the audience, Berlin Diaries is a challenging experience for viewers, too, but the initial discomfort and impatience finally disappears, replaced instead by the intention to be part of a conversation discussion, or even a quarrel with (Non)Wojcieszek in the film, and the subject to discuss can be virtually anything: life, death, love, beauty and ugliness, boredom, poverty, city and nature, cinema and acting, and also the camera as a method of botho recording and touching the world.

Press Office of Tofifest, Ewa Pakalska & Artur Klimek


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About TOFIFEST International Film Festival

(Foundation Culture Office)

TOFIFEST is one of the biggest Polish international film festivals. The event, born in Torun, is called "rebel festival". Tofifest presents debuts and second films of young, "rebellious" directors from all over the world.



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