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Festival Dailies

American Film Festival Wrap

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  The AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL (AFF), the first film event in Eastern Europe solely devoted to the works of contemporary and classic American cinema, announced the two winners of its Audience Awards, chosen by the public as their favorites among the films presented over the past five days in Wroclaw, Poland. The winner of the American Independent Narrative Audience Award is WINTER’S BONE, the celebrated debut by filmmaker Debra Granik that won the Grand Jury Prize and Best Screenpl...

American Film Festival Wrap

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The AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL (AFF), the first film event in Eastern Europe solely devoted to the works of contemporary and classic American cinema, announced the two winners of its Audience Awards, chosen by the public as their favorites among the films presented over the past five days in Wroclaw, Poland. The winner of the American Independent Narrative Audience Award is WINTER’S BONE, the celebrated debut by filmmaker Debra Granik that won the Grand Jury Prize and Best Screenplay awards at the...

Indie Filmmakers Contemplate The Future At American Film Festival

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  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, ON...

American Indie Auteurs In Poland

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  While the Polish public certainly is aware of the latest Hollywood films, and with current American television series also freely available here, it is a little surprising that some  of the American indie world's most celebrated auteurs are virtually unknown. That is one of the goals of the inaugural American Film Festival, the first film event in Eastern Europe solely devoted to contemporary and classic American cinema. And if the size of the audiences at the screenings is any indica...

Found Footage Film Makes World Premiere Bow At American Film Festival

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  SPARK OF BEING, a found footage film by  celebrated avant-garde filmmaker Bill Morrison, is making its World Premiere this week in Wroclaw, Poland at the AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL (AFF), the first film event in Eastern Europe solely devoted to the works of contemporary and classic American cinema. Like his earlier film DECASIA (2002), Morrison uses disparate found footage extracts and a dynamic score to create a unique film experience that communicate many different layers of resona...

Chaplin, Welles, Bogart, Curtis Shine At American Film Festival

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  While the main focus of the American Film Festival, Eastern Europe's first all-American film showcase, is on contemporary directors, the Festival is also presenting an eye-opening hommage to classic films and filmmakers from both the golden age of Hollywood and the last decade of American indie gems. The result is a full schedule designed to intrigue any casual or ardent admirer of American cinema. In the section Play It Again, Sam, the Festival is bringing a smorgasboard of film ...

Music In The Air At American Film Festival

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  Music is definitely in the air, or at least music films, as the American Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland enters its second day. Last evening, DJ Spooky (aka Paul D. Miller) presented his extravagant multi-media presentation REBIRTH OF A NATION to a sold-out crowd at the Helios Cinema, as the Opening Night Attraction of the American Film Festival. A remash and remix of the notorious silent film by D.W. Griffith, DJ Spooky added sonic layers of rich depth and imagination to the fil...

Polish Posters Of American Films On Display

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  On the eve of the American Film Festival, which launches its inaugural event on Wednesday evening in the cultural heritage city of Wroclaw, Poland, an exciting art exhibition will be presented that merges the celebrated graphic excellence of Polish artists with the American film landscape. An exhibition of Polish posters of American films is currently being presented in the main Market Square, drawn from the Collection of Contemporary Culture of Wrocław and the Department of Social D...

DJ Spooky Brings His Musical Magic To Poland

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  After touring the globe for the past two years, DJ Spooky arrives in Eastern Europe. His visual/music extravaganza REBIRTH OF A NATION serves as the Opening Night attraction for the inaugural American Film Festival, a new film event that launches on Wednesday evening in Wroclaw, Poland. The man himself will be there to both orchestrate the film presentation and to mix sounds at the film's after-party at the chic Club Eter, where dancing will certainly continue into the wee hou...

VIP Guests At American Film Festival

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   DJ Spooky An army of American producers, directors, screenwriters and actors will come together in Wroclaw next week for the inaugural edition of the AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL, the first event in the region completely devoted to classic and contemporary American cinema.   One of the most highly anticipated guests is DJ Spooky (aka Paul Miller), who will be in Wroclaw to present a live concert version of his multi-media extravaganza REBIRTH OF A NATION, ...

Documentary Features In Competition At American Film Festival

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  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 the American Documentary Features that will compete for an Audience Award, with a cash prize of USD$5,000 and a chance at Eastern European distribution. The program in the AMERICAN DOCS section of the Festival is drawn from films that made strong impressions at such film festivals as Cannes, Sundance, South By Southwest (SXSW), T...

The Dark Humor of Pablo Larrain

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  The Chilean director Pablo Larrain has become one of the true unique voices in contemporary Latin American cinema. In 2008, his ambitious debut TONY MANERO debuted at the New York Film Festival and became an international hit on the film festival circuit. Adopting the name of the lead character played by John Travolta in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, the film told a darkly comic tale of a serial killer in the turbulent 1970s who is obsessed with the musical film and enters a look-alike contes...

The Dark Humor of Pablo Larrain

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The Chilean director Pablo Larrain has become one of the true unique voices in contemporary Latin American cinema. In 2008, his ambitious debut TONY MANERO debuted at the New York Film Festival and became an international hit on the film festival circuit. Adopting the name of the lead character played by John Travolta in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, the film told a darkly comic tale of a serial killer in the turbulent 1970s who is obsessed with the musical film and enters a look-alike contest to boot. ...

Spirit Of The Sixties Lives On In Woodstock

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  As you walk along the Main Street of Woodstock, New York, it is often hard to tell which decade you are in. Peace signs, hippie clothing and psychedelic posters dominate the storefronts and the streets are filled with women with impossibly frizzy hair and men still wearing plaid shirts and bellbottom jeans. The music that spills out of the street is more 1960s rock than current urban hip hop…..in short, the spirit of dissidence, individuality and questioning of the institution...

A New York State of Mind at Woodstock FF

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    Woodstock, New York, nestled in the majestic Catskill Mountains about 100 miles of New York, has a unique perspective on “a New York state of mind”. Close enough to New York City to its south to be influenced by its multi-culturalism and razor-sharp analysis of everything from fashion to publishing to politics to Wall Street, it has also been a haven for ex-pat New Yorkers who burned out from the impossibly fast pace of the city and found an inspiring solace in the bucolic ...

The Remarkable Universe of Masahiro Shinoda

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  Running parallel to the stellar film program of this year's New York Film Festival is a finely curated retrospective series of films from Japanese director Masahiro Shinoda. This prominent director of the Japanese New Wave was fascinated by traditional Japanese aesthetics and the modernity of cinema (and of the transformed Japan of the 1960s, when he started his film career, through to the present). Shinoda's movies detail the spiritual emptiness of post-war Japanese life and search f...

Twenty Narrative Features To Compete At American Film Festival

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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 the American Independent Dramatic Features that will compete for an Audience Award, with a cash prize of USD$10,000 and a chance at Eastern European distribution. The program in the SPECTRUM section of the Festival is drawn from films that made strong impressions at such film festivals as Cannes, Sundance, South By ...

Parting Glances From TIFF

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  HEARTBEATS (Xavier Dolan, Canada)  The hard truth is that even if one devotes oneself to seeing as many as 3 or 4 films per day (my usual average), that one is still only seeing less than 10% of the titles on offer at the Toronto International Film Festival, which concluded this past Sunday. Inevitably, there are those gems that one could not get to and the buzzed titles that conflicted with that Icelandic or Slovakian film that you convinced yourself that you cannot liv...

Cadillac People's Choice Awards at TIFF

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  The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is unique among A-list film festivals because it still is a non-competitive event. Unlike its other stellar festival cohorts, including Cannes, Berlin, Venice, San Sebastian and Sundance, TIFF does not bother with the formality of competition juries and all the drama that surrounds their sometimes dubious choices. Instead, the audience determnes the winners, especially of the Cadillac People's Choice Awards, which were announced on Sunday...

Introducing AFF Director Roman Gutek

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  The AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL , the first film event in Eastern Europe completely devoted to classic and contemporary American independent works, will take place from October 20 to 24, 2010 in the historic city of Wroclaw, Poland. The Festival is the brainchild of Roman Gutek, a pioneering distributor who has been the prime mover in bringing world cinema to his native Poland in the past two decades. Roman Gutek has worked as a committed distributor of auteur films in Poland for a...

Julian Schnabel: A Renaissance Man For Our Times

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  Julian Schnabel strides two different worlds like a modern-day colossus. As a painter, sculptor and photographer, he has been in the A list of fine arts culture for more than 30 years. For the past decade, he has added "filmmaker extraordinaire" to his resume, becoming one of the most talked-about and lauded film artists of his generation. Painters making films is not completely new  (Leger, Kandinsky, Dali and other early modernists did make film expressions, but they wer...

Joaquin Phoenix Doc: Is It A Hoax?

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I'M STILL HERE, the not-very-flattering documentary by actor-turned-director Casey Affleck of his brother-in-law and best friend Joaquin Phoenix has been provoking controversy since it world premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Is the film, which had its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this week, a true portrait of the actor's rejection of movie stardom or is it a cleverly planned hoax? The "documentary" of the tumultuous year that saw Joaquin attempt...

Dubai FF Announces Film Market Expansion

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   The Toronto International Film Festival has become one of the prime meeting places for film professionals from all over the map. So, not only are films seen, bought and sold, but the Festival is also an important place to make important new announcements about upcoming productions and initiatives. Therefore, it was completely appropriate that the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), the largest and most ambitious film event in the Middle East, use the Toronto setting to m...

TIFF Film In Focus: MAMMA GOGO

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  When a filmmaker draws on his own experience to the extent that Icelandic director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson has done in his wonderful memory film MAMMA GOGO, the intimacy of the revelations is almost disarmingly intimate. The prolific director, probably the best known from his native country and one of the most consistent in Scandinavia cinema, takes his audience on a personal journey as the film’s protagonist, a filmmaker himself, becomes immersed in the downward spiral of his mothe...

Joaquin Phoenix Doc: Is It A Hoax?

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  I'M STILL HERE, the not-very-flattering documentary by actor-turned-director Casey Affleck of his brother-in-law and best friend Joaquin Phoenix has been provoking controversy since it world premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Is the film, which had its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this week, a true portrait of the actor's rejection of movie stardom or is it a cleverly planned hoax? The "documentary" of the tumultuous y...

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