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WARSAW 2017 Industry

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The River: Aslan and His Brothers wins the Pitching Award at the Warsaw Industry Days


- The reshaped and remodelled industry programme of the Warsaw Film Festival has proven that the Polish capital is a worthy meeting point for European film professionals

The River: Aslan and His Brothers wins the Pitching Award at the Warsaw Industry Days
The Pitch&Meet awards ceremony (© Rafał Nowak FOTOgrafia/PHOTOgraphy)

There were three new events at the Warsaw Industry Days, which this year replaced the CentEast Market, organised annually since 2005. The largest new addition was “Pitch&Meet. Warsaw Co-production Meetings 2017”, which was instigated and organised by the Polish Film Institute (PFI) with the support of the Warsaw Film Festival. The programme presented eight European projects at different stages of development, plus two Polish majority co-productions, Najmro by Mateusz Rakowicz and Pilot9/11 by Norman Leto, which were not in the running for the €100,000 prize.

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The jury, consisting of producer Amanda Livanou, programmers Lenka Tyrpakova and Andreas Struck, and film critic Michał Oleszczyk, gave the Pitching Award to The River: Aslan and His Brothers, helmed by Kazakh director Emir Baigazin. They opted for this project as it “created a richly imagined, visually striking and disturbing portrait of young people's internal struggle. We liked that the pitch presentation used varied means to give the jury a fully formed idea of what the finished film may be like,” said the jury in their statement. The other projects taking part in the programme were Joaquin del Paso’s The Hole in the FenceDeyra Durmaz’s The Bus to AmericaRafael Kapeliński’s Cranley GardensFrancesco Rizi’s People I’m NotMarysia Nikitiuk’s Seraphyma, Simon Ellis’ Zero%Proof and Maryna Vroda’s Stephne.

“Pitch&Meet was created for a few reasons,” PFI representative Olga Domżała told Cineuropa. “Since 2016, the PFI has been running a separate subsidy programme for minority co-productions, and taking part in Pitch&Meet is meant to encourage international producers to work with Poland. That is why the award of €100,000 can be handed to a winner only after it has found a Polish partner and has submitted a valid application to the PFI. We also wanted to create an interesting networking platform for international film professionals visiting industry events at the Warsaw Film Festival, the only Polish class-A festival,” Domżała added.

The other new event, organised as part of the Warsaw Industry Days by the Ślesicki Foundation, Doc Lab Poland, presented 14 documentary film projects at different stages of production. 2017 also marked the first Polish edition of First Cut Lab – a closed workshop for Polish filmmakers presenting rough cuts of their upcoming films to the invited film experts. Agnieszka Smoczyńska (The Lure [+see also:
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) showed The Fugue, and Olga Chajdas showed off her debut feature, Nina. The event was organised by the PFI with the support of the Warsaw Film Festival. 

Warsaw Works-in-Progress, on the other hand, presented four Polish projects (including majority co-productions) in the final phases of production: Via Carpatia by Klara Kochańska and Kasper BajonEthiopiques – Revolt of the Soul by Maciej Bochniak, 53 wars by Ewa Bukowska and the family animation Fatima by Bartek Kik.

The Warsaw Screenings, a programme well known to Warsaw’s industry attendees, which showcases new Polish films in order to boost their international promotion, presented seven features (Robert Gliński’s Be PreparedDenjjal Hasanovic’s CatalinaUrszula Antoniak’s Beyond Words [+see also:
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interview: Urszula Antoniak
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Andrzej Jakimowski’s Once Upon a Time in November [+see also:
interview: Andrzej Jakimowski
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, Bodo Kox’s The Man with the Magic Box [+see also:
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, Wojciech Klimala’s Hugo and Juliusz Machulski’s Volta) and three shorts (Maciej Stuhr’s Silence of the Polish LambsJulia Zborowska’s Virgin Woods and Justyna Mytnik’s How to Become a Pope). One-on-one meetings and networking events brought this part of the Warsaw Industry Days to a close.

The industry programme also included Warsaw Next workshops targeted at young filmmakers, who had an opportunity to learn more about the industry during meetings with established producers, sales agents and film festival programmers. The separate FIPRESCI Warsaw Critics Project programme was aimed at aspiring film writers from Eastern Europe, while the general public was able to attend Open Workshop: The Art of Editing, which saw director Urszula Antoniak and editor Milenia Fiedler discuss their film Beyond Words.

Next year’s edition of the Warsaw Industry Days will be held from 18-20 October 2018. 

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