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WARSAW 2018 Industry

REPORT: Warsaw Works in Progress 2018

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- Six films from Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Estonia were presented to an audience of film professionals at the Warsaw Industry Days

REPORT: Warsaw Works in Progress 2018
The pitch for I Am Lying Now by Pawel Borowski

As part of the Warsaw Industry Days (WID) at the 34th Warsaw International Film Festival, this year’s edition of Works in Progress showcased six new films from Eastern Europe. Giving an audience of film professionals, including distributors, festival programmers and sales agents, an exclusive preview of upcoming features – three of which come from Poland, and one film each from Ukraine, Russia and Estonia – the pitching session was held in the Warsaw Cinematheque at the Palace of Culture and Science on 19 October. 

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Mostly in search of international sales, distribution, completion funding or festival programming for their world premieres, the films had a good chance of finding a match after their presentations, opined Małgorzata Dochniak, head of the WID, noting, “It’s been working out in the past few years.”

Supported by the Polish Film Institute, the main partner of the WID, this year’s film selection encompassed a variety of subjects, from a story set on a Ukrainian Navy ship to another set in a park in Japan, the narrative strands of which are interwoven with Japanese traditional Haiku poetry. In Dochniak’s view, this is the “main strength of this year’s programme, as everyone can find something for themselves”.

The first presentation was that of the Ukrainian-Polish movie about the crew of a Ukrainian Navy ship during the Russian invasion of Crimea. In Cherkasy by director Timur Yashchenko, the crew is trying to return to port as the crisis begins. They discover that the port has been lost to the invasion but refuse to surrender, as it would go against the navy’s code of honour. Cherkasy is planned for a 2019 release and is being produced by MKK film service and Intermedia. 

The second film presented was the Polish-Dutch dystopian film noir I Am Lying Now, directed by Pawel Borowski (Zero) and produced by Opus Film (Ida [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Pawel Pawlikowski
interview: Pawel Pawlikowski
film profile
]
). The film will explore the concept of fake news through the story of a fictional TV show. Maja Ostaszewska (Body [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Malgorzata Szumowska
interview: Malgorzata Szumowska
film profile
]
), Rafał Maćkowiak (The Sun, the Sun Blinded Me [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Anka and Wilhelm Sasnal
film profile
]
) and Agata Buzek (High Life [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Claire Denis
film profile
]
) have been cast in the movie.

The Polish big-budget historical battle drama Legions, directed by Dariusz Gajewski (Strange Heaven [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), is scheduled for cinematic release in 2019. Set at the beginning of the 20th century, when Poland is spread across three different countries, it explores the rise of the Polish national consciousness and its part in forming the independently organised Polish Legions. It is being staged by Picaresque.

With a budget of only 3 million PLN (approximately €700,000), Polish first-time director Monika Jordan-Młodzianowska and production company Autograf have finished shooting The Iron Bridge, inspired by the real-life rescue of miners trapped underground. Julia Kijowska (Nina [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Via Carpatia [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Klara Kochańska
film profile
]
, Strawberry Days [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) and Łukasz Simlat (Fugue [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Agnieszka Smoczyńska
film profile
]
, Amok [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, United States of Love [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Tomasz Wasilewski
film profile
]
) star in the film.

An untitled Aleksandr Rastorguyev project (budgeted at €150,000) is being made by several directors in Russia. The Russian documentary filmmaker, who also produced My Friend Boris Nemtsov [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, was killed in South Africa while uncovering a story about a Russian military company. The film, still in the early stages of production (staged by Tvindie Film Production), will be accompanied by a webdoc and is open to finding co-producers. 

The film with the working title Yoyogi Haiku, directed by first-time Estonian director Max Golomidov, explores the Japanese tradition of contemplation in Yoyogi Park in Tokyo. Still in development, the project, which is receiving a development award from the Estonian Film Institute, is being produced by Volia Chajkouskaya, of Volia Films, and Ivo Felt (Scary Mother [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ana Urushadze
film profile
]
, Tangerines [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), of Allfilm. It is looking for sales agents, distributors, pre-sales and festivals. 

For the second year in a row, the Warsaw Industry Days project CentEast was not funded by Creative Europe. Last year, the organisers therefore focused exclusively on Polish films, and this year, the platform expanded to include other countries. “We are always very happy when the projects return to the festival as feature films [in the official programme],” said Małgorzata Dochniak.

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