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Women Directors From Europe on Their Foreign-Language Films

Women Directors From Europe on Their Foreign-Language Films
With a record 27 women behind the 92 foreign-language film submissions, Variety posed the same questions to a selection of directors about their experiences. What was your biggest obstacle in making the film? What was the key to your breakthrough? What is your creative goal? Who are your filmmaking heroes? What would you like the world to know about being a woman film director and the message you want to send? Here are their stories.

Anahit Abad

Yeva” (Armenia)

“Funding the project is the biggest obstacle, just like for most filmmakers who are trying to make their first film. Particularly, I can say that some of the most important obstacles I faced during the production of my film are being a woman, being of Armenian descent and of course, the fact that I am shorter than average.

“With all the financial obstacles, the fact that I was raised in the Iranian cinema and the location was somehow unfamiliar … I used
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Roman Polanski Joins Leading Polish Filmmakers at Cannes Celebration

Roman Polanski Joins Leading Polish Filmmakers at Cannes Celebration
The Polish Film Institute and the Polish Filmmakers Assn. hosted a party, titled Polish Cinema Opening Night, at the Cannes Film Festival this week to celebrate the achievements of Polish cinema.

Among the guests at La Plage Du Rado were Polish filmmakers Roman Polanski, Agnieszka Holland, Krzysztof Zanussi and Jerzy Skolimowski. The event followed a screening of Andrzej Wajda’s “Man of Iron” in Cannes Classics.

Other guests included Polish filmmakers Malgorzata Szumowska and Tomasz Wasilewski, Oscar-winning producer Ewa Puszczynska, the European Film Academy’s director Marion Doering, and Piers Handling, director and chief executive officer of Toronto Film Festival.

The hosts were Magdalena Sroka, the general director the Polish Film Institute, and Jacek Bromski, the president of the Polish Filmmakers Assn. They were joined by Andrzej Szumowski, president of the Polish Vodka Assn. and a senior executive at Wyborowa, the event’s sponsors.

Directors Malgorzata Szumowska, Jerzy Skolimowski, and Agnieszka Holland,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Poland Grows Filmmakers Catering to Audiences With Mainstream Hits

Poland Grows Filmmakers Catering to Audiences With Mainstream Hits
Polish Cinema is best known for its auteurs — Agnieszka Holland, Roman Polanski, Krzysztof Zanussi, Krzysztof Kieslowski and Andrzej Wajda come to mind — but its industry also produces mainstream box office hits.

Last year, five local films were among Poland’s top 10 grossers, including the year’s champ, writer-director Patryk Vega’s “Pitbull: Tough Women,” with $14 million, and Polish pics nabbed 25% of the total admissions. The hyper-realistically violent “Pitbull” franchise also spawned a second pic in the top 10 last year, Vega’s “Pitbull. New Orders,” with $7.1 million in fifth place on the year-end B.O. chart.

Michal Oleszczyk, Polish film critic and academic, praises Vega for creating a genre of his own, based on his TV show, “spinning a large-scale gangster yarn into what is the closest thing to a big-scale cult hit Poland has seen in decades.”

He adds: “Vega’s signature mix of fast action, highly profane, slang-ridden
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Fajr International Film Festival Tehran 35th Anniversary this April

Fajr International Film Festival Tehran 35th Anniversary this April
Following the Persian New Year of Nowruz * arrive the eight days of the festival where the last works of great filmmakers such as Andrzej Wajda, Cristian Mongiu, Dardenne brothers, Denis Tanovic, Francois Ozon, Sion Sono, Agnieszka Holland, Aki Kaurismaki, Terrence Malick, Ken Loach and three Iranian Masters of Cinema will screen along with several special sidebars.

For the first time in Fajr International Film Festival, Shadow of Horror Midnight Screenings will host six horror films screening, every night at 11:30 pm in a program designed to entice an unaccustomed Iranian audience’s attention to this genre. Five of the features are from South Korea, Japan, Russia, Poland and Mexico. The sixth, an Iranian feature will have its International Premiere.

At least 68 students from 32 countries as well as 52 students from Iran are to take part in the inspiring, educational film making workshops of the 2017 Fajr. The program is called “Darol Fonoun
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Berlinale: Polish Party at the Academie Lounge (Photo Gallery)

Berlinale: Polish Party at the Academie Lounge (Photo Gallery)
Agnieszka Holland, the director of Berlinale competition film “Spoor,” attended the Polish Party at the Academie Lounge in Berlin on Friday, accompanied by the film’s stars Agnieszka Mandat (right) and Jakub Gierszal.

They were joined by Borys Szyc, another actor from “Spoor,” and Olga Tokarczuk, who penned the film’s script, adapting from her novel, “Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead.”

Other guests at the event, hosted by Magdalena Sroka, director of the Polish Film Institute, included Krzysztof Zanussi, film director, producer, and head of Tor Studio, actress Zofia Wichlacz (“Afterimage”), who was selected as a Shooting Star this year, and Sebastian Lach, an actor from “Erlprince,” which plays in the Berlinale’s Generation section.

Magdalena Sroka, Agnieszka Holland (Photo: Courtesy of Polish Film Institute)

Zofia Wichlacz (Photo: Courtesy of Polish Film Institute)

Marion Doering (Photo: Courtesy of Polish Film Institute)

Krzysztof Zanussi (Photo: Courtesy of Polish Film Institute)

Jakub Gierszal,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Ken Loach: "The barbarians are at the door"

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Ken Loach:
Speaking at the European Film Awards, UK director calls for “collective voice” among European industry.

Veteran UK filmmaker Ken Loach delivered an impassioned keynote on the subject of European solidarity and Brexit after the European Film Academy’s general assembly on Saturday morning (10 Dec) in Wroclaw.

Voicing similar sentiments to those expressed during a speech given before the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education in October, Loach asked: ¨Is it true that the European Union doesn’t stand for the interests of the people, but for the interests of big corporations, that it has been a central contributing factor to the British leaving and to the problems we see around us…or is [the EU] a benign organisation which will work for the benefit of the people - or is it working against the interests of the people?¨

The two-time Palme d’Or winner argued that it was “not enough” for European filmmakers to make ¨humane, thoughtful
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Andrzej Wajda, Celebrated Polish Director, Dies at 90

Andrzej Wajda, Celebrated Polish Director, Dies at 90
Renowned Polish director Andrzej Wajda died Sunday in Warsaw after a short illness. He was 90. His death was confirmed by the Associated Press and Polish media outlets.

Though best known in the U.S. for his realistic WWII trilogy “A Generation,” “Kanal,” and “Ashes and Diamonds” from the late 1950s, the always controversial and politically vital filmmaker continued working into the 21st century and was considered Poland’s preeminent filmmaker. His latest film, the biopic “Afterimage,” had recently been selected as Poland’s foreign language Oscar submission. In 2000 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences honored Wajda with an honorary Oscar in recognition of a lifetime of work.

Through his bold use of imagery, Wajda was able to circumvent state censors during the Cold War years and create stinging indictments of war and political oppression in the postwar years.

Poland’s history under the Soviet Union was the basis for
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Agnieszka Holland, Bodo Kox present projects at Polish Days

  • ScreenDaily
Agnieszka Holland, Bodo Kox present projects at Polish Days
Projects from directors Bodo Kox and Adrian Panek are also being introduced.

Projects by Agnieszka Holland [pictured], Bodo Kox and Adrian Panek are among the films being presented at this week’s Polish Days during the T Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival in Wroclaw (July 21-31).

Holland’s dark comedy-thriller Game Count, which she bills as “No Country For Old Women¨, is one of nine titles in the Works in Progress showcase.

The $3.9m (€3.5m) co-production between Krzysztof Zanussi’s Tor Film Studio and Germany’s Heimatfilm will be distributed internationally by Beta Cinema.

Polish Days’ international audience of sales agents, distributors and festival programmers were also treated to the first footage from Kasia Adamik’s thriller Amok and Dorota Kobiela’s animated drama Loving Vincent as well as from two films which will be featured in Locarno’s First Look works in progress sidebar next week: Maciej Pieprzyca’s psychological thriller I’m A Killer (which
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Poland’s Film Biz Builds on Decade of Growth at B.O. and Festivals

Poland’s Film Biz Builds on Decade of Growth at B.O. and Festivals
The Polish film industry has continued to strengthen in the past year, both artistically and commercially, building on a decade of growth. The coming year looks promising, too, with a string of ambitious movies in the pipeline.

February provided one indicator of the good health of the Polish biz. On the one hand, Tomasz Wasilewski’s relationship drama “United States of Love” won the script prize at the Berlin Film Festival, and on the other, Mitja Okorn’s romantic comedy “Planet Single” beat “Deadpool” to top the Polish box office. It is this ability to be audience-, critic- and festival-friendly that has helped the Polish industry to push on year after year, and that is largely due to the support provided by the Polish Film Institute and the regional film funds.

Magdalena Sroka, who took over as general director of the Polish Film Institute in October and describes it as the local industry’s “heart,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Power and Resistance: Andrzej Żuławski’s "On the Silver Globe"

  • MUBI
“There is in every one of us, even those who seem to be most moderate, a type of desire that is terrible, wild, and lawless.”—The Republic, Book IX 572bWhat’s the best way to describe the mania of an Andrzej Żuławski film? William Grimes, eulogizing Żuławski for The New York Times chose “emotionally savage.” J. Hoberman used “hyperkinetic,” “frenzied,” and “‘awful’ in its root sense of inspiring dread. Daniel Bird, writing about the most recent Lincoln Center screenings in New York, chose “deeply disturbing.” These descriptors make perfect sense after experiencing a Żuławski film, but I’ve never been able to sell his films to a newcomer this way. How could I? They’re much too primal for adjectives in our delicate English language, crafted to communicate Enlightenment-era ideas in a pleasing series of vibrations. The intensity of this director’s films could only be described in some sort of ancient Lovecraftian squelching,
See full article at MUBI »

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2016: #34. Agnieszka Holland’s Game Count

Game Count

Director: Agnieszka Holland

Writers: Agnieszka Holland, Olga Tokarczuk

Polish auteur Agnieszka Holland, once the protégé of Krzysztof Zanussi, is still best remembered for early 90s titles such as Europa Europa (1990) and her Arthur Rimbaud biopic starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Total Eclipse (1993). Her last feature was 2011’s In Darkness, nominated for Best Foreign Language film that year, and she’s been steadily working in television, from the superb mini-series “Burning Bush,” to English language items such as episodes of “House of Cards,” and the t.v. treatment of “Rosemary’s Baby.” She’s been attempting to adapt famed Polish novelist Olga Tokarzuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead for several years, and phases of filmmaking have commenced on her adaptation, known as Game Count and co-written by Tokarzuk. Filming is supposed to wrap in late 2015/early 2016 on what’s described as a crime thriller with comedic
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Jailed Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov could be traded in prisoner exchange

  • ScreenDaily
Jailed Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov could be traded in prisoner exchange
The possibility of a prisoner exchange has been mooted ahead of the Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov’s appeal against his 20-year sentence before Russia’s Supreme Court tomorrow (Nov 24).

According to a report by the Ukrainian website joinfo.ua, Yuri Grabovsky, the lawyer of one of two Russians captured in the Luhansk region last May, told the TV channel 24 that Sentsov and political activist Oleksandr Kolchenko might be exchanged for his client Alexander Alexandrov and Evgeny Evrofeev.

“It will definitely not be [the detained Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda] Savchenko. From what we heard, the discussion was only about Sentsov and Kolchenko,” Grabovsky said, suggesting that the chances of an exchange taking place were at 50:50.

Earlier this month, the Russian Defence Ministry had confirmed that Alexandrov and Evrofeev had not been Russian servicemen at the time of their detention, but were in the service of the militants of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic.

Filmmakers implore Mikhalkov to act

The impending appeal
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Movie Poster of the Week: The Art of Franciszek Starowieyski

  • MUBI
Above: Franciszek Starowieyski’s 1970 poster for Mademoiselle (Tony Richardson, UK/France, 1966).In Christopher Nolan’s new short film about the Quay Brothers (titled—with Nolan’s predilection for mono-nomenclature—simply Quay) he gives us a clue to some of the twin animators’ influences in the film’s opening shots. After drawing back the curtains in their curiosity shop of a studio, Timothy Quay opens a glass cupboard to remove a book. Blink and you’ll miss it, but on the shelves are books on Marcel Duchamp, Spanish sculptor Juan Muñoz, Czech artists Jan Zrzavy, Vlastislav Hofman and Jindrich Heisler, and—most prominently—a book on Polish artist Franciszek Starowieyski.I wrote a few years ago about the Quays’ love of Polish film posters and Franciszek Starowieyski (1930-2009) is one of the indisputable later masters of the Polish school. From the mid 50s until the late 80s he produced some 100 film
See full article at MUBI »

European Filmmakers Call on Putin to Release Ukrainian Filmmaker Oleg Sentsov

European Filmmakers Call on Putin to Release Ukrainian Filmmaker Oleg Sentsov
Sarajevo, Bosnia — A group of prominent European filmmakers, including Wim Wenders, Stephen Daldry, Agnieszka Holland and Mike Leigh, has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to order the release of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, whose trial resumes in Russia today.

Sentsov, who is accused of having committed “crimes of a terrorist nature,” faces up to 20 years in prison. The prosecution’s main witness has retracted his statement, but the trial continues nonetheless.

The letter states that the filmmakers have been “deeply worried” since Sentsov was arrested by Russia’s Federal Security Service (Fsb), the successor to the Kgb, in his house in Simferopol, Crimea, on May 11, 2014. It adds: “Having observed the trial and especially the fact that the key witness for the prosecution has retracted his testimony as ‘given under pressure and duress,’ we are shocked that the accusation of Oleg Sentsov having committed ‘crimes of a terrorist nature’ is still being upheld.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Magdalena Sroka Appointed New Head of Polish Film Institute

Cultural manager and producer Magdalena Sroka will replace Agnieszka Odorowicz as the new Head of the Polish Film Institute starting October 3, 2015. Agnieszka Odorowicz is stepping down after 10 years as head of Pisf which is the longest period a director can serve under the statutes of the organization.

Magdalena Sroka was unanimously recommended to the Minister of Culture and National Heritage by a special committee created by Małgorzata Omilanowska and consisting of film professionals including: Agnieszka Holland, Borys Lankosz, Juliusz Machulski, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, Andrzej Fidyk, Olgierd Łukaszewicz, Roman Gutek, Katarzyna Janowska, Jakub Szurmiej and Robert Kijak.

"One of the key elements in my presentation was to showcase the role and significance of the regional film funds and local film commissions and how cooperation with the Polish Film Institute could help them develop. I also presented my ideas on how to introduce legislative reforms that will facilitate the activities of regional funds and film funds and how we should implement the new European directives on public commissions that will take effect in 2016", Sroka said during the recruitment process.

A Jagiellonian University graduate in 2003, Magdalena Sroka was a part of the Krakow Festival Office 2000. She was responsible for several cultural projects organized when Krakow was the European Capital of Culture in 2000, including the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, the Opera Film Festival and Crossroads Festival Krakow. In 2008-2010 she was the Director of theKrakow Festival Office. She is also one of the creators of Krakow Film Commission, the Krakow Regional Film Fund and the Polish Culture Congress. She is currently the Deputy President of Krakow for Culture and Promotion.
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Poland Selects Magdalena Sroka to Lead Film Institute

Poland Selects Magdalena Sroka to Lead Film Institute
London — The Polish Film Institute, which backed Oscar winner “Ida” and Berlin Silver Bear winner “Body,” has a new chief. Magdalena Sroka will take over in October from Agnieszka Odorowicz, who steps down after 10 years at the helm.

Sroka was appointed by Minister of Culture and National Heritage Malgorzata Omilanowska, following a recommendation by a committee of film professionals, whose members included Agnieszka Holland, Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Zanussi.

During Sroka’s pitch for the job, she emphasized “the role and significance of the regional film funds and local film commissions and how cooperation with the Polish Film Institute could help them develop,” she told Film New Europe.

Sroka is serving as deputy mayor of Krakow, where she is responsible for culture and promotion. Sroka was responsible for several cultural projects that took place when Krakow was the “European Capital of Culture” in 2000. From 2008-2010 she was the director of the Krakow Festival Office,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Odessa presents new projects by Slaboshpytskiy, Mansky, Bartas

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New film from The Tribe director among projects at Odessa.

New films by award-winning Ukrainian director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy (The Tribe), documentary filmmaker Vitaly Mansky (Pipeline) and Lithuania’s Sharunas Bartas (Freedom) are among over two dozen projects being presented at the Odessa International Film Festival’s industry section, the Film Industry Office (Fio, July 14-17).

Bartas’ drama Frost, which is being structured as a co-production between Ukraine, Lithuania and France, tells the story of a young Lithuanian’s experiences as he drives his truck with humanitarian aid from Vilnius to Ukraine.

The $936,000 (€850,000) production by Odessa-based Truman Production is one of ten feature film projects competing for a prize to be judged by a jury made up of the producers Guillaume de Seille, Raymond van der Kaaij and Anna Katchko as well as Meetings on the Bridge chief Gülin Üstün.

The pitching line-up this year ranges from Sebastian Saam’s black comedy-thriller Midnight In Uman (working title) through
See full article at ScreenDaily »

'For Some Inexplicable Reason' wins Grand Prix at Voices

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Germany’s Burhan Qurbani wins best director prize for We Are Strong. We Are Young.

Gábor Reisz’s slacker comedy For Some Inexplicable Reason won the Grand Prix winner at the 6th edition of the Voices festival for young European cinema in the Russian provincial town of Vologda on Sunday evening (July 5).

Reisz’s debut had its world premiere in the East of the West competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival last year and is handled internationally by Alpha Violet.

The award was the film’s ninth trophy after prizes at festivals in Turin and Sofia, among others.

Speaking to ScreenDaily in Vologda, Reisz said that his film’s lead actor - fellow directing student Áron Ferenczik - had been overhelmed by the attention given to him for his acting turn as the slacker Áron, but is now preparing to direct a TV movie.

Reisz, meanwhile, is participating in the Cinéfondation residency in Paris and will
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Polish Cinema Classics – review

(Marek Piwowski, Krzysztof Zanussi, Wojciech Marczewski, 1970-1981; Second Run, 15)

This latest collection of key Polish films come from a decade that began with a relaxation of censorship and ended with the brutal clampdown that accompanied the suppression of Solidarity, the independent, non-governmental trade union, in a Gdańsk shipyard and the introduction of martial law in 1981. Each is accompanied by a booklet to put them in their historical context, and all three attack from different angles the communist regime in a period represented by what came to be called “the cinema of moral anxiety”.

Now widely regarded as Poland’s first cult movie, Marek Piwowski’s The Cruise (1970) is a broad satire on the absurdity of the whole communist system. It’s set on a pleasure steamer chugging down the Vistula and is clearly inspired by Gogol’s 1836 comedy The Government Inspector. In the play the mayor of a provincial town
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »
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