During the event, young directors and producers from Europe learned about the mechanisms of the international film market, the accent being especially put on production, promotion and distribution. During two days, and in small groups, they discussed their projects and career plans with experts and were also trained to pitch their projects. In that regard, the aim of the New Horizons Studio is to raise awareness of the pitch in a film pre-production process and it offered training in pitching to 24 participants from all over Europe. According to Joanna Łapińska, the head of the New Horizons Studio and the artistic director of the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival, the program wants to show the participants that “while the international film business may seem inaccessible and closed, it’s actually waiting for [them] with numerous opportunities”.
The selected participants were Emilie Aussel (France), Marta Bacewicz, Ana Brzezińska, Ben Brand (Holland), Kacper Czubak, Marcin Dudziak, Marija Fridinovaite (Romania), Marcin Filipowicz, Jasiek Gorący, Marta Habior, Cristi Iftime (Romania), Grzegorz Jaroszuk, Karolina Kołtun, Michał Korynek, Michal Kráčmer (Czech Rep.), Justyna Mytnik, Magdalena Puzmujźniak, Margarida Rego (Portugal), Beata Rzeźniczek, Wojtek Stuchlik, Michał Szcześniak, Giedrius Tamosevicius (Lithuanina), Fritz Urschitz (Austria) and Vladilen Vierny (France).
The best pitch was awarded with a package offered by the London Film Academy and postproduction services from CeTa, an audiovisual technology center based in Wrocław. This year, the team made up of Wojtek Stuchlik, Beata Rzeźniczek and Ben Brand won the pitching competition.
The following speakers shared their know-how with the New Horizons Studio participants: David Pope and Gavin Humphries of the London Film Academy, James Mullighan of the Cork Film Festival, producers Raymond Phathanavirangoon and Guillaume de Seille, the distribution consultant Beatrice Naumann, Katarzyna Karwan of Premium Films, and, last but not least Ewa Puszczyńska, the producer of the Academy Award winning film Ida. From the point of view of the co-founder and joint principal of the London Film Academy and founder of Lfa productions, Anna MacDonald, these industry professionals “are among the best in their fields.”
James Mullighan, one of the aforementioned participating experts stated that the New Horizons Studio “is one of the best organized and most potent film talent development events [he has] ever come across.” According to him, it “ brings together the most important new voices in Poland and beyond, and provides them with a safe place to develop their projects, and then show them to the global industry .”
Moreover, the program included an insightful masterclass by Magnus von Horn and Mariusz Włodarski, the director-producer team of "The Here After," the Polish-Swedish coproduction that premiered in Cannes’s Directors’ Fortnight earlier this year and was screened at the festival. The masterclass was the highlight of the event. Magnus von Horn was born in Sweden and graduated from the Polish National Film School in Łódź. He described "The Here After’s" genesis and how his debut film got selected in Cannes while Mariusz Włodarski shared his experience of working on the project, his role as a producer in the film’s success and the marketing strategy he has planned for it. In fact, "The Here After" is a fruit of the friendship between Magnus and Mariusz who started working together during their studies, getting to know each other and each other’s working methods.
Over the past five years, these workshops have already trained more than 100 graduates from Poland and abroad. Thanks to the involvement of the national cultural institutes this year’s list of participants included - besides 16 Polish filmmakers - 9 people from Austria, Czech Republic, Holland, France, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania. This training program was organized by the New Horizons Association, the London Film Academy and the Creative Europe Desk Poland with the support of the Lithuanian Film Center, the Cinessonne Festival in Paris, the Czech Center, the Embassy of the Netherlands, the Instituto Camoes, the Romanian Cultural Institute and the Austrian Cultural Forum in Warsaw. In Łapińska’s opinion, this group “ has worked together for several years” and is, in her view, “a fantastic force backing the New Horizons Studio”.