The Next Great Crop of American Indies Might Come From This Polish Film Festival

American independent cinema has gone through several generations since the end of the 1990s. The accelerated evolution might mirror the technological advances of the past 20 years, from the easy availability of early, consumer-grade digital cameras to the ubiquity of streaming platforms, as well as new social networks and the rising impact of regional film festivals.

You can put all that in perspective by spending a week in, of all places, Wrocław, Poland, where the ninth edition of the American Film Festival concluded this fall. The festival thoughtfully reframes highlights from the preceding year’s run of major (and minor) film gatherings, cherry-picking selections out of Sundance, South by Southwest, Tribeca, and others, as well as more multiplex-friendly items getting a premium introduction to the Polish market.

But the festival isn’t a rehash. While accounting for work along an auteurist arc from Frederick Wiseman to Alex Ross Perry (“Her Smell
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