Wrocław's renowned New Horizons Film Festival has suffered a major blow due to title sponsors T-Mobile choosing not to renew their current deal.
The same mobile phone company have sponsored the New Horizons Film festival for over a decade (although under various different guises, e.g. Era, which T-Mobile took over in 2011).
T-Mobile have been asked to explain their decision not to renew their sponsorship agreement. However the mobile network giant have so far refused to comment.
The news has left the organisers of the festival frantically searching for a sponsor to help fund next summer's event. This has sparked fears that the 2018 festival could have to be downscaled.
The director of the New Horizons Film Festival, Roman Gutek, has nonetheless sought to reassure film fans by stressing that "The future of the festival is certainly not under threat."
In an interview published in Gazeta Wyborcza, Gutek bullishly declared that it was a "good time" to be looking for a new sponsor. He emphasised that this year's festival had attracted record crowds, while the reputation of the event is as good as it ever has been.
That said, Gutek's comments on crowdfunding did somewhat contradict his optimism about finding a new sponsor of T-Mobile's ilk.
"I'm thinking about crowdfunding. If you run it early, there is a chance that some of the funds can be accumulated in this way."
Roman Gutek, director of the New Horizons Film Festival
Gazeta Wyborcza estimate that T-Mobile spent almost 2 milliion zł per year to sponsor the event, a sum that represents a significant chunk of the film festival's 5 million zł budget. Despite the festival's popularity and stature, it could be tough to find another sponsor prepared to pay as much.
The New Horizons Film Festival is a celebration of cinema from around the world, with the focus primarily on independent, art house movies. The festival creates excellent opportunities for people to meet, discuss and exchange ideas, find co-producers and discover new talent. According to the organisers, more than 600 film professionals visit the festival every year. As well as film, the festival also incorporates a variety of alternative music, with live dj sets performed at the picturesque courtyard inside the military museum.
The festival is of course hosted inside Wrocław's centrally located arthouse cinema, Kino Nowe Horyzonty. The iconic venue, which is run by the same people who organise the festival, has been screening the best mainstream and independent cinema in Wrocław since 2011.
Fans of the cinema will be hoping there is no domino effect sparked by T-Mobile decision. Some fear that impending financial problems, potentially exacerbated by the arrival of Cinema's City IMAX, could eventually push the culture-rich venue to wall.
We certainly hope it will never happen. So fingers crossed for the 2018 New Horizons Film Festival!