Wrocław’s American Film Festival Kicks Off Next Week

Wrocław's annual American Film Festival returns to the city on October 24th, bringing with it 93 screenings of classic and contemporary US cinema. 

Fifty-six of the screenings at the five day festival will be Polish premieres, while Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Rosanna Arquette will also make an apperance in order to pick up her Indie Star Award. 

For more info on the festival, please refer to the official press release included below: 

The 8th American Film Festival will take place in Wrocław on 24-29 October 2017. This year’s edition, held at New Horizons Cinema, includes 93 feature films: 56 of them will be shown in Poland for the first time, 4 are international premieres, and 4 other are European premieres.

Since the beginning of its existence. AFF has presented the full spectrum of American filmmaking: documentaries, features and experimental movies, works by the masters as well as independent filmmakers. Apart from the American classics, you can watch films by young directors, presenting a picture of the U.S. that European viewers are unfamiliar with, which is surprising and so much different from common perceptions.

The festival is to launch on 24 October with a romantic comedy, a box office hit in American cinemas and the revelation of this year’s Sundance festival, The Big Sick by Michael Showalter. The last day of the festival (29 October) will see a screening of Alexander Payne’s science-fiction satire Downsizing, starring a 13 cm Matt Damon, which was very well received at the Venice festival.

There will also be plenty of films from the Mecca of American indie cinema – the Sundance Film Festival. AFF audiences will be able to watch the winners of that festival’s most important awards: Crown Heights by Matt Ruskin (Audience Award: American Drama), Beach Rats by Eliza Hittman (Best Director ), TheYellow Birds (Best Cinematography), Dina by Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini (Grand Jury Prize: Documentary), or Novitiate by Maggie Betts (Award for Breakthrough Director). It will also be possible to see the sensual drama by Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name, which was so well-received at Sundance and other festivals (its European premiere took place during the Berlinale festival), Beatriz at Dinner, which comments on the position of the privileged classes in the U.S., featuring the marvelousSalma Hayek, as well as the debaucherous The Little Hours, a story of sexually demanding and foul-mouthed medieval nuns, starring Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza.

The program also includes popular productions which, having been shown at the biggest festivals in the world, made it to Wrocław. Many of them stand a real chance of being nominated for Oscars. The AFF will feature movies already known from Cannes: Killing Of a Sacred Deer by Yorgos Lanthimos, starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell, The Florida Project by Sean Baker with an outstanding performance of Willem Dafoe, You Were Never Really Here by Lynne Ramsay, which has won the Best Screenplay award and the Best Actor award for Joaquin Phoenix, as well as Good Time by the Safdie brothers, presenting an entirely different face of Robert Pattison. Another position worth paying attention to is The Promised Land, a documentary by Eugene Jarecki – an exceptional road movie, looking at changes in the U.S. through the prism of Elvis Presley’s life and career. Wrocław will also see a controversial thriller by Darren Aronofsky – mother! and the latest production by George Clooney (based on a script by the Coen brothers) – Suburbicon, both of which come straight from their premieres in Venice.

Visiting Wrocław following their successes at Telluride and Toronto festivals, we have Battle of the Sexes by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, a comedy-drama about a famous tennis match, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, and the controversial The Disaster Artist by James Franco, which is a story of one of the allegedly worst directors of all times – Tommy Wiseau, portrayed by Franco himself. Another likely Academy Award darling is Stronger by David Gordon Greene with Jake Gyllenhaal, playing the part of a bomb attack victim during the Boston Marathon in 2013, which was screened at the AFF two years ago.

The American Film Festival has two premiere competition sections: Spectrum, which is a panorama of contemporary American cinema (13 films) and American Docs, which includes the season’s leading documentaries, showing the various faces of America (10 films). The films, judged by the audience, will compete for awards in two categories: feature and documentary. Prizes in both competitions, worth $10,000 and $5,000, are sponsored by BNY Mellon. For the first time ever, this year’s edition of the festival will host the Ale kino+ Competition. From among 10 titles selected by the most loyal festival viewers , the jury will choose three films to be broadcast at Ale kino cable station within the next few months.

The honorary guest of this year’s AFF will be Golden Globes and Emmy nominee and BAFTA laureate, Rosanna Arquette. The film star will come to Wrocław to receive the Indie Star Award, which she won this year, honoring outstanding creators of the independent American cinema. The festival will see the premiere of Arquette’s latest film – Maya Dardel, a USA/Poland co-production by Magdalena Zyzak and Zachary Cotler.

This year’s AFF edition will be topped off with a Samuel Fuller retrospective – the creator of such noir classics as Shock Corridor (1963) and The Naked Kiss (1964). That uncompromising artist still remains the true master of many contemporary cinema magicians, including Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino or Jim Jarmusch. Seven movies will be screened as part of his retrospective, including a documentary devoted to the artist – A Fuller Life (2013), directed by the director’s daughter – Samantha Fuller, who will come to Wrocław with Fuller’s mother, muse and actress – Christa.

The American Film Festival is also an extremely important event for the industry. During the US in Progress series of closed screenings, four selected U.S. feature films will be presented: Ghost Box Cowboy by John Maringouin, Honky Kong by Stephen Gurewitz, Jules of Light and Dark by Daniel Laabs, and One Man Dies a Million Times by Jessica Oreck. The best projects will be awarded prizes funded by the US in Progress partners. Thanks to the support of the Polish Film Institute, for the first time in history, the festival will host the Polish-American Co-production Meetings, aimed at Polish producers seeking partners from the US. Four selected Polish producers will pitch their project ideas to US producers and investors: Neon Tears by Karolina Bielawska, Lipstick on the Glass by Kuba Czekaj, Pilot 9/1 by Norman Leto, A Film Odyssey by Piotr Stasik, while 10 other producers will meet American investors, experts and potential co-producers during less formal meetings.

The complete festival program, including a calendar of screenings and film descriptions will be available at www.americanfilmfestival.pl from October 11 at 12 noon.

Festival passes will be available through 15 October 2017 at www.americanfilmfestival.pl

Online tickets sale and pre-sale of tickets at ticket offices of New Horizons Cinema (Kazimierza Wielkiego 19a – 21) begins on 17 October at 9 AM.

About Gregor Gowans

Gregor Gowans
The founder and editor of Wroclaw Uncut, Gregor has been running the website since its inception in 2012. A Wroclawian for almost 10 years, Gregor writes on a wide variety of topics including, food & drink, nightlife, local news and politics. He is also a regular guest on Radio Ram's Sunday lunch programme.