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Polish Days, Wroclaw: industry highlights

New projects revealed, including thriller described as “David Lynch meets Ken Loach”.

New films by internationally feted Polish filmmakers Jan Komasa, Kuba Czekaj and Dorota Kedzierzawska were among 20 projects presented to sales agents, distributors and festival programmers at the sixth edition of the Polish Days (8-10 August) during this week’s New Horizons International Film Festival in Wroclaw.

Komasa - who made his feature debut with Suicide Room - and his producer Leszek Bodzak of Aurum Film (The Last Family) pitched the contemporary social drama Corpus Christi which is based on screenwriter Mateusz Pacewicz’s first screenplay for cinema.

The €1m project is being structured as a Polish-French co-production and will begin principal photography in spring 2018.

Bodzak also presented a second  feature project, Borys Lankosz’s thriller Dark, Almost Night, which he described as “David Lynch meets Ken Loach”, to begin shooting this autumn with The Last Family’s Dawid Ogrodnik and Aleksandra Konieczna in the cast. Kino Swiat is already in place for Polish distribution.

Meanwhile, Centrala’s Pawel Kosun pitched Lipstick On The Glass, the third feature by Kuba Czekaj who had been at previous editions of Polish Days with his debut Baby Bump and The Erlprince.

The €1.6m psychological thriller with humorous elements is being planned as a Polish-German co-production and will feature Agnieszka Podsiadlik who had starred in Czekaj’s other two features and Malgorzata Szumowska’s Body.

Lipstick On The Glass was awarded this year’s sound post-production prize by Warsaw-based Aeroplan.

Works in progress

This year’s showcase of nine works in progress included Kedzierzawska’s drama Speedway, which had been pitched at the Polish Days in 2015, as well as three films - Piotr Domalewski’s family dramedy Silent Night, Bodo Kox’s sci-fi drama The Man With The Magic Box and Lukasz Palkowski’s The Fastest based on the true story of Jurek Gorski, a drug addict turned Double Ironman - which will have their premieres in the Main Competition at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia (18-23 September).

In addition, director Bartek Konopka and producer Anne Wydra of Otter Films showed footage from the first days of shooting from his historical drama The Mute which is being co-produced with Wroclaw-based Odra-Film and Belgium’s Earlybirds Films. Kino Swiat is in place for Polish distribution, with New Europe Films Sales handling international sales.

This year’s edition of Wroclaw’s Polish Days was rounded out with the announcement that the other two sponsor awards - from the postproduction studio Color Off On and the European training initiative EAVE - were presented to producer Beata Rzezniczek of Madants for her pitching of Israeli director Hagar Ben-Asher’s The War Has Ended,.

New Horizons’ new artistic director Marcin Pienkowski confirmed that the Polish Days will return in 2018 to its traditional dates at the end of July.

Loving Vincent opens Gdynia

Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman’s innovative animated film Loving Vincent - which had a gala screening at New Horizons this week - will open the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia on September 18.

The Main Competition will include three completed films which were shown international guests during the Polish Days:

* Pawel Maslona’s feature debut, the black comedy Panic Attack, handled internationally by New Europe Film Sales

* Jagoda Szelc’s psychological thriller Tower. A Bright Day

* Maciej Sobieszczanski’s intimate drama The Reconciliation.

Festival VOD collaboration

Poznan-based distributor Tongariro Releasing has entered into a collaboration with the New Horizons festival for its release of the Chilean film Jesus.

Tongariro’s CEO Jakub Mroz told Screen that Fernando Guzzoni’s raw profile of youth rebellion will be presented in the Discoveries sidebar today (Aug 11) and tomorrow (Aug 12) before being launched on his company’s VOD platform Outfilm.pl on Sunday (Aug 13).

Tongariro also had Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country showing at the festival this week, with the Polish theatrical release planned for September.

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