A handful of directors, producers and sales agents gathered for an introductory panel at the fifth American Film Festival (Oct 21-26) in Wroclaw, Poland as part of the festival’s US in Progress event.

US in Progress, the first industry event in Europe devoted entirely to US indies, focuses on the completion and European distribution of American indie feature films at the post-production stage.

Similarities and differences between the European film market and the American system were debated, with discussion focusing on the link between sales and festivals.

“It’s really hard to raise awareness about your film,” said BlackRabbit Films’ Adeline Monzier [pictured], a creator of the event. “That’s why we created this programme, to raise awareness before the festivals because it’s important to meet the right people.”

Monzier continued on the importance of sales agents at European festivals, saying: “If you go to a European festival without a sales agent, you’ll just be one out of 200 films and nobody will really pay attention to you, especially if you’re not in the main competition.”

Sydney Levine of SydneysBuzz spoke about the importance of film festivals and the mistaken view American directors can have. “In America we think ‘if you can make it to Sundance, you’ll be in.’ It’s a flawed thought because maybe 10 percent make deals then and there while the rest putter along and make deals that bring them no money and you never got out there to the rest of the world.”

“You need to be strategic in how you choose festivals,” added Levine. “It’s important for Americans to widen their horizons.”

Levine and Monzier were joined by US in Progress-alumni directors Mike Tully (Ping Pong Summer) and Mike Ott (Lake Los Angeles), whose films are being shown as part of this year’s festival.