Despite having lost its state backing, the 18th Warsaw International Film Festival this year introduced a new competition section, awarding the Grand Prix Nescafe, worth Euros 5,000 to a local Polish film Edi by director Piotr Trzaskalski.
The 'New Directors, New Films' international competition section was a novelty at this year's festival with fourteen productions in competition. Besides awarding the main trophy, the seven-member jury, led by chairman Wojciech Marczewski, gave special mentions to three productions, The Orphan Of Anyang by Wang Chao, Bark! by Kasia Adamik and Wild Bees by Bohdan Slama.
The festival's program was made up of mainly European productions, with the films presented in ten different sections and watched by a record 71,000 spectators, 10,000 more than last year's edition.
As with every year since 1987 the audience picked its favourite production, with the most votes this year going to the Norwegian production, Peter Naess' Elling.
A festival sidebar event, the Warsaw Screenings, were attended by, among others, Dieter Kosslick of the Berlinale and Eva Zaoralova of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. The screenings featured Andrzej Wajda's latest film, Vengeance and a fragment of Marek Bukowski's film-in-progress, Success.
The festival, organised by the Warsaw Film Foundation, also featured a European Media Day where the Media Plus program, Eurimages and the European Film Promotion were presented. Speakers at the event included Stefan Laudyn, manager of the Warsaw Film Foundation and director of the festival.