Short Term 12 and Big Easy Express took home top prizes at the 4th American Film Festival in Wroclaw.

The American Film Festival (AFF) in Wrocław, Poland has awarded the audience award for Best Narrative Feature ($10,000) to Destin Daniel Cretton’s Short Term 12.

The audience award for the Best Documentary Feature ($5,000) went to Emmett Malloy for Big Easy Express.

The festival, focused entirely on independent American cinema, closed with the Polish premiere of Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra on Oct 27.

A total of 80 films were screened at the Nowe Horyzonty cinema in Wrocław, of which 52 films received their Polish premiere such as Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, As I Lay Dying by James Franco and Don Jon by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. There were three European premieres and one world premiere, Blue Highway by Kyle Smith.

The number of admissions exceeded 17,000 for the second consecutive year.

The AFF also featured a retrospective of Shirley Clarke, a mini-retrospective of Christine Vachon’s productions and presented, among others, the works of James Benning, and 14 digitally re-mastered productions by the Warner Brothers Studio as part of the “Masterpieces of American cinema. 90 years of Warner Bros.” section.

Festival guests included:

  • Vincent Grashaw (Coldwater)
  • Lance Edmands (Bluebird)
  • Kyle Smith (Blue Highway)
  • Alex Moors (Blue Caprice)
  • Tom Gilroy (The Cold Lands)
  • Jill Soloway (Afternoon Delight)
  • Mike Ott (Pearblossom Hwy)
  • Stephen Silha (Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton)
  • Nick Bentgen (Northern Light)
  • Nicholas Wrathall (Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia)
  • Daniel Patrick Carbone (Hide Your Smiling Faces)
  • M. Blash (The Wait)
  • Gabe Klinger (Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater)
  • Jozef van Wissem, who performed his soundtrack from Only Lovers Left Alive.

US in Progress

At the third US in Progress Wrocław - a works-in-progress event targeted at US independent filmmakers and European buyers - six films were presented to a group of over 50 professionals.

As previously announced, main awards consisting of post-production and promotional services worth $60,000 went to Sun Belt Express by Evan Wolf Buxbaum and Lake Los Angeles by Mike Ott.

Other presented films were: Summer of Blood by Onur Tukel, Wild Canaries by Lawrence Michael Levine, Happy Baby by Stephen Elliott and Some Beasts by Cameron Nelson.

This year’s participants included programmers from Rotterdam FF, Tribeca FF and Semaine de la Critique and buyers such as Match Factory, K5, The Works, Urban Distribution, Wide Management, Reel Suspects, Film Republic, New Europe Film Sales and Sophie Dulac Distribution.