The first edition, planned for late October, will present about 75 films in four sections.

The organizers of the Era New Horizons International Film Festival have announced the creation of a new festival devoted to the works of contemporary and classic American cinema.

The first edition of the American Film Festival will be held Oct 20–24 in Wroclaw, Poland and will feature a retrospective of indie pioneer John Cassavetes, including Shadows (1959), Faces (1968), A Woman Under The Influence (1974) and Opening Night (1977).

While designed mainly as a cultural event, the festival also hopes to boost the visibility and sale of independent American films in Eastern Europe.

“Although American films dominate Polish cinemas, they are chiefly commercial productions distributed globally by major film studios, and many quality films are not released in Poland at all,” said Roman Gutek, AFF Festival Director and founder Polish distributor GutekFilm. “With this new festival, we hope to introduce to our audiences new names and works of the contemporary American cinema and stimulate interest from the business sector.”

The festival further aims to create further links between independent artists in the US and Europe. “The festival will be a meeting place for American and Polish film directors, producers, festival representatives and sales agents to network and perhaps find ways of collaboration for future projects,” said Jakub Duszyński, festival senior programmer and artistic director of GutekFilm.

The first edition will present about 75 films in four sections: Highlights will feature new films from established directors, while Spectrum will focus on artists in mid-career and those making significant directorial debuts. American Docs will include award-winning documentaries from the film festival circuit, and On the Edge will showcase experimental film and new media.

Spectrum titles will compete for an Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature and $10,000. Audiences will also vote to award a $5,000 prize for Best Documentary.

“While Polish audiences are certainly aware of the big Hollywood films, they are not as exposed to the world of American independent cinema,” festival programming director Urszula Sniegowska said. “The American Film Festival will allow Polish audiences to become acquainted with contemporary American cinema with presentation of the latest films from both established directors and up-and-coming talents. In this way, we hope to present the diverse culture and political/social realities of the United States in a fuller way than has ever been tried before.”