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Festival Focus: American Film Festival in Wrocław and U.S. in Progress Projects

by Carlos Aguilar
October 26, 2013 5:00 PM
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Opening with

 Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive the latest edition of the American Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland 

(22-27 October 2013) has screened some of the most important American independent films of the year. Being the only festival of its class in Eastern and Central Europe the festival has become the most important venue to connect American filmmakers with European buyers and audiences through programs like 

U.S. in Progress Wrocław (23-25 October 2013).

This year's program taking place at the New Horizons cinema presented

80 movies out of which 42 are Polish premieres, 3 are European premieres and 1 is a World Premiere. Among them

10 documentaries and 17 feature films competed

for cash prizes in the audience-vote competitions. 

The first competitive section - Spectrum ($10,000 audience award for the Best Narrative Feature) included films that have been well-received here in the U.S such as A Teacher by Hannah Fidell, Blue Caprice by Alexandre Moors, Afternoon Delight by Jill Soloway, Short Term 12 by Destin Cretton, The Spectacular Now by James Ponsoldt, and Bluebird by Lance Edmands. The second competition - American Docs ($5,000 audience award for Best Documentary Feature) had a selection of films depicting varied current issues in American society including Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia by Nicholas Wrathall, The Armstrong Lie by Alex Gibney, Our Nixon by Penny Lane, Northern Light by Nick Bentgen, Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton by Eric Slade and Stephen Silha and Before You Know It by PJ Raval.

Jim Jarmusch’s 'Only Lovers Left Alive'
The American Film Festival also ran a retrospective of Shirley Clarke and presented Polish premieres of high-profile films such as As I Lay Dying by James Franco, Quentin Dupieux’s Wrong Cops, Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein’s Lovelace, Much Ado About Nothing by Joss Whedon, Touchy Feely by Lynn Shelton, At Any Price by Ramin Bahrani, and Maladies by Carter. The festival also screened Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Sundance hit Don Jon along several U.S. in Progress participants and festival hits like I Used to be Darker by Matt Porterfier and Hide Your Smiling Faces by Daniel Patrick Carbone. Lastly, a special section titled 'Masterpieces of American Cinema 90 Years of Warner Bros." showed 14 digitally-remastered productions by the studio from

The Jazz Singer by Alan Crosland (1927) through A Clockwork Orange ,The Exorcist and  Christopher Nolan’s Inception 

The festival will close on October 27th with Steven Soderbergh's Emmy Award-winning film Behind the Candelabra.

All competitions titles:


American Milkshake by David Andalman, Mariko Munro, USA 2012, 82'

Blue Highway by Kyle Smith, USA 2013, 70'

Coldwater by Vincent Grashaw, USA 2013, 104'

The Spectacular Now by James Ponsoldt, USA 2013, 95'

Drinking Buddies by Joe Swanberg, USA 2013, 90'

Lily by Matt Creed, USA 2013, 85'

A Teacher by Hannah Fidell, USA 2013, 75'

Blue Caprice by Alexandre Moors, USA 2013, 93'

Pearblossom Hwy by Mike Ott, USA 2012, 78'

Afternoon Delight by Jill Soloway, USA 2013, 105'

Stand Clear of the Closing Doors by Sam Fleischner, USA 2013, 102'

Short Term 12 by Destin Cretton, USA 2013, 96'

The Cold Lands by Tom Gilroy, USA 2013, 100'

In a World... by Lake Bell, USA 2013, 93'

A Song Still Inside by Gregory Collins, USA 2013, 82'

Bluebird by Lance Edmands, USA 2013, 90'

American Docs

Big Easy Express by Emmett Malloy, USA 2012

Off Label by Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher, USA 2012

Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia by Nicholas Wrathall, USA, Italy 2013

Fall and Winter by Matt Anderson, USA 2013

The Armstrong Lie by Alex Gibney, USA 2013

Lenny Cooke by Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie, USA 2012

Our Nixon by Penny Lane, USA 2013

Northern Light by Nick Bentgen, USA 2013

Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton by Eric Slade, Stephen Silha, USA 2013

Before You Know It by PJ Raval, USA 2012

U.S. Progress Projects

This year 6 projects in the final production stages were chosen to take part in the two-day workshop knows as U.S. in Progress Wroclaw (23-25 October, 2013). The event presents the American independent projects to European buyers, 

post-production houses and festivals in order to help them achieve completion and to foster the circulation and distribution of these films in Europe.

Selected from over 40 submission the chosen projects are

the dramas Lake Los Angeles by Mike Ott (produced by Athina Rachel Tsangari), Happy Baby by Stephen Elliott (produced by Jessica Caldwell ) and Some Beasts by Cameron Nelson (produced by Ashley Maynor and Courtney Ware), crime story Wild Canaries by Lawrence Michael Levine (produced by Sophia Takal, Kim Sherman and McCabe Walsh), frontier black comedy Sun Belt Express by Evan Wolf Buxbaum (producers: Noah Lang and Iyabo Boyd) and Summer of Blood – a New York vampire comedy by director-producer Onur Tukel.

The prizes are awarded by a jury of professionals and include

post-production services from European partner companies worth almost $60.000 and promotional services from other partners. US in Progress’ partners are: Platige Image (Warsaw), DI Factory (Warsaw), Alvernia Studios (Krakow),  composer Maciej Zielinski of Soundflower Studio (Warsaw), Soundplace (Warsaw), DCinex (Belgium), VSI (Paris), Europa Distribution, CICAE and Cannes Marche du Film’s Producers Network.

Matt Porterfield's 'I Used to Be Darker'

U.S. in Progress Wrocław (formerly Gotham in Progress) was started in 2011 by the New Horizons Association and Black Rabbit Film. Previous films presented at the event included, among others: I Used To Be Darker by Matt Porterfield, American Milkshake by David Andalman (both shown at Sundance FF in 2013), Hide Your Smiling Faces by Daniel Carbone (Berlinale Generation, Tribeca), Bluebird by Lance Edmands (Tribeca, Karlovy Vary), Jason Cortlund & Julia Halperin’s Now, Forager: a Film About Love and Fungi (Rotterdam, New Directors/New Films, Gotham Awards nominee), Amy Seimetz’s Sun Don’t Shine (SXSW, Edinburgh IFF, Gotham Awards nominee) and Devyn Waitt’s Not Waving But Drowning (Sarasota FF).

U.S. in Progress Wrocław is supported by the City of Wrocław, American Embassy in Warsaw and Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

For more information on the American Film Festival and the U.S. in Progress projects visit HERE

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