WROCLAW: One of the key events of the 7th Polish Days held at the 18th New Horizons IFF was the pitching session showcasing 11 upcoming projects including international coproductions and new films by Anna Kazejak, Leszek Dawid and Piotr Domalewski.
Weronika Czołnowska, Head of Industry at New Horizons IFF told FNE: „The projects we invite to the pitching section are on different levels of development and we try to include films by younger Polish filmmakers such as Piotr Domalewski, Bartosz M Kowalski and Marcin Bortkiewicz. Most of them plan an international coproduction and are looking for coproducers. We also think about our guests as most of them are interested in discovering new talents or finding out the whereabouts of Polish filmmakers recognised at international film festivals. They also want to find new projects at very early stages of development.”
Polish Days is organised by New Horizons IFF in co-operation with the Polish Film Institute.
FULL LIST OF PROJECTS:
Before the Horizon Ends / Zanim skończy się horyzont (Poland)
Teenagers Marta and Bo used to be a couple. Marta left. When she tells a story about the life she left behind, she just says: “I wasn’t strong enough”. Some years later, we find her tangled-up in a mediocre, everyday existence and stuck in an unhappy relationship. She does not feel safe nor happy. One day, she receives a letter from Bo.
“The film was inspired by the book To Warmer Countries by Christian Jersild. The most important thing for our film was the way the writer tells this story. He uses two separate narrative threads. The meaning of this story can be summarised in four sentences: not-love, not-world, not-true, not-journey. Our film explains the presence of the negation in each of these sentences”, directors Anka Sasnal and Wilhelm Sasnal said in a statement.
The film is produced by Agata Szymańska and Magdalena Kamińska through Balapolis with a budget of 600,000 EUR. Marta Nieradkiewicz is set to play the leading role, while casting for Bo is still in progress. The film is currently in preproduction with a shoot in Israel planned for spring 2019. World sales are open.
9:17 PM Incident / Incydent z 21:17 (Poland)
Paweł is a high school teacher. The spirit of his late father-in-law, a charismatic architect, haunts Paweł’s marriage as his wife puts all her energy into taking care of her father’s legacy, who left behind an enormous flat, great artworks and extensive debts. Because bailiffs are already onto them and Paweł’s wife does not want to sell her father’s treasures, they decide to sell the car. One evening Paweł, driving his lover (one of his students) home, runs over a dog and leaves the scene of the accident.
“9:17 PM Incident is a story about responsibility and situations in which it’s not easy to determine who is guilty. Hitting the dog results in further consequences and all are the accumulation of many factors and mistakes, which ultimately lead to a tragedy”, director Tomasz Wolski told FNE.
The film is produced by Anna Gawlita through Kijora Film with a budget of 750,000 EUR. The film is in early development, with production planned for 2021. World sales are open.
Her/His / Ona/On (Poland)
Warsaw, late 80s. Irena and Jacek are a sporty couple. Irena, a former figure skater is coaching the Polish representation for the Calgary Olympic Games. Jacek is a sports journalist at the Polish broadcaster. The opposing forces of Irena’s desire for freedom and Jacek’s faith have caused a serious crisis in their marriage.
“Living in a time of post-truth and relativism of values, I have been wondering how to tell a story today. Her/His is the result of a research in this area”, co-director Anna Kazejak told FNE.
The film is produced by Mariusz Włodarski through Lava Films with a planned budget of 1.25 m EUR. The film will have two directors. Anna Kazejak will direct a part of the story shot from the perspective of the women, and the producers are looking for a male director to join the project, preferably from a coproduction country. The film is currently in development with production planned for 2020.
The Storm before the Calm / Burza przed ciszą (Poland)
One October morning, in a modest writers’ retreat in the small community of Stilo on the Baltic coast, an elderly lady gets up, has breakfast and goes for a walk. The Poetess stops off for a coffee at a fish-and-chip bar by the sea, and there the TV informs her that she has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Poetess slips back to the writers’ retreat unseen, but television broadcast vans are already parked outside, amidst a swirling crowd of eagle-eyed photo-journalists and reporters.
“When I learnt that Wisława Szymborska, after hearing the news of her receiving the Nobel Prize, locked herself in her room at the Writers Retreat in Zakopane, I realised that THIS was a theme for a feature film. It gave me the opportunity to show a critical turning-point in the life of a person whose attitude toward the world and the relationship with it had been ordered and steady for many years”, director Marcin Bortkiewicz told FNE.
The film is produced by Sebastian Petryk through PS Film with a budget of 930,000 EUR. The film is currently in preproduction with shooting planned for 2019. World sales are open.
The Horse Tail / Koński ogon (Poland)
The Horse’s Tail is a cheap version of the myth of Oedipus. Diana, a prostitute from Vienna, comes back to town. She is depressed, she has memory blanks and milk streams from her breasts. A 20 year old guy Maj, an orphan and an outcast, suspects that she is his mother. When they meet, Diana denies it and treats him like a client.
“The Horse’s Tail shows a world in a rut, ruled by sex drive and violence. Everyone wants to use everyone else. It is all too abrupt, too powerful in the face of potential, impending death. Before an exotic flower dies, its colour becomes very vivid and it gives out the most intense smell, however the smell already smacks of decay,” director Justyna Łuczaj-Salej told FNE.
The film is produced by Marcin Malatyński through Indeks Film Studio, a production company set up by Lodz Film School, with a planned budget of 250,000 EUR. Shooting is planned in Krosno for summer 2019. World sales are open.
In Between /Pomiędzy (Poland, Germany)
Maciek (30) met Kamil (30) at a nightclub and very quickly they became best friends. For Agnieszka (30), Maciek’s girlfriend, Maciek’s close relationship with Kamil is a flashpoint. Unexpectedly, Maciek is diagnosed with an incurable disease, which comes as a huge shock for all of them.
“In Between is a story about dreams, love, hate and death. A strong friendship between two young men and love of one of them towards a woman mingle, resulting in borderline reactions. The vulnerability of these precisely outlined characters, as well as their strong will to live, which helps them get through the everyday difficulties, make for an intimate and sensual story“, director told FNE.
The film is produced by Ewa Szwarc through Kosmos Production with a planned budget of 650,000 EUR. The film will be shot in summer 2019 as a Polish/German coproduction. World sales are open.
Illusion / Iluzja (Poland)
Many months after her daughter Karolina had gone missing, Grażyna still cannot come to terms with her disappearance. She can’t stop searching and begins an investigation on her own. She examines the world around her, looking for signs. She follows her intuition and her motherly instinct. Her determination bordering on madness stops her from rejecting any of the hints and traces she notices.
“People who experience the disappearance of their close ones call it the ‘stopping of time’, an oppressive space-time that begins to surround them. They experience a variety of feelings, reaching the limits of their psychological endurance and the physical capacity of their bodies to withstand the suffering.
“I think the mystery of a disappearance and living in suspension holds huge potential for exploration. I leave out the most sensational moment, the shock of the discovery that her daughter had disappeared. Instead, I catch up with Grażyna when this initial phase, the most dramatic, but also most active phase is over. I’m interested in what happens next, when the initial energy begins to subside”, director Marta Minorowicz said in a statement.
The film is produced by Alter Ego Pictures with a budget of 710,000 EUR. World sales are open.
Broad Peak (Poland)
The film will tell the real story of Polish mountaineer Maciej Berbeka. The title refers to one of the most dangerous mountain peaks in the world, in the Karakorum mountain range. Following a spectacular ascent in 2013, Berbeka reached the summit and became the first man in the world to do it during wintertime. Unfortunately, he died upon descending.
“I’d like Broad Peak to be a story about a man struggling against nature, cold, fear and exhaustion. Our film is character-driven. The vivid character of Berbeka is defined by his goal to reach the summit of Broad Peak. I’d like the viewers to get close enough to the protagonist to understand this yearning”, director Leszek Dawid told FNE.
The film is produced by Maciej Rzączyński, Krzysztof Rzączyński and Dawid Janicki through East Studio with a planned budget of 2.5 m EUR. The shoot is planned for March 2020. World sales are open.
Europe, near future. Governments decide to send all who attempt suicide to mandatory therapies and tattoo them with a semicolon, just like when a sentence could end, but still continues. Helena and Anna, both after suicide attempts, meet by accident. When a parole officer threatens to send Helena back to therapy for violating release rules, the two friends run away to a motel hidden in the woods. Together with the motel’s residents, including a mysterious leader of the rebel movement, they create a bizarre community. Will they finally find freedom and happiness?
“Dystopia is a mirror slightly of distorting images, but only in order to pinpoint the most important issues and the biggest problems. Patagonia is a story of looking for freedom in a world that is far from being free, a world of phony happiness and superficial values. A world driven by only one rule - to control each sphere of the citizens’ lives”, director Agnieszka Zwiefka said in a statement.
The film is produced by Izabela Igiel through Harine Film with a planned budget of 1.2 m EUR. Production is planned for 2019 and world sales are open.
I Never Cry /Ja nigdy nie płaczę (Poland)
I Never Cry is a story about Ola, a teenager who goes to UK to bring back home the body of her father who has died in a tragic accident. Ola has always resented her father, and the only thing that had ever bonded them was his promise to buy her a car as her dream is to become a professional taxi driver.
“I have to admit that the story which was the inspiration for this script happened to a person very dear to me. This is why I am convinced I will be able to create a moving, emotional film. I, myself, longed for a stronger bond with my father, who was mostly focused on sustaining his family. I know that these basic relationships are often the hardest ones to define and the ones that carry a huge emotional load”, director Piotr Domalewski said in a statement.
The second film by Piotr Domalewski is produced by Jan Kwieciński through Akson Studio with a planned budget of 1.3 m EUR. Production is planned for 2019 and world sales are open.
The In-Between / Przejście (Poland)
Lucjan is a 70-year-old theater actor, grief-stricken after his wife’s recent death. His well-being worsens, he becomes a burden to his son and daughter-in-law, and soon after ends up in a nursing home. He is isolated, lonely, surrounded by sick and disabled people. But he finds a way out, a secret passage into a bizarre world of fairytale, his own imagination and memories, where he’s more than just an old, dying man... The In-Between is a thrilling social drama with horror and fantasy elements, a bitter-sweet tale about passing away and accepting the inevitable.
“The moment we enter Lucjan’s symbolic, fantasy world, the genre changes but the use of the camera doesn’t. The camera is still handheld, maintaining the quasi-documentary feel of the film. However, the lighting style and set design change drastically, luring the audience into a magical, mysterious place”, director Bartosz M. Kowalski told FNE.
The film is produced by Dariusz Pietrykowski through Film It with a planned budget of 1.5 m EUR. Production is planned for 2019 and world sales are open.