FNE at New Horizons IFF 2019: International Minority Coproductions at Polish Days Works in Progress

    Broad Peak by Leszek Dawid, East Studio Broad Peak by Leszek Dawid, East Studio

    WROCŁAW: Eight Polish projects currently in production and postproduction were showcased during the last day of Polish Days, an industry event held at the New Horizons IFF. The list includes international minority coproductions with Polish creative engagement.

    Weronika Czołnowska, Head of Industry at the New Horizons IFF told FNE: “This year for Works In Progress we decided to promote minority coproductions and we’ve invited interesting projects from the UK, Greece and Germany. They all have strong Polish engagement, both on the production and creative level, like in the case of Sunburned, a German/Polish coproduction, where the DOP is the accomplished Polish cinematographer Wojciech Staroń. We are also trying to cater to the needs of our foreign guests, who are always looking for new Polish talents and every year we try to present to them new companies and new directors.”

    “This year we also wanted to put a strong focus on Polish cash rebate incentives and invite international producers to cooperate with Poland. We wanted to create a space for these connections and this resulted in events like Focus on UK / Coproduction Creativity Talks, which included coproduction meetings and a discussion panel with UK's producers, co-organised with the British Council and the Polish Producers Alliance, as well as the Polish-German Coproduction / Meet & Greet event, that we organised together with connecting cottbus, FilmFestival Cottbus and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg”, Weronika Czołnowska also said.


    Sunburned (Denmark, Poland)

    Claire (13) is vacationing with her sister Zoe (15) and mother Sophie (40) at a resort hotel in southern Spain. Sophie spends her days by the pool and shows a minimum of interest in her daughters. In the beginning, Claire clings to her older sister, who mercifully lets her tag along. But when Zoe meets a boy her own age, Claire is left alone. By the beach Claire befriends Amram, a young Senegalese beach vendor. As their relationship deepens, Claire tries to help him, but unintentionally ends up making his desolate situation even worse.

    “I remember my own vacations as a teenager with my family; the strange mix of apprehension and boredom that set in as summer holidays began. The eternal power struggle between my sister and me. Our road to adulthood often unfolded against the backdrop of poverty and political unrest in the countries we visited. Like most tourists we indulged in food, people and culture, instead of reflecting upon the circumstances. Sunburned is about all that; tourism, immigration and, ultimately, the dream of Europe. The film centres around two young people and their shared longing for a better existence”, said director Carolina Hellsgård.

    The film is produced by Nicole Gerhards of NiKo Films and Małgorzata Staroń of Staron Film. Polish acclaimed cinematographer Wojciech Staroń is the DoP.

    The budget is 2,020,000 EUR. World sales are managed by Picture Tree International.

    Production Information:

    Staroń Film (Poland)
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    Cranley Gardens (UK, Poland)

    Two penniless cousins, opposite in spirit, live together dreaming of a better life. Yiling is detached, but determined, while Yaoyao is grounded, but suffers from depression. When Yiling lands a job as a receptionist at an estate agency, at first she thinks it’s a dead end job. But then she discovers that the agency has on its books the flat once belonging to a notorious serial killer, Dennis Nilsen. While the others scorn it, she discovers the flat could make her money, a lot of money.

     “I looked once at buying a small flat in London, and came across an exceptional deal: a flat in an expensive area for only £ 240,000. Then I realised it used to belong to UK’s most notorious serial killer, Dennis Nilsen. That was the inspiration for the film. With Cranley Gardens I wanted to show London as it had not been seen before – through foreign eyes – as I saw it. I am fascinated by the collision of day and night; the profane and the sacred, as well as the duality of perception versus reality, consciousness, existence, self-identity and death”, said director Rafael Kapelinski.

    The film is coproduced by Merlin Merton of Blue Shadows Films (UK) and Klaudia Smieja of Poland’s Madants with a budget of 350,000 EUR.

    The film is currently in postproduction, world sales are open and the producers are looking for sales agents and distributors.

    Production Information:

    Madants (Poland)
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    Namyro (Poland)

    Zdzislaw Najmrodzki aka Naymro is the fastest thief on the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain. Naymro steals but only from the system, he is a man of honour and principles. He does not like violence, he just wants to live life known from American films. Naymro is an action crime story with lots of comedy elements, asking general questions about freedom, love, friendship. The film is inspired by the real life of the celebrity thief who in the 1980s escaped the law enforcement agencies 29 times.

    Naymro will tell a universal story about the desire for unlimited freedom, shown through the prism of a good criminal myth. The more Najmrodzki has, the more he wants to have, that’s why from the beginning he can be accompanied by the motto: “I would give everything up to have more”. For our hero, however, this will be about so much more than just a superficial slogan. Naymro wants to reach higher than anyone, he wants to live on his own terms, he wants freedom without limits”, said director Mateusz Rakowicz. 

    The film is produced by Andrzej Papis and Maciej Sowinski through TFP in coproduction with Telewizja Polsat and with the support of the Polish Film Institute.

    The budget is 2.1 m EUR and world sales are open.

    The 35-days shoot took place in June 2019 in 47 locations including Warsaw, Krakow and Zabrze. Naymro is currently in postproduction and it should be ready in May 2020. The Polish premiere is planned for the fall of 2020.

    The producers are looking to connect with sales agents, distributors and festivals.


    Marta Nowakowska
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    Tonia (Poland)

    Tonia focuses on a day in the life of an eleven-year-old girl. It’s the early 1990s and Tonia lives in an old tenement building with her father and grandmother. Her mother is dead. Her father is overly fond of the bottle and he's lost his job. Granny is sending him off on a three-month contract on a building site in Italy, but Tonia is doing everything she can to thwart the plan because she’s scared that daddy will never come back to her. The best thing would be to get him really drunk. The film will maintain the tone of a social comedy-drama, though not devoid of all hope.

    “I would like to admit that this ‘Italian’ story is lined with my own memories, impressions and events that, although invented here, shaped me as a human being in my childhood. Everything I wrote never really happened, but each of the individual episodes is one of the elements of the world in which I grew up and every detail of this world has its place in the written script”, said director Marcin Bortkiewicz.

    The film is produced by Sebastian Petryk through PS Film. The budget is 850,000 EUR.

    Tonia is currently in postproduction with the premiere planned for 2020.

    The producers are looking for sales agents, distributors and festivals.

    Production Information:

    PS Film (Poland)
    Sebastian Petryk: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Broad Peak (Poland)

    In 2013, a Polish group of mountaineers including Maciej Berbeka, Tomasz Kowalski, Artur Małek and Adam Bielecki reached the top of the second highest mountain in the Karakoram mountain range. Based on real-life events, the film is also a moving story of the great but difficult love that brought Maciek Berbeka and his wife Ewa together. The shots were made at the base of K2 and at the Broad Peak at over 5,000 meters above sea level. The crew is the first in the world that has made a full-length feature film at such a high altitude and in such dangerous and inaccessible conditions for filmmakers.

     “I don’t aspire to compete with the Hollywood blockbuster Everest. Though it might sound strange, in terms of the large-scale production, I’d like Broad Peak to be a story about a man struggling against nature, cold, fear and exhaustion. In this context, a closer reference would be The Revenant by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Unlike the action-driven Everest, our film is character-driven. The vivid character of Berbeka is determined by his goal to reach the summit of Broad Peak. I’d like the viewers to get close enough to the protagonist and to understand this yearning”, said director Leszek Dawid.

    The film is produced by Maciej Rzączyński, Dawid Janicki, Krzysztof Rzączyński and Paweł Rymar through East Studio in coproduction with TVN, Kino Swiat and the Krakow Festival Office.  Over 70% of the material was shot in 2018 on location in the Alpes, Poland and Pakistan. The crew will return to the Alpes in January 2020 and the production wrap is planned for early winter of 2020.

    The budget is 3,865,000 EUR and world sales are open. The Polish distributor is Kino Swiat.

    Production Information:

    East Studio (Poland)
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    Escape to the Silver Globe / Ucieczka na Srebrny Glob (Poland)

    Andrzej Żuławski’s On the Silver Globe (1977/1987) could have been one of the greatest sci-fi masterworks of all time – wildly ambitious, visually extravagant, fueled by Żuławski’s mad genius. The hyperkinetic, frenzied answer to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Tarkovsky’s Solaris, On the Silver Globe was planned as the biggest blockbuster of Polish cinema, with a budget of millions of dollars. So why was it suddenly shut down (or should we say – murdered?) just four weeks before its completion? Escape to the Silver Globe is a documentary that explores the mysteries behind “the best sci-fi film never made” (Vice) or “the best non-Hollywood sci-fi movie of all time” (Tastes of Cinema).

    “In my film, which I plan as a combination of a cinematic essay and a traditional documentary, the main narrative arch will be the reconstruction of the events that took place during the production of On the Silver Globe. This is a fascinating story with extreme emotions, unexplained secrets and dramatic turning points. Even though it happens in a specific place and time, it touches upon universal themes, such as the eternal conflict between art and authorities, the imagination that is both creative and destructive, the need to escape from reality into fantasy”, said director Kuba Mikurda.

    The film is produced by Daria Maślona through Silver Frame. The production was launched by the end of 2018. The planned budget is 250,000 EUR and the premiere is planned for 2020.

    The producers are looking to connect with coproducers, sales agents and post production partners.

    Production Information:

    Silver Frame (Poland)
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    Icarus. The Legend of Mietek Kosz / Ikar. Legenda Mietka Kosza (Poland)

    Icarus is the true story of Mietek Kosz, a Polish jazz pianist, who died in tragic circumstances. We see his life through selected episodes depicting the most influential moments in Mietek's personal sphere and music career: his childhood on a poor farm in the farmlands of Poland and the loss of his eyesight at an early age. We witness the birth of his gifts – an uncanny ear for music and his determination shared only by true virtuosos. We see how low he falls due to his fight with alcoholism and trying to deal with the consequences of his fame.

    “Mietek Kosz is a name known mainly to jazz lovers – a blind pianist, master of improvisation, the Polish Bill Evans. He would have been one of the most famous jazz pianists in the world if not for his untimely death. Now, all that remains is a legend of a genius gone too soon. Icarus is a story of a phenomenon and the paradoxical nature of life – the story of a protagonist at odds with himself and with the obstacles he faced”, said director Maciej Pieprzyca.

    The film is produced by Renata Czarnkowska-Listoś and Maria Gołoś through RE Studio. The postproduction will wrap by the end of August 2019. The budget is 1.8 m EUR.

    The biopic will compete in the Main Competition at the Gdynia Film Festival. The world sales are managed by Intramovies and the producers are looking to connect with other festivals.

    Production Information:

    RE Studio (Poland)
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    Apples / Mila (Greece, Poland)

    Aris, a man in his late thirties, lives alone in his apartment in a city, where an unexplained increase in memory disorders among the local population has been recently observed. One evening Aris comes out of his apartment to run some errands. A few hours later he finds himself in the seat of a bus without remembering anything. He is then taken to a hospital, where he is diagnosed with severe amnesia. Maria and Michalis, the doctors who treat him, tell him about an innovative programme that has just been introduced at the hospital: instead of trying to help him regain his memory with long and questionable treatments, they could help him start his life from scratch.

    “How selective is our memory? Do we remember our actual experiences or do we choose what we want to remember? Can we forget the things that hurt us? Could it be that deep down we don’t want to forget painful experiences because without them we lose our identity? In the end, are we simply the sum of all those things we don’t forget? Apples, an allegorical and funny story, is in its core an effort to explore how our memory functions and how this affects us. How emotions affect our memory, and especially how our memory is affected by technology, which nowadays makes it very easy for us to store our memories”, said director Christos Nikou.

    This film is a Greek/Polish coproduction between Boo Productions and Lava Films. Mariusz Włodarski and Iraklis Mavroidis are producing. The budget is 650,000 EUR. The film is currently in postproduction and it is planned to be finished by the end of 2019.

    The producers are looking for a third coproducer, sales agents and festivals.

    Production Information:

    Lava Films (Poland)
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