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Roman Polanski Cancels Trip to Polish Film Festival

FILM: Roman Polanski
Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images

The Oscar-winning director was scheduled to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Gdynia Festival of Polish Films.

COLOGNE, Germany - Roman Polanski has cancelled his planned visit to the 36th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia. Just two days after confirming that Polanski would attend Gdynia to recieve a lifetime achievement award and give a director's masterclass, festival organizers said the Oscar-winning director had changed his plans.

On their website, the festival gave no reason for Polanski's change of heart. Local commentators speculated the 76-year-old director may have been afraid crowds would protest his visit or that, as with a visit to the Zurich Film Festival two years ago, he would be arrested and face possible extradiction to the U.S. Polanski still faces court proceedings linked to a 1977 case in which he is accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. Several right-wing politicians in Poland have spoken out against his visit, saying Polanski is still a wanted man in the U.S.

Though Polanski, a Polish-native, could theoretically travel safely to Poland, the director has been especially cautious after his release from Swiss incarceration last year. Although he was spotted at Switzerland's Montreaux Jazz Festival shortly after his release, Polanski has not travelled widely outside his homes in France and Switzerland. He did not attend the European Film Awards in Estonia last December, instead accepting six prizes, including Best Film for The Ghostwriter via Skype.