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Marcin Wrona, who debuted his Polish horror film Demon at the Toronto Film Festival, was found dead on Friday night in a hotel room while preparing for a festival in Poland. He was 42.
The news came from publicist and family friend Jim Dobson. “Marcin was a personal friend of mine and we are quite devastated at the news but his family wanted to me to announce his passing,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
Polish police are currently investigating the death and no further information is available. Wrona’s death came ahead of the Polish premiere of Demon at the Gdynia Film Festival, before a theatrical release in Poland in October. The Gdynia festival in its own statement on Saturday expressed shock and sadness over news of Wrona’s death.
The festival added it will shorten its awards ceremony on Saturday night to honor the Polish director. “We would like to express our sincere condolences to the wife of the director and all the people who were close to him,” event organizers said.
Demon, a Poland-Israel co-production, had a world bow in the Vanguard program in Toronto last week. Wrona’s latest film features a bridegroom possessed by an unquiet spirit in the midst of his own wedding celebration. It is part of the Polish director’s take on the Jewish legend of the dybbuk.
TIFF in a statement Saturday indicated sadness over news of Wrona’s passing, and added Demon “marked the emergence of a strong new voice on the world cinema stage.” The final screening of Demon in Toronto will take place on Saturday night and will include a tribute to the Polish director from festival organizers.
Wrona, born in Tarnow, Poland in 1973, was highly regarded in his country’s film industry, having directed a host of TV movies, including My Flesh, My Blood and the crime thriller The Christening.
His newlywed wife, Olga Szymanska, was a producer on Demon and attended the Toronto premiere.
Updated, Sept. 19, 11:45 a.m. This story has been updated to include statements from the Toronto and Gdynia film festivals.
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