Warsaw Int'l Film Festival comes of age

Now part of FIAPF, received record number of submissions

MOSCOW -- The 26th edition of the Warsaw International Film Festival, which kicks off on Oct. 8, is going to show how the organizers are dealing with the fest's increased international status.

"Last year, the Warsaw International Film Festival became part of the FIAPF list of "international competitive non-specialized festivals", which brought about serious consequences," Stefan Laudyn, the fest's director, told The Hollywood Reporter. "This year, we received a record number of submissions and a couple of dozen collaboration offers from various companies."

According to Laudyn, the festival's motto remains unchanged: "Films about the people for the people." More than 130 films, divided into several sections, such as international competition, Free Spirit competition, documentary and short competitions, are to be screened at this year's event.

Among the highlights of this year's program are movies of different genres, from historical dramas, like "The Edge" by Russian director Alexei Uchitel or the Czech movie "Walking Too Fast" directed by Radim Spacek, to films focused on music and dance, such as Silvia Beck's "Nyman in Progress" or Gitta Gsell's "Bodala."

Laudyn stresses that the festival doesn't compete with other fests in the region. "Our aim is to be a useful part of the international film community," he said, adding that the fest's funding is solid. "We have multi-year deals with RWE, a big European energy company, which is our strategic partner, and with the City of Warsaw, which attracts other sponsors."

Among prominent film industry people expected to show up at the fest as special guests are Oscar-winning Czech director Jan Sverak, whose most recent movie, "Kooky," is to be screened, English composer Michael Nyman, Georgian director Dover Kosashvili, and British director Antonia Bird, who is to chair the International Competition jury.

The festival's awards are to be handed out at a closing ceremony on Oct. 17.