The lineup of the upcoming 50th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s competition sections features several films co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.

Czerwony pająk (The Red Spider) and Czarodziejska góra (The Magic Mountain) in Main Competition

The lineup of 13 titles from around the world in this year’s jubilee edition of the festival’s Main Competition features two films co-financed by the Polish Film Institute: director Marcin Koszałka’s feature debut Czerwony pająk (The Red Spider) and Czarodziejska góra (The Magic Mountain) by director Anca Damian, previously known for her award-winning Crulic The Path to Beyond. Both films were made as international co-productions and both will have their world premieres in Karlovy Vary.

Czerwony pająk (The Red Spider)

Made as a Polish-Czech-Slovak co-production, Czerwony pająk (The Red Spider) is a fictional story inspired by real events that took place in communist Poland, in 1960s-era Krakow. Karol is a talented young man from a good family; he is successful in sports, he is well-liked by his peers, and his parents are nothing but proud of his accomplishments. Everything changes after Karol accidentally witnesses a murder. His attempt at uncovering the truth about the murderer slowly transforms into a journey into the darkest recesses of human nature. The film is a story of the mechanisms that come into play as a serial killer is born.

A Film Supported by the Polish Film Institute

Czerwony pająk (The Red Spider) was co-written, directed and lensed by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Marcin Koszałka. The Red Spider marks his feature debut. The film stars Filip Pławiak and Adam Woronowicz, with supporting performances by Julia Kijowska, Małgorzata Foremniak, Marek Kalita, Wojciech Zieliński, Przemysław Bluszcz, and Piotr Głowacki. The Red Spider was produced by MD4 Mental Disorder 4, co-produced by Fog’n’DesireFilms (Czech Republic), SokolKollar (Slovakia), Orange Polska, the Krakow Festival Office, the Krakow Film Commission, and Zentropa Int Poland. The film was also co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, the Krakow Regional Film Fund, as well as film funds from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The review of The Red Spider in Variety.

The review of The Red Spider in CineCola.

Video from the press conference of The Red Spider which took place 6.07.2015.

Anca Damian’s Czarodziejska góra (The Magic Mountain)

Czarodziejska góra (The Magic Mountain), a Polish-French-Romanian documentary film directed by Anca Damian, is the story of the remarkable Adam Jacek Winkler — a true individualist who believed that his guileless personality was not unlike that of Koziołek Matołek from the classic children’s book. With his firm belief in the anticommunist resistance movement, Winkler emigrated from Poland in 1965, settling in Paris, where he became an active fighter against communism. Upon learning of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, he joined the Afghan forces and fought under Ahmad Shah Massoud. The Magic Mountain was produced by Aparte Films, co-produced by Filmograf, SMF and Arizona Productions, and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, Telewizja Polska, KFF, CNC France, CNC Romania, and HBO Romania.

Three Polish Debuts in East of the West Competition

Karlovy Vary’s ‘East of the West’ competition for films by first- and second-time directors from Central and Eastern Europe, will screen twelve titles, including several Polish productions and co-productions. The opening film in this section will be Droga do Rzymu (The Journey to Rome), the feature debut by director Tomasz Mielnik. Karlovy Vary will also mark the world premiere of Chemia (Chemo), the directing debut of acclaimed cinematographer Bartek Prokopowicz. The third Polish project in the ‘East of the West’ competition will be Między nami dobrze jest (No Matter How Hard We Tried) by stage director Grzegorz Jarzyna.

Droga do Rzymu (The Journey to Rome)

This project received special mention at the Works-in-Progress presentation at the 2014 Karlovy Vary IFF.  A comedy, The Journey to Rome is a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the most serious of subjects. Vasek is a shy man in his thirties. Because of a certain Redhead Beauty, he steals a painting from the National Gallery in Prague and sets off on a journey to the Eternal City in disguise. Chased by the antique shop owners and the police, he crosses paths with some extraordinary characters. The film was produced by the Czech company Background Films, co-produced by EasyBusyProductions and Weronika Czołnowska, Czech Television, FAMU, and Magic-Lab.

The review of The Journey to Rome in Screen Daily. 

The review of The Journey to Rome in Cineuropa.

Chemia (Chemo)

The film is inspired by the true story of Magdalena Prokopowicz, founder of the Rak’n’Roll foundation.

The film was produced by Filmokracja, co-produced by HBO Europe, Vue Movie Distribution, Film Produkcja, Film Ilumination, Aeroplan, and DI Factory. Chemo was also co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.

The review of Chemo in Variety.

Między nami dobrze jest (No Matter How Hard We Tried)

An adaptation of Dorota Masłowska’s stage play known under the same title. The film’s central characters are three women living below the poverty line in a cramped Warsaw studio apartment — the Glum Old Lady, her daughter Halina, and her granddaughter, the Little Metal Girl. Grzegorz Jarzyna’s film is the story of Polish society in the age of transformation. It is a story filled with grotesque dialogues, compiled almost entirely of pop-cultural slogans, mocking advertising newspeak and the language of fashion magazines, tabloids, and national stereotypes. The film was produced by TR Warszawa, co-produced by the National Audiovisual Institute and Fundacja Generacja TR Warszawa. The film was also co-financed by the National Audiovisual Institute and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

Europa Cinemas Label

Films screening in Main Competition and in the East of the West competition are also eligible for the Europa Cinemas Label award. This award has been presented annually since 2003 by members of Europa Cinemas at five major international film festivals: in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Karlovy Vary, and Locarno. Europa Cinemas members award films that then have an opportunity for wide theatrical distribution across Europe.

Polish Films Screening Out of Competition

According to information published on the festival website, the lineup of the Horizons section will feature Małgorzata Szumowska’s BODY/CIAŁO. Horizons focuses on films awarded at major international film festivals and other recent productions from around the world. Karlovy Vary’s Another View section that focuses on films presenting a unique artistic vision will screen Magnus von Horn’s feature debut Intruz (The Here After), which premiered in Cannes earlier this year.

Works in Progress

15 projects will be presented in the Works in Progress section of the festival, including three projects from Poland. The first of these is Kuba Czekaj’s Królewicz Olch, a film produced by Munk Studio and the Polish Filmmakers Association. The second film with Polish involvement is Ausma, a co-production between Latvia, Estonia and Poland, directed by Laila Pakalnina. The film’s Polish co-producers are Staron-Film and Miracle Worker. Polish talent on board includes cinematographer Wojciech Staroń and costume designer Natalia Czeczott. One of the lead roles is played by Polish actor Wiktor Zborowski. Part of the filming took place in Poland. The third selected project is Rosa, a film by director Denijal Hasanovic. Rosa is a co-production between Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Croatia. The film’s Polish producer is Skorpion Arte. One of the members of the Works in Progress jury is Polish sales agent Jan Naszewski of New Europe Film Sales. The Works in Progress presentation took place on July 6.

Docu Talents from the East 2015

One of the documentary projects that have a chance to be presented to industry experts at the festival within the framework of the Docu Talents from the East 2015 programme is Kiedy wrócisz, a project directed by Anna Zamęcka and produced by Otter Films and Wajda Studio. The Docu Talents from the East 2015 presentation is scheduled for July 7.

Further details about the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival are available at: www.kviff.com.

Marta Sikorska

Translated by Karolina Kołtun