Polish Filmmakers at the 66th Cannes IFF
May 15 marks the launch of the 66th edition of the Cannes International Film Festival. The festival lineup features four films co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. The Cannes International Film Festival runs through May 26.
Roman Polański’s Film in Main Competition
La Vénus à la fourrure (Venus in Fur), directed by Roman Polański and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, will screen in Main Competition, competing for the Palme d’Or against the latest films from the Coen brothers, Asghar Farhadi, Steven Soderbergh, and Nicolas Refn. The Main Competition entries will be judged by jury members: Steven Spielberg (head of the jury), Vidya Balan, Naomi Kawase, Nicole Kidman, Lynne Ramsay, Daniel Auteuil, Ang Lee, Cristian Mungiu, and Christoph Waltz. The world premiere of Venus in Fur is scheduled for May 25.
Venus in Fur
The erotic black comedy Venus in Fur is an adaptation of a play by David Ives, who also co-wrote the screenplay. The film’s main protagonist, Thomas, is a director looking to cast the female lead in his latest play. None of the actresses meets his requirements, and just as Thomas is about to give up, Vanda, a real hurricane of unpredictable and sexy energy, bursts into the theatre. At first she appears to possess all the faults that annoy Thomas; she is insolent, ill-mannered, desperate, and unprepared. But once Thomas reluctantly agrees to give her a chance, Vanda undergoes a spectacular transformation, and the director soon falls for her completely.
A Film Co-Financed by the Polish Film Institute
Venus in Fur was made in co-production between France and Poland. The film was produced by R.P. Productions, with Monolith Films as the co-producer and distributor on the Polish side. This is the second project by Roman Polański to be co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. The lead roles were played by Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Seigner. Venus in Fur was lensed by Polish cinematographer Paweł Edelman. World sales are handled by Lionsgate.
This year’s Special Screenings at the Cannes Film Festival will feature another film by Roman Polański: the 1971 documentary Weekend of a Champion. This film was co-directed by Roman Polański and Frank Simon.
Venus in Fur Screening Dates:
- May 25, 8.30am, Palais des Festivals – press screening
- May 25, 7.00pm, Palais des Festivals – premiere screening, attended by the filmmakers
Weekend of a Champion Screening Dates:
- May 22, 7.45pm, Palais des Festivals, Salle du Soixantième- screening attended by the filmmakers
Ari Folman’s The Congress to Open Directors’ Fortnight
The Congress, directed by Ari Folman and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, will be the opening film of this year’s Directors’ Fortnight (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs). The film’s world premiere will take place place on May 16.
An Adaptation of the Writings of Stanisław Lem
The screenplay was based on Stanisław Lem’s novel “Kongres futurologiczny” (“The Futurological Congress”), first published in 1971. The Congress tells the story of an actress (Robin Wright) who signs a contract with a film studio, selling her identity. As a result, the studio will now have the rights to use her virtual image in future productions. 20 years later, the contract is up for renegotiation. But by then the situation has changed dramatically. The film studio has been bought by a pharmaceutical mogul that wants to transform the identity of the actress into a drug that is to be sold globally.
A New Project by the Author of Waltz with Bashir
Ari Folman is the director of the animated feature documentary Waltz with Bashir (2008), which screened in Main Competition in Cannes. The film has received wide international acclaim, including a Golden Globe Award. Folman’s latest film The Congress, lensed by Polish cinematographer Michał Englert, is a feature film combining live-action with animation techniques. Leading roles were played by internationally-acclaimed actors: Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel, Paul Giamatti, Danny Huston, Jon Hamm, Francis Fisher, Sami Gayle, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. David Polonsky, who previously collaborated with Ari Folman on Waltz with Bashir, was responsible for production design. The animation department was led by Yoni Godman.
International Co-Production Co-Financed by the Polish Film Institute
The Congress is an international co-production produced by Opus Film (Poland), Pandora Film (Germany), Bridgit Folman Film Gang (Israel), ARP Selection (France), Entre Chien et Loup (Belgium), and Paul Thiltges Distribution (Luxembourg). Institutions that provided co-financing include the Polish Film Institute and the Silesian Film Fund. Animation work on the project was done at Orange Studio in Bielsko-Biała. World sales are handled by The Match Factory from Germany.
The Congress Screening Dates:
- May 16, 9.00am, Théâtre Croisette – press screening, attended by the filmmakers
- May 16, 7.30pm, Théâtre Croisette – premiere screening, attended by the filmmakers
- May 17, 2.00pm, Le Raimu – screening
- May 17, 7.30pm, Studio 13 – screening
- May 18, 10.30pm, Arcades 1 – screening
Polish Short Films
The short feature Olena, directed by Elżbieta Benkowska, will screen in the Short Film Competition. This film, produced at the Gdynia Film School, tells the story of Olena and Dima, a young Ukrainian couple traveling across Poland on their way to Sweden. Their wallet gets stolen on the train. During a struggle with Dima, the thief throws Olena’s passport out on the train tracks. They need to find it before the departure of the ferry.
Films Judged by a Jury Led by Jane Campion
The animated film Danse Macabre, directed by Małgorzata Rżanek, graduate of the Graphic Design Department of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, will screen alongside 17 other student films in the Cinéfondation section of the festival. Danse Macabre is a rhythmically hypnotic essay on death that will inevitably invite every single one of us to that final dance. Films in both competition sections will be judged by jury members: Jane Campion (head of the jury), Maji-da Abdi, Nicoletta Braschi, Nandita Das, and Semih Kaplanoglu.
Olena and Danse Macabre Screening Dates:
- May 22, 11.00am, Bazin Théâtre – press screening
- May 25, 11.00am, Debussy Théâtre – premiere screening
- May 25, 3.00pm, Bunuel Théâtre
- May 23, 2.30pm, Bunuel Théâtre, 3rd Programme – premiere screening
Producers on the Move 2013
Agnieszka Kurzydło, producer of such films as the Berlinale-award winning W imię… (In the Name Of…) by Małgorzata Szumowska and Bejbi Blues (Baby Blues) by Katarzyna Rosłaniec (Crystal Bear Award), as well as two new Polish feature productions Czerwony pająk by Marcin Koszałka and Kebab i horoskop by Grzegorz Jaroszuk, has been selected as one of the participants in the prestigious ‘Producers on the Move’ programme. The 14th edition of this programme, organized in Cannes by the European Film Promotion with support from the MEDIA programme, will be attended by 29 young producers from across Europe. Participation in ‘Producers on the Move’ is aimed at business networking and building a system of professional contacts that have an increasing influence on the European film industry.
The programme of this year’s ninth edition of the Producers Network, a programme aimed at film producers, features a special section dedicated to Polish cinema. On May 22, during the Polish Day, guests will have an opportunity to become familiar with the Polish system of financial support for filmmaking, as well as regulations for co-production with Poland, which will be presented by Izabela Kiszka-Hoflik of the Polish Film Institute.
The meeting organized on the Polish Day will be attended by five producers from Poland:
- Agnieszka Kurzydło (MD4)
- Małgorzata Jurczak (Scorpion Arte)
- Marta Laryssa Plucińska (Federico Film)
- Mikołaj Pokromski (Pokromski Studio)
- Łukasz Dzięcioł (Opus Film)
Short Film Corner
Polish short films will also screen at the tenth edition of the Short Film Corner film market in Cannes. The lineup features over 20 Polish films in three Short Film Corner sections: “Best of Łódź Film School”, “Polish Shorts” and “Shorts from Munk Studio”. Among the films that are to screen in the Short Film Corner lineup are Rogalik by Paweł Ziemilski, Indrivaren (When the Man Comes Around) by Michael Rendell and Arthur Izakowicz, Święto zmarłych by Aleksandra Terpińska, Zasady gry by Wojciech Jagiełło, Psubrat by Maria Zbąska, and Big Leap by Kristoffer Rus.
Further details available at: www.cannescourtmetrage.com.
Cannes Film Market
This year’s Cannes Film Market (Marché du Film) will feature a total of six Polish films; Płynące Wieżowce (Floating Skyscrapers) by Tomasz Wasilewski (screenings: May 16 and May 18), Sieniawka by Marcin Malaszczak (May 21), Nieulotne (Lasting) by Jacek Borcuch (May 21), W ukryciu (In Hiding) by Jan Kidawa-Błoński (May 21), Sęp (Vulture) by Eugeniusz Korin (May 18), and Układ zamknięty (Closed Circuit) by Ryszard Bugajski (May 15).
At 5.00pm on May 22, the Krzysztof Kieślowski award for best screenplay will be presented, for the seventh year running, to participants of this year’s edition of the ScripTeast workshop. Among the best screenplays from Central and Eastern Europe this year are three Polish projects: I Miss You by Małgorzata Piłacińska, Niemy (Mute) by Bartosz Konopka and Przemysław Nowakowski, and Ślady by Wiktoria Szymańska. The aim of ScripTeast, a one-year programme co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, is to select the best screenplays from the region of Eastern Europe, and enable their writers to work with acclaimed representatives of world cinema.
Further details available at: www.scripteast.pl.
The Cannes Office of the Polish Film Institute
This year, the office of the Polish Film Institute in Cannes has a new location on the ninth floor of the Grand Hotel, La Croisette 45. This will be the venue for meetings of representatives of the Polish Film Institute, producers, and other partners with representatives of the international film industry, festival programmers, world sales agents, distributors, and foreign press. The office is co-hosted by the Polish Filmmakers Association, TVP and Film Commission Poland, in partnership with: Dentons legal services, Filmmedia, Off Plus Camera, Opus Film, and Munk Studio.
Promoting Polish Cinema
The Polish office will also be the venue for a series of promotional events, including a presentation of SOFA, a programme aimed at young promoters of Eastern European cinema (sales agents and managers of projects aimed at supporting the local film industry), which will have its first edition this year in Wrocław, as well as a presentation of the DigiTraining programme, aimed at supporting the digitization of cinemas (10th edition of the programme will take place this year in Warsaw and Krakow), and a presentation of the Dentons company and its legal services, aimed at potential partners of international co-productions with Poland. The Polish office will also be the venue for presenting marketing materials for Polish films, including the New Polish Films 2013 and Production Guide Poland 2013 catalogues.
Further details about the 66th Cannes International Film Festival are available at: www.festival-cannes.com.
Maria Łętowska, Marta Sikorska
Translated by Karolina Kołtun