Polish Films at the 40th TIFF

Several Polish productions and co-productions co-financed by the Polish Film Institute will screen at the upcoming 40th Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from September 10 through September 20, 2015.

11 minut (11 Minutes) in Masters section

photo by Robert Jaworski, Skopia Film

The same eleven minutes in the lives of various protagonists are shown through parallel storylines. Before the last second of the eleventh minute is up, their fates are brought together by an event that will have a huge impact on their lives.

11 minut (11 Minutes) was written and directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, lensed by Mikołaj Łebkowski, and features performances by Andrzej Chyra, Dawid Ogrodnik, Wojciech Mecwaldowski, Agata Buzek, Jan Nowicki, Piotr Głowacki, Richard Dormer, and Ifi Ude. Skolimowski’s latest feature will screen in TIFF’s ‘Masters’ section, which showcases a total of 13 films, including the latest projects by Wim Wenders and Marco Bellocchio.

International Co-Production Co-Financed by the Polish Film Institute

11 minut (11 Minutes) was made as a co-production between Poland and Ireland. The film was produced by Skopia Film, co-produced by Element Pictures, Telewizja Polska, Orange, HBO, and Fundacja Tumult. The film was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, Eurimages, and the Irish Film Board. 11 minut (11 Minutes) will have its world premiere screening in Main Competition of the Venice International Film Festival.

The New Film from Marcin Wrona

Piotr, or ‘Python,’ as his friends call him, (played by Itay Tiran, known for his performance in Lebanon), comes to Poland from England to marry the beautiful Żaneta (Agnieszka Żulewska). He plans to build a nest for himself and his bride in the old house he receives as a gift from his future father-in-law (Andrzej Grabowski). Things become complicated when, a day before the wedding, Piotr finds human remains buried on the premises. Meanwhile the celebrations begin. Wedding guests, including Żaneta’s brother (Tomasz Schuchardt), notice that something strange starts happening to the groom.

In addition to the actors mentioned above, Demon features performances by Adam Woronowicz, Włodzimierz Press and Cezary Kosiński. The film was lensed by Paweł Flis and scored by Marcin Macuk, with additional pieces by Krzysztof Penderecki.  The script was written by Marcin Wrona and Paweł Maślona. Demon was produced by Magnet Man Film, co-produced by TransFax Film Productions, The Chimney Pot, Wajda Studio, the Krakow Festival Office, Instytucja Filmowa Silesia-Film, and Lava Films.

World Premiere

Photo courtesy of Magnet Man Film

Marcin Wrona’s latest feature will screen in Toronto’s Vanguard section. This series of screenings was introduced in 2006 by then deputy festival director Noah Cowan. The Vanguard sidebar was designed for “hitting the audiences with a raw, pulsating aesthetic that speaks to […] cultural and cinematic freedoms,” and showcasing films that are “edgy, irreverent, […] and have a palpable, youthful zing.” In 2010, the Vanguard lineup featured Marcin Wrona’s earlier feature Chrzest (The Christening).

BODY/CIAŁO in TIFF Special Presentations

photo by Michał Englert

Małgorzata Szumowska’s feature BODY/CIAŁO will screen as one of Toronto’s Special Presentations, alongside such films as The Club by Pablo Larrain, The Danish Girl by Tom Hooper, Dheepan by Jacques Audiard, The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos, Lauder Than Bombs by Joachim Trier, and My Mother by Nanni Moretti.

BODY/CIAŁO is not the first of Małgorzata Szumowska’s films to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2011, TIFF marked the world premiere of Szumowska’s feature Sponsoring (Elles), while the lineup of the 2008 edition of the festival featured her film 33 sceny z życia (33 Scenes from Life).

Małgorzata Szumowska will also take part in the 12th Toronto Talent Lab (September 8-12) as one of the artistic supervisors for 20 emerging filmmakers, together with Wim Wenders and Jim Stark.

The screenplay for BODY/CIAŁO was written by Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert, who also lensed the film. BODY/CIAŁO stars Janusz Gajos, Justyna Suwała and Maja Ostaszewska, with supporting performances by Tomasz Ziętek, Ewa Dałkowska, Adam Woronowicz, and Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik. The film was produced by Nowhere, co-produced by Kino Świat, D35 and the Warsaw Mazovia Film Fund. World sales are handled by Memento Films International. BODY/CIAŁO was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. The film had its world premiere screening in Main Competition at the Berlin IFF and Małgorzata Szumowska received the Silver Bear for Best Director.

The Here After in the Discovery Section

Photo courtesy of Lava Films

Intruz (The Here After), a Polish-Swedish co-production directed by Magnus von Horn and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, will screen in TIFF’s Discovery section as one of 30 films from around the world. “Discovery is the place where festival audiences will find the future of filmmaking. You can expect to uncover thrilling new voices, inspiring storytellers and hidden gems among this fantastic showcase of work from […] around the world,” says Cameron Bailey, artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival. Intruz (The Here After) had its world premiere at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival.

A Polish-Swedish Co-Production

Intruz (The Here After) combines Scandinavian aesthetics and storytelling with the emotional baggage often found in Polish cinema. Magnus von Horn was born in Sweden, but his film — while set in Sweden — was itself brought to life in Poland. The film marks a double debut for director Magnus von Horn and producer Mariusz Włodarski.

The project was developed within the framework of Passion to Market, a series of workshops for graduates of three European film schools: the Łódź Film School, The National Film and Television School in London, and La Fémis in Paris. Passion to Market is co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.

Debut Film Supported by the Polish Film Institute

The film was produced by Mariusz Włodarski (Lava Films) and Madeleine Ekman (Zentropa International Sweden), co-produced by Cinema Defacto (France), Opus Film (Poland) and Film I Vast (Sweden). The Here After features performances by Ulrik Munther, Mats Blomgren, Alexander Nordgren, and Wiesław Komasa. The film was lensed by Łukasz Żal.

Intruz (The Here After) was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, the Swedish Film Institute, CNC and Eurimages. The film will be released theatrically in Poland in the fall of 2015. World sales are handled by TrustNordisk.

7 owiec (7 Sheep) in Short Cuts Competition

photo courtesy of CPH:DOX

7 owiec (7 Sheep), the latest film by director Wiktoria Szymańska, will have its world premiere screening in TIFF’s Short Cuts competition. This short feature tells the story of a little girl entrusted to an old shepherd. The girl begins exploring a world that is close to nature, filled with magic and extraordinary games with animals. A bond of friendship forms between her and the elderly shepherd — a bond that slowly replaces loneliness.

7 owiec (7 Sheep) is a Polish/Mexican/British co-production developed at CPH:Lab and Buenos Aires Lab. Filmed in Mexico, 7 owiec (7 Sheep) was lensed and co-produced by Mexican cinematographer Martin Boege, produced by Luna W, and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.

The Short Cuts competition was first introduced at last year’s edition of the Toronto International Film Festival. 7 owiec (7 Sheep) will screen alongside 42 other short films from around the world.

Wojciech Bąkowski’s Animated Film in Wavelengths Section

The lineup of Toronto’s Wavelengths section features Analiza wzruszeń i rozdrażnień (Analysis of Emotions and Vexations) by Wojciech Bąkowski. The Toronto screening will mark the film’s world premiere.

Polish Films in Toronto

Over the last few years, films co-financed by the Polish Film Institute have enjoyed regular presence at the Toronto International Film Festival, recommended to Canadian and global audiences by festival director Piers Handling. The TIFF lineup in past years has featured Paweł Pawlikowski’s Ida, Agnieszka Holland’s W ciemności (In Darkness), Małgorzata Szumowska’s Sponsoring (Elles), Wojciech Smarzowski’s Róża (Rosa), Katarzyna Rosłaniec’s Galerianki (Mall Girls) and Bejbi Blues (Baby Blues), Andrzej Jakimowski’s Imagine, and Marcin Wrona’s Chrzest (The Christening). Jerzy Skolimowski’s previous feature Essential Killing was also presented to TIFF audiences in 2010, alongside nine other films in the Masters section of the festival.

The Toronto International Film Festival is considered to be one of the key film events in North America. The festival showcases the latest trends in world cinema. A new initiative at this year’s edition is the Platform competition for film directors. Agnieszka Holland will be one of the jurors.

This year’s edition of the Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 10 through September 20.

Futher details about the 40th TIFF are available at www.tiff.net.

Marta Sikorska, Paulina Bez

Translated by Karolina Kołtun