23rd Warsaw International Film Festival
Hungary, October 11 - October 21 2007
The Warsaw International Film Fest, organized by the Warsaw Film Foundation, celebrated its 23rd edition with two new competition sections: The “Warsaw Competition”, and “Free Spirit”. Competing for the main prize in the Warsaw Competition were 13 feature films from around the world. “Free Spirit” is a competition for independent, innovative and rebellious filmmakers. The two new prizes joined the existing “New Films, New Directors — International Competition”, the “Documentary Features Competition”, and the “Audience Award”.
Our jury awarded its prize for the best debut feature from Central and Eastern Europe to The Class (Klass) from Estonia. Directed by Ilmar Raag, the film tells the story of a taciturn teenager who endures torments and violence at the hands of his crude classmates and was the critics’ choice “because of its very good esthetical performance and socially relevant message. The story about bullying and harasment in one estonian school has been made in a very emotional way, thus pointing out that the problem of violence in the society should be taken seriously.” (Motivation)
The festival program included 190 films from 55 countries. Among them, highlights included the Opening Film (in competition), Andrzej Jakimowski’s Tricks (Sztuczki), honored at Venice; a special screening of Dorota Kedzierzawska’s Time to Die (Pora Umierac), and the closing film, Jerzy Stuhr’s Twist of Fate (Korowod). Three films were based on scripts written by children, made as part of the New Urban Legends project of the Moma Film Foundation. In addition to the movies, the festival invited our FIPRESCI jury to a journalist workshop.
New faces in the organisation are Guest Service coordinators Katarzyna Orysiak and Alejandra Leszczynska, 3rd CentEast Market Warsaw coordinator Aleksandra Klanowska and projects registration liaison Dorota Kwinta. This year’s numbers were lower than last year’s, with 87,454 admissions in 2007 compared to 92,000 in 2006 because of the replacement of the larger Relax cinema with the smaller Palladium; nevertheless, over 100 foreign filmmakers (directors, actors, producers) attended Warsaw, setting a new record. (France Hatron)