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American Film Festival

The inaugural American Film Festival will be held in the heritage town of Wroclaw, Poland from October 20 to 24, 2010. It is the first film event in Eastern Europe exclusively devoted to contemporary and classic American cinema.


John Cassavetes Retrospective At American Film Festival


The AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL (AFF), the first film event in Eastern Europe solely devoted to the works of contemporary and classic American cinema, has announced that it will present the most complete retrospective of American director/screenwriter/actor John Cassavetes ever presented in the region. The first edition of the AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL ( will be held from October 20 to 24, 2010 in the cultural heritage city of Wroclaw, Poland (featured in the New York Times as one of the hot travel destinations in Europe). The event is being organized by the New Horizons Association, which also presents the ERA NEW HORIZONS International Film Festival ( in July, named by the Polish Film Institute as the most important film event in the country.  

John Cassavetes is recognized as the ‘father of American indie film’, AFF Artistic  Director Urszula Sniegowska stated. “Therefore, it is completely appropriate that we honor this unique artist’s contribution to cinema as a ground-breaking pioneer in an event that is completely devoted to American cinema.” The Festival will screen all twelve of Cassavetes’ directorial works, including his astonishing debut SHADOWS from 1959 to his final underappreciated masterwork BIG TROUBLE released in 1986. The series will include the two films he did in the early 1960s under the Hollywood studio system (TOO LATE BLUES in 1961 and A CHILD IS WAITING in 1962), experiences that were so negative for him that he became a confirmed independent maverick from then on. Highlighting the series will be the films he made with his actress wife and muse Gena Rowlands, including such classics as FACES (1968), MINNIE AND MOSKOWITZ (1971), A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE (1974), OPENING NIGHT (1977), GLORIA (1980), and LOVE STREAMS (1984). 

As an added treat, acclaimed  indie actor Seymour Cassel, considered one of the important voices in Cassavetes’ ensemble of performers, will be a special guest of the Festival, offering personal insights and colorful stories about what it was like working with the film master. Cassel, who has appeared in more than 100 films in a gloriously eccentric and varied career, will be present for the screenings of the films with which he collaborated with Cassavetes, including TOO LATE BLUES (1961), FACES (1968), MINNIE AND MOSKOWITZ (1971), THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE (1976),  OPENING NIGHT (1977) and LOVE STREAMS (1984).  

Other Cassavetes-written and directed titles featured in the series include the male-bonding dramedy HUSBANDS (1970) and the backstage theatrical drama OPENING NIGHT (1977). Cassavetes also will be feted for his acting career, that encompassed a wide ranging genre of film and television roles, including two standouts that will be screened at the Festival: ROSEMARY’S BABY (1969), director Roman Polanski’s fanciful witches-in-New-York tale and THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967), an uber-war film directed with macho brio by Robert Aldrich. 

“With his dedication to his craft and his pioneering commitment to making emotionally honest films outside the studio system, Cassavetes inspired both his contemporaries in the US and Europe, as well as a whole generation of film artists that would emerge and define the American independent film movement of the 1970s onward.” AFF Artistic  Director Urszula Sniegowska concluded.His influence continues to be felt and it is with great pleasure that we present this retrospective that will demonstrate the artistry, the verve and the nerve of this unique and singular film auteur.” 

For more information on the inaugural AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL, visit the Festival’s website: or the Festival’s Online Dailies:



Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor  


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