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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.


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Twenty Narrative Features To Compete 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 the American Independent Dramatic Features that will compete for an Audience Award, with a cash prize of USD$10,000 and a chance at Eastern European distribution. The program in the SPECTRUM section of the Festival is drawn from films that made strong impressions at such film festivals as Cannes, Sundance, South By Southwest (SXSW), Tribeca, Los Angeles and other festivals that highlight American indie films. Seven of the films are European Premieres and all are having their first showings in Poland. 

“We had so many films interested in being part of our inaugural event that it was hard to choose”, AFF Artistic  Director Urszula Sniegowska stated. “However, I think that we have assembled a very strong program of titles that show the energy and imagination of contemporary American independent filmmaking. We look forward to introducing these films to our public and in stimulating interest in them from distributors and programmers.”  

 

The twenty dramatic feature films in alphabetical order include: A NY THING (director: Olivier Lécot, Polish Premiere), a New York-set contemporary comedy starring American indie darling Greta Gerwig. ALL MY FRIENDS ARE FUNERAL SINGERS(Tim Rutili, Polish Premiere), a magical realist musical thriller that wowed audiences at the Sundance Film Festival; DON’T GO IN THE WOODS (Vincent D'Onofrio, European Premiere), an off-beat musical horror film that is the feature film directorial debut of the celebrated character actor of such films as FULL METAL JACKET and THE PLAYER; and GAIA(Jason Lehel, European Premiere), a compelling drama of grief, loss and redemption that premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.  

 

Other competition films include: HELLO LONESOME (Adam Reid, European Premiere), an astonishing Cdirectorial debut about the longing for love and fulfillment among six different characters that made a major impression at the Los Angeles Film Festival; HOMEWRECKER (aka THE LOCKSMITH) (Brad Barnes, European Premiere), a breezy romantic comedy about a prisoner on work release and the temptations he faces that got a standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival; LUCKY LIFE (Lee Isaac Chung, Polish Premiere), a strong drama about a group of friends who rally for one of their own who is facing a terminal cancer diagnosis that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival; NIGHT CATCHES US (Tanya Hamilton, Polish Premiere), a young man’s political awakening in 1970s Philadelphia makes a striking directorial debut that won over critics and audiences at the Sundance Film Festival; and ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS (Michael Mohan, European Premiere), a slacker comedy of a young man who lives in a church was an audience sensation when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. 

 

Also in the mix are PAPER HEART (Nick Jasenovec, Polish Premiere), a touching mockumentary which follows actress/comedienne Charlyne Li as she travels across America to discover the true nature of love that won a Best Screenplay prize at Sundance; PASSENGER PIGEONS (Martha Stephens, European Premiere), a powerful drama of interweaving storylines set in the dark hills of Appallachia that was one of the most talked about films at the South By Southwest film festival; SPORK (J. B. Ghuman Jr, Polish Premiere), a colorful musical pastiche about surviving high school with a great cast of young talents shaking their groove things; THE EXTRA MAN (Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, Polish Premiere), a quirky comedy starring Kevin Kline as a professional ladies man who takes an innocent young playwright (played by Paul Dano) under his wing in New York City; THE HAPPY POET (Paul Gordon, Polish Premiere), an organic and vegetarian comedy set in Austin, Texas about a young man who opens his own health food stand; THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER (David R. Mitchell, Polish Premiere), the winner of a Special Jury Award at SXSW for its ensemble cast, which captures the comedy and drama of friends on the final weekend of summer;  and TINY FURNITURE (Lena Dunham, Polish Premiere), a delightful comedy drama about a young woman’s search for herself that won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW and has been a hit on the film festival circuit.  

 

Rounding out the competition are TWO GATES OF SLEEP (Alistair Banks Griffin, Polish Premiere), a road movie about two brothers looking to honor the final request of their dead mother, which was one of the only few American indies at this year’s Cannes Film Festival; (UNTITLED) (Jonathan Parker, Polish Premiere), an uproarious satire on the contemporary New York art scene with a great cast led by Adam Goldberg; WE ARE THE SEA (Neil Truglio, European Premiere), a strikingly written and acted drama about a young man's struggles to find his place in the world; and WINTER’S BONE   (Debra Granik, Polish Premiere), winner of the Grand Jury Prize and Best Screenplay at the Sundance Film Festival and featuring an Oscar-worthy performance by Jennifer Lawrence.  

 

The American Film Festival will announce the Documentary Features that will compete for an Audience Award with a cash prize of $5000 in our next press release. In addition, the Festival, which will be held from October 20 to 24 in the cultural heritage city of Wroclaw, Poland, will host the most complete retrospective of American director/screenwriter/actor John Cassavetes ever presented in the region. The AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL is organized by the New Horizons Association, which also presents the ERA NEW HORIZONS International Film Festival (www.enh.pl) in July, named by the Polish Film Institute as the most important film event in the country. For more information, visit: www.americanfilmfestival.pl

 

Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Dailies Editor

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