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Film Festival Tofifest highlights

 Yesterday the organisers of the International Film Festival Tofifest revealed the last secrets of the 10th edition of the event, during a press conference. Zbigniew Zamachowski shall be the chairman of the Jury of the On Air Feature Films Competition section. Krystyna Janda shall be awarded the Golden Angel of Tofifest for Artistic Insolence and Jakub Gierszal shall receive the Flisak Tofifest Film Award. This year’s special retrospective will focus on blaxploitation films and the Indian film star Smita Patil.

The festival starts on 20th October and it shall be dominated by strong women. Krystyna Janda shall receive the special award of the Tofifest Festival, Maria Peszek will start her promotional tour for the new album in Torun and Indian actress, feminist activist and icon of the Indian Parallel Cinema Smita Patil will be the heroine of the primary retrospective. On top of that, this year’s graphic identification of the festival features the image of the fourth strong woman – Pam Grier. That beautiful black actress used to be the diva of the blaxploitation genre and Quentin Tarantino has dedicated his Jackie Brown to that very actress.

Nearly 150 films from several dozen countries are going to be presented during Tofifest 2012. The main awards – Golden Angels – shall be given in 3 competitions, i.e. On Air international competition for feature films, Shortcut for short films and From Poland for Polish film productions. One of the strongest elements of this year’s programme is the two mentioned retrospectives. The first will present the figure of Smita Patil, for the first time in Europe, while the second will focus on the American blaxploitation films that were the manifestation of black Americans fighting for their rights. Another retrospective will be devoted to the New Wave of Philippine Cinema, which is virtually unknown in Poland.

The On Air Feature Films Competition will focus on international debut films and includes 11 films – 10 of them will have their Polish premieres during the IFF Tofifest in Torun. One of the most anticipated events is the screening of French-Swiss Sister (L’Enfant d’en haut) by Ursula Meier. She is a young Swiss director, who won Tofifest 2009 with her debut feature film Home. This year will witness her return to Torun with a new film that was awarded during Berlinale, in February. The screening of In the Fog (V tumane) by a Belarusian filmmaker Sergey Loznitsa is also expected to be a unique event. It is an international production that tells a story about a dramatic episode from WWII. This is another film by Loznitsa, who made his debut at Tofifest with My Joy. Other films qualified for the main competition include Hemel by Sacha Polak (The Netherlands, Spain), Kuma by Umut Dag (Austria), Peddlers / Halahal by Vasan Bala (India), Sharqiya by Ami Livne (France, Germany, Israel), For Ellen by So Yong Kim (USA), Unconditional by Bryn Higgins (Great Britain), The stoning of Saint Stephen / La lapidation de Saint Etienne by Pere Vila and Barceló (Spain, France), as well as Crawl and Made in Ash / Až Do Mesta Aš by Iveta Grófová (Slovakia, the Czech Republic).

All films will be evaluated by a jury chaired by Zbigniew Zamachowski and comprised of: director and actor Bodo Kox (Girl from the Closet), Romanian director Anca Damian (Crulic), Belgian director and winner of Tofifest 2011 Rachel Lang and film critic Piotr Kletowski. Shortcut – the other international competition – will have a jury composed of three persons: Peter Muszatics, a Hungarian director and head of the International Festival of Young Filmmakers CineFest in Miskolc; Kuba Czekaj, a Polish director of the young generation, who has received many international awards; and singer Natalia Lesz.

Many new films will have their Polish premieres in Torun, for example highly anticipated second part of the trilogy by Ulrich Seidl Paradise: Faith / Paradies: Glaube (Austria, France, Germany), but we will also be able to see some of the legendary productions, such as Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song by Melvin Van Peebles. The film was made in 1971 and it is considered to have started the blaxploitation genre.

The New Wave of Philippine Cinema section is a different type of a premiere. It has been organised in cooperation with the Philippine Cinemalays Festival and will present the newest productions from this Asian country, which are virtually unknown in Poland. The films include Captive by Brillant Mendoza, Bisperas / Trespassers by Jeffrey Jeturian, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank / The Women in the Septic Tank by Marlon Rivera, Diablo by Mesa de Guzman, Kalayaan / Wildlife by Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr. and Mga mumunting lihim / Those Little Secrets by Jose Javier Reyes.

The festival will be accompanied by numerous additional events. There will be another edition of Filmogranie, i.e. creative filmmaking workshops, intended for the children who love cinema. There will also be concerts: by the already mentioned Maria Peszek (promoting her new album Jezus Maria Peszek) and by the alternative band Miloopa (in Lizard King), while some of the pubs and clubs from Torun will host film sessions of punk rock bands (Dwa Światy Club) and DJ sets (Kawalerka and Enerde clubs). Tickets for the accompanying Shirley Valentine monodrama by Krystyna Janda, who will receive a Special Golden Angel of Tofifest, have sold like hot cakes.

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