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Warsaw Film Festival kicks off

The 38th edition of the Warsaw Film Festival (WFF) inaugurates on Friday featuring a staggering number of 150 movies.

This year’s edition pays special attention to Ukrainian cinema, as the WFF joins artistic and logistic forces with the Odesa International Film Festival to organise a Ukrainian movie competition.

“Everything began in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea. It was already at that time that we were acquainted with the organisers of the Odesa festival,” Stefan Laudyn, director of the Warsaw Film Festival, told the Polish Press Agency (PAP). “Following the annexation of Crimea, we invited a group of Ukrainian filmmakers to Warsaw. They, in turn, invited their Polish colleagues to Odesa.

“We continue the cooperation in a natural way. When it became certain that the war and falling bombs would prevent the festival from taking place in Odesa, we invited [the Ukrainian filmmakers] along with the entire Ukrainian contest to Warsaw,” Mr Laudyn said.

A total of 11 feature movies and seven short features will be screened as part of the Ukrainian movie contest. They will be assessed by a top-notch jury comprising of producer, director and screenwriter Dariusz Jabłoński, screenwriter and producer Ilona Łepkowska, and Ukrainian producer Ivanna Diadiura.

“The programme features movies, which have already been screened at other foreign and Polish festivals. These include Maryna Er Gorbach’s ‘Klondike’ and Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk’s ‘Pamfir’,” Mr Laudyn said, adding that “apart from the said movies, we also have Volodymyr Tykhyy’s ‘One Day in Ukraine’ and Iriyna Tsilyk’s ‘Rock. Paper. Grenade’, the latter of which also features in the international competition.”

The International Competition

The festival will be inaugurated on Friday evening with the screening of “Dangerous Men” by Maciej Kawalski which, Mr Laudyn hastens to stress, “is not a costume movie,” contrary to what its description.

“Dangerous Men brings together the magic of cinema and an element of madness, which I daresay is particularly familiar to me. It’s a fantastic moving picture with an all-star cast, featuring Tomasz Kot, Marcin Dorociński, Andrzej Seweryn and Wojciech Mecwaldowski, who impersonate prominent figures of the Polish 20th-century culture – Tadeusz ‘Boy’ Żeleński, Witkacy, Joseph Conrad and Bronisław Malinowski… The plot begins at a moment when the gentlemen, after a boozy night, wake up in the early hours of the morning in [the famous Polish mountain resort of] Zakopane,” Mr Laudyn recounted.

A total of 15 movies qualified for the international competition.

Check out the general list of movies screened during the Warsaw Film Festival here.

The international competition winners will be singled out by a jury consisting of American director and producer Camille Hardman, Polish producer Ewa Puszczyńska, Chinese producer and screenwriter Zhaowei Zhang, US-based Romanian director Bogdan George Apetri, and Slovak film journalist and sociologist Ladislav Volko.

Apart from the staple “1-2”, “Free Spirit”, “Documentary” and “Shorts” competitions, this year’s edition of the festival introduces “Creme de la Creme” competition open to movies that have already been appreciated at other festivals.

Festival-goers will be able to watch also movies that have already been screened during previous editions of the event.

A “Family Film Weekend” section has been dedicated to the youngest visitors. As part of this bloc, youngsters will be able to enjoy both feature and short child movies.

The festival will conclude on October 23. Tickets are available for purchase in Atlantic and Multikino Złote Tarasy cinemas, as well as on the official website of the WFF, Emipk Bilety webpage and via the Going app.

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