Debutantes and Veterans [an interview with Weronika Czołnowska]

Mateusz Demski
Fantastic Women

“It’s important to us to help artists and producers become known on the international stage – plan a film’s festival strategy and find international partners,” says Weronika Czołnowska, coordinator of the most important festival industry events: New Horizons Studio, US in Progress, as well as Polish Days.

Mateusz Demski: What is Polish Days?

Weronika Czołnowska: Polish Days is our most important industry event at the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival. On August 8-10, industry representatives from around the world– sales agents, distributors and film festival programmers – attend closed screenings to watch the latest Polish films at all stages of production, including completed films and fragments in postproduction, as well as taking part in pitching sessions for projects in development.

What are you showing this year? 

This year’s selection includes many debuts, which makes us very happy. International and Polish industry reps will see films such as “Panic Attack” by Paweł Maślona, “Tower. A Bright Day” by Jagoda Szelc, “Thrice Falls The Saint” by Jacek Januszyk, “Wild Roses” by Anna Jadowska and “The Reconciliation” by Maciej Sobieszczański. The section with films in development includes 11 projects, with some familiar directors such as Borys Lankosz, Jan Komasa, Kuba Czekaj, as well as Magnus von Horn, who showed his last film at a prior edition of Polish Days. Acclaimed filmmakers are also included in the Work in Progress section. Here, the latest films from some well-known directors will be presented, including those by Magdalena Łazarkiewicz (“Back Home”), Dorota Kędzierzawska (“Speedway”), Łukasz Palkowski (“The Fastest”) and Bartosz Konopka (“The Mute”).

In other words it’s mishmash. What was your key to choosing films this year? 

There were several conditions to qualify for Polish Days. First, we’re talking about pre-premiere productions, i.e. those that have not been premiered anywhere in the world. Second, these are projects that don’t have sales agents yet. It’s important to us to help artists and producers become known on the international stage – plan a film’s festival strategy and find international partners.

Are platforms like Polish Days really needed by Polish filmmakers?

Of course, and the previous editions are the best evidence of that. Polish Days, co-organized with the Polish Film Institute is an industry event with an excellent track record, which includes “Spoor” by Agnieszka Holland, “The Last Family” by Jan P. Matuszyński, “The Erlprince” by Kuba Czekaj, “I’m a Killer” by Maciej Pieprzyca, “All Those Sleepless Nights” by Michał Marczak, “City 44” by Jan Komasa, “Floating Skyscrapers” by Tomasz Wasilewski, “You Are God” by Leszek Dawid, “Gods” by Łukasz Palkowski, “Wałęsa. Man of Hope” by Andrzej Wajda and “Obywatel” [Citizen] by Jerzy Stuhr. That list speaks for itself.

It is impressive. Despite your previous success, have you tried to refresh your approach? 

Together with Marcin Pieńkowski, the festival’s programming director, we decided that no big changes were needed. The only change is to expand our cooperation to include more film commissions. These now include film commissions from Wrocław, Krakow, the Sub-Carpathian Film Commission, Mazovian Film Fund, and the Lodz Film Commission. Their involvement at this year’s edition is important for future coproductions. International producers invited to Polish Days can now come back to the Polish Film Institute and the film commissions with new projects.

Your previous experience in coordinating industry events, festival programming and film production must have been useful.

This is my debut at Polish Days, so our guests will ultimately evaluate my work. But it seems to me that my prior experience gives me a good idea of what producers need, as well as the functioning of the international market. That certainly helped in working on Polish Days.

Interview by: Mateusz Demski


Mateusz Demski

Urodzony w 1993 roku. Publikuje między innymi w "Czasie Kultury”, "Dzienniku Zachodnim”, "Popmodernie", "artPapierze" i "Reflektorze”. W wolnych chwilach poszerza kolekcję gadżetów z "Gwiezdnych Wojen”.

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