Thursday, November 24, 2011

Poland and Post-Poland...

Obviously, I didn't post anything during our trip to Wroclaw. Our accommodations were absolutely top-notch--including wireless access in our hotel room, so that's not an excuse. We were just kept really busy the whole time we were there for the "Gotham in Progress" European sales and distribution market.

This was the first iteration of GiP, which was a sidebar event at The American Film Festival, which is itself a subsidiary festival of New Horizons. And it's a truly impressive organization. Incredibly well-organized by some genuinely lovely people. They're developing an amazing infrastructure and audience for independent films in Poland.

We arrived a couple days early to get over jetlag and see a bit of the city (and also to celebrate my birthday). It was too late in the year for mushrooms, but we did walk through a lovely botanical garden that was just settling in for a long winter.

Our first day we did this print interview (our responses were translated to Polish by the interviewer) with a local film news website, and then this video interview with the largest newspaper in Poland. 

The market itself was two full days of screenings--seven full-length features and four 30-minute excerpts. The audience was comprised of an assortment of European producers, sales agent reps (including Goldcrest and Wild Bunch), regional distributors, and festival programmers (including Berlinale and Cannes Critic's Week). 

There were some really great films shown in the market. Julia and I were particularly taken with Stones in the Sun directed by Patricia Benoit and produced by Karin Chien and Ben Howe.

Our film was the last feature of the first day--we were nervous that the audience might be exhausted after already watching three previous features and an excerpt. But Now, Forager played very well and people seemed to enjoy it. We had lots of great chats with our fellow filmmakers and different industry reps afterwards--some really smart, passionate, and friendly people. It was a huge relief.

We also met Todd Solondz and had some interesting talks with him. He was there for a retrospective of his work at the American Film Festival. Really engaging guy--and he even told us that he'd heard good things about our film. Who knew that the mushroom buzz would reach that far?

So, to make a long story short--we were awarded a prize (Special Jury Recognition) and with that comes $20K in titling and credits from Alvernia Studios in Warsaw. Pretty sweet.

We also took meetings with several sales reps, distributors, and producers who liked the film and want to work with us (possibly on our next film, Lumberjunkies). Plus the reps from Cannes and Berlin both liked the movie and want to present it to their programming committees. 

Since getting back to Austin, it's been non-stop action. Sending out screeners, answering emails, and trying to understand the nuances of international film business. It's complicated--and very different than how things are done in the US. We're having to learn a whole lot really fast. But these are problems for which we're extremely thankful. 

And we're especially thankful to Adeline, Ula, and Jan for inviting Now, Forager to "Gotham in Progress" (which will be getting a new name next year) and for being such gracious hosts. We appreciate all your support and kindness and we look forward to coming back to Poland soon.

And yesterday we received some more very good news, but we have to hold off a bit longer before we can share it. Stay tuned!