4th AFF: program

The Wait dir. M BlashThe Wait dir. M Blash
Program of the 4th American Film Festival

The 4th American Film Festival will take place in Wrocław October 22-27, 2013. Hosted by Wrocław’s New Horizons Cinema, the program of this year’s festival features screenings of 80 films, including 42 Polish, 3 European and 1 world premiere.



The Wrocław festival will be inaugurated by the newest film from American cinema master Jim Jarmusch – presented in the main competition at the festival in Cannes, the “vampire melodrama” Only Lovers Left Alive. Appearing in this long-awaited work by the creator of Down by Law, Dead Man and Broken Flowers are cinema stars Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska. The film tells the story of Adam (Hiddleston), a man who avoids fame and the light of day – an underground musician who decides after many years apart to return to his beloved Ewa (Swinton). Their relationship is tested, however, by the re-emergence of Ewa’s unpredictable sister, Ava (Wasikowska). Also included in the festival program is the documentary Behind Jim Jarmusch by Léa Rinaldi, which provides a behind-the-scenes look at this cinema legend working on set.

The festival will close with a screening of a film awarded 11 Emmys, Behind the Candelabra, produced by HBO and directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring Matt Damon and the outstanding Michael Douglas. This is the true story of the 20th century’s flamboyant entertainment giant Valentino Liberace, a fabulously wealthy man, famous singer and pianist of Polish origins who was well-loved by the public.

The section Highlights will also feature other new, widely promoted productions such as At Any Price by acclaimed director Ramin Bahrani, presented in Venice and depicting the story of a father (Dennis Quaid) and son (Zac Efron) in conflict; a film inspired by the writing of William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying, directed by James Franco (also appearing in the starring role); All Is Lost by J.C. Chandor, featuring Robert Redford as a wandering sailor fighting to survive alone on the open sea; and The Fifth Estate by Bill Condon – a political thriller about the founders of WikiLeaks that was very well-received at the Toronto Film Festival.




Spectrum presents a panorama of last year’s American cinema – a discovery of new artists, talents and phenomenon. In Wroclaw 16 feature films will be shown as part of this section, including the shocking film Coldwater by Vincent Grashaw about a small-time dealer sent to a private resocialization center, only to find himself in a dehumanizing hell; Matt Creed’s Lily, shown at the Tribeca Film Festival, featuring the phenomenal Amy Grantham in the role of a girl suffering from cancer who records the sounds of New York; Bluebird, a multidimensional portrait of a small community in icy Maine by Lance Edmands that was awarded in Karlovy Vary and which begins with the discovery of the frozen body of a student in a school bus; a poignant film about teenagers growing up in America entitled The Spectacular Now by James Ponsoldt featuring Sundance award-recipients Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley (the star of Alexander Payne’s The Descendants); Stand Clear of the Closing Door, a film awarded at the Tribeca Film Festival about a 13-year-old autistic boy from a family of illegal immigrants; the ironic film Afternoon Delight by Jill Soloway, awarded for direction at the Sundance Film Festival, about the unique relationship between a wealthy 13-year-old boy and a young stripper (featuring the outstanding Juno Temple).

Festival guests will include the authors of films from the section SPECTRUM: Vincent Grashaw (Coldwater), Lance Edmands (Bluebird), Kyle Smith (Blue Highway), Alex Moors (Blue Caprice), Tom Gilroy (The Cold Lands) and Jill Soloway (Afternoon Delight).


American Docs

The competition section American Docs will feature the most interesting documentaries of the year, addressing social themes and delivering thoroughly American portraits. The program includes 10 films, including Lenny Cooke, a film about a would-be NBA star which reveals the realities of professional sports by Ben and Josh Safdiech; Our Nixon by Penny Lane, full of unpublished archival information concerning the former US president; Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia by Nicholas Wrathall – a vision of America by the outstanding writer, playwright and politician who died last year; The Armstrong Lie by Alex Gibney – a film intended as a tribute for the talented cyclist that unexpectedly became a record of the greatest lie in the history of sports.

Screenings outside of the competition will be held to present well-known documentaries: When I Walk by Jason DaSilva about a man suffering from multiple sclerosis as well as How to Make Money Selling Drugs by Matthew Cooke.


The films premiering in Poland during the festival as part of the sections SPECTRUM and AMERICAN DOCS will take part in a competition; they will be submitted to viewer review to compete for an audience award funded by BNY Mellon in two categories: narrative film (USD 10 000) and documentary film (USD 5 000).

  • American Film Festival Audience Award for Narrative Film in Spectrum Competition sponsored by Bank of New York Mellon
  • American Film Festival Audience Award for Documentary Film in American Docs Competition sponsored by Bank of New York Mellon.


Festival Favorites ale kino+ presents

This is a new section created to present the favorite films of this year’s festivals. The program includes a new film by the author of Your Sister’s Sister, Lynn Shelton – Touchy Feely; a psychodrama immersed in the poetry of the absurd, Maladies, directed by Carter with James Franco and Catherine Keener in starring roles;Much Ado About Nothing – a modern adaptation of the comedy by Shakespeare directed by Joss Whedon, a Hollywood specialist in the super-production (among others The Avengers); Wrong Cops – the newest film by master of pastiche  Quentin Dupieux (Wrong, Rubber); and finally Lovelace by Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein about the fate of the star of the legendary Deep Throat– featuring Amanda Seyfried in the title screen role alongside Sharon Stone and James Franco.


On the Edge

Two new projects by James Benning will be presented as part of the section of experimental films: Faces and Easy Rider as well as original classics by John Cassavetes and Dennis Hopper, who inspired the artist. The section SPECIAL DOCS will present a documentary portrait of an icon in American cinema Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater by Gabe Klinger, which was awarded at the last festival in Venice.



Indie Star Award

The Indie Star Award is given out for stars of independent American cinema and will be received by producer Christine Vachon, founder of the cult production company Killer Films. The films Vachon has produced have generated breakthrough images for contemporary US cinema and include Kids by Larry Clark, PoisonVelvet Goldmine and Far From Heaven by Todd Haynes, Boys Don’t Cry by Kimberly Peirce starring Hilary Swank, who won an Oscar for the role, and Happiness by Todd Solondz. A small retrospective in Wrocław will feature Velvet Goldmine by Haynes, Hedwig and the Angry Inch by John Cameron Mitchell as well as the newest production by Vachon, Kill Your Darlings directed by John Krokidas. The young stars in this last film play legends in American literature - Daniel Radcfliff takes on the role of Allen Ginsberg, Ben Foster plays William S. Burroughs and Jack Huston is cast as Jack Kerouac. Other sections will present new films produced by Vachon: At Any Price and Bluebird. Christine Vachon will be a special festival guest and will also take part in a master class.



Retrospective: Shirley Clarke

The hero of this retrospective is Shirley Clarke – an outstanding director and experimenter, the author of award-winning documentaries and videos and two-time Oscar recipient. This will be the first screening of Clark’s films in Poland. Her most important documentary films were created in the 1960s. She fought passionately against censorship in New York and was a vocal opponent of the popular documentary style cinéma vérité. Clarke was never afraid to tackle difficult or socially controversial topics (Portrait of JasonThe Connection) or to use staging in her films.



Masterpieces of American cinema. 90 years of Warner Bros.

One festival event will be a review of Masterpieces of American cinema. 90 years of Warner Bros. The films presented will include outstanding productions from the legendary production company founded by brothers from Krasnosielc, Mazowsze, including The Wizard of Oz by Victor Fleming, A Streetcar Named Desireby Elia Kazan, Singin’ In the Rain by Stanley Donen with Gene Kelly, Rio Bravo by Howard Hawks, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? By Robert Aldrich, 2001: A Space Odysseyand Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick, The Exorcist by William Friedkin, The Color Purple by Steven Spielberg and Inceptionby Christopher Nolan.



Jozef van Wissem Concert – music from the new film by Jim Jarmusch

On October 23 at 7:30pm the beautiful, baroque Aula Leopoldina in the main building of Wrocław University will host a concert by Jozef van Wissem, the Dutch master of the lute and a musical collaborator of Jim Jarmusch, with whom he has recorded three albums. Van Wissem’s compositions are based on traditional renaissance and baroque recordings with avant-garde modifications. The result is hypnotic, dark pieces surrounded by an aura of mystery. Jarmusch invited Wissem to write the soundtrack for his newest film, Only Lovers Left Alive. The experimental lutist received a Cannes Soundtrack Award for this music in 2013, which he will be performing during the concert in Wroclaw. Tickets for the concert are available online at www.americanfilmfestival.pl as well as the cash desks of New Horizons Cinema. Prices: PLN 42 – full-price ticket, PLN 35 – discount price for pass holders.


On October 24 and 25 in American Corner (Rynek 58) additional meetings will take place with the creators of competition films (free admission).


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