PRAGUE — Russians and Poles are joining forces to generate heat for film from Eastern Europe, as auds at splashy events in Moscow and Warsaw could see this past week.
The Russian capital’s new Red Square screenings, which wrapped Friday, unspooled 50 projects and 32 works in progress to international guests for five days, including helmer Oleg Stepchenko’s “Viy,” a $23 million 3D fantasy starring Brit thesp Charles Dance. Pic is a Czechs-German-Ukrainian co-production.
And, on the same square where Russian officials launched their prosecution of femme punk band Pussy Riot, the screenings celebrated the band in a documentary series, Eugeniy Mitta and Alexander Shein’s “Anthology of Contemporary Art.”
A handful of the the pics then traveled west to the Polish capital for the Warsaw Film Festival’s CentEast sessions, which drew interest from fest reps and buyers. The two events teamed this year — as will the Connecting Cottbus Forum in Germany in November — to maximize synergies, said Warsaw fest topper Stefan Laudyn.
Among the pics-in-progress drawing buzz in Poland was Russian docu “Pipeline” by Vitaly Mansky, an ironic visual treat that follows the lives of those living along the path of oil and gas lines as it flows west from Asia.
Polish police polemic thriller “Traffic Department” also turned heads, as did atmospheric Romanian/Moldavian crime story “The Unsaved” by Igor Cobileanski.
Warsaw fest hopes to extend its global outreach further in future editions, announcing this year a team-up with Beijing-based social media platform Film Factory, which is expected to help Chinese art films reach European auds and vice versa.
Because past efforts to penetrate the Chinese market “haven’t been terribly successful,” said Laudyn, “we decided to take a different road.”
The main section of the Warsaw fest, meanwhile, honored French-Belgian prison romance pic “Tango Libre” by Frederic Fonteyne with its grand prize on Saturday.
Directing kudo went to Polish helmer-scribe Andrzej Jakimowski for his account of a troubled tutor for the blind, “Imagine,” co-produced with the U.K., Portugal and France.
Romanian working-class comedy “Of Snails and Men,” a co-production with France by Tudor Giurgiu, won the special jury prize, while best docu went to “Fuck for Forest” by Poland’s Michal Marczak, a co-production with Germany that follows an ecological non-profit that raises funds for conservation by producing pornography.
Canadian docu “The World Before Her” by Nisha Pahuja, a look at women’s training camps in India, scored special mention honors while the Fipresci critics’ prize went to Russian murder tale “The Daughter” by Alexander Kasatkin and Natalya Nazarova.