A host of emerging independent American filmmakers will get an introduction to the European market this November during U.S. in Progress, an event hosted each year during the American Film Festival (AFF) in Wrocław, Poland.
The online edition of this year’s event will unspool from Nov. 11-13 alongside the AFF, which has combined its dates with the New Horizons Intl. Film Festival (Nov. 5-15) after that summer fest was forced to reschedule due to the coronavirus pandemic. Both festivals plan to have physical editions in Wrocław.
Founded a decade ago, U.S. in Progress stemmed from the recognition among organizers that there “was not enough collaboration between American independent film and European buyers and sales agents,” says AFF artistic director Ula Śniegowska (pictured).
To that end, the event presents a carefully curated selection of roughly half a dozen American indie titles in the final stages of production to European sales agents, distributors, and festival programmers, while also presenting the opportunities and benefits of post-production services in Poland. Submissions are open at usinprogress.com until Sep. 13.
This year will also see the Polish Film Institute, which is one of the event’s main sponsors, present an award offering both cash and in-kind services for one of the projects to do its post-production work in Poland. “It really goes hand-in-hand with the Polish Film Institute’s focus on bringing American production to Poland,” says Śniegowska.
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The move signals the continued evolution of U.S. in Progress as a forum to bring together the American and European industries. “It evolved from a simple presentation of American projects in progress to more of a mutual introduction to co-production,” she says. For emerging American producers in particular, “they learn how different and how challenging the [European] production system may be.”
This year’s event will feature a panel discussion led by producer Ewa Puszczyńska, whose credits include Oscar winner “Ida” and triple Oscar nominee “Cold War,” on how Hollywood film studios can benefit from the 30% cash rebate introduced in Poland last year. There will also be a case study of the publicity campaign behind Jan Komasa’s “Corpus Christi,” which earned an Academy Award nomination for best international feature film this year.
Though modest in size and scope, U.S. in Progress can point to some notable alumni, including Amy Seimetz, the director of Neon’s buzzy horror movie “She Dies Tomorrow,” whose first feature participated in the event; and Adele Romanski, one of the producers behind Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning “Moonlight.”
Both women took part in U.S. in Progress at a time when they were virtually unknown in Hollywood, something that Śniegowska stresses is key to the event’s philosophy. “We are working with small steps and putting together projects that need our help,” she says.