28 July, 2009

The Swedish Invasion of Poland

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

First, a little history……..In the 17th century, Sweden waged a series of invasions against Poland which included a five year occupation known in Polish as Potop Szwedzki, "the Swedish Deluge”. The Poles successfully drove back the Swedish invaders in 1656 and celebrate with a holiday to commemorate their victory. Well, the Swedish are back, albeit under more friendly circumstances, for the latest Swedish invasion of Poland….of a more cinematic nature. Let’s be clear…..this time the Swedes were officially invited. And the Poles have welcomed the blond invaders with open arms

In an initiative created between the Era New Horizons International Film Festival and the Swedish Film Institute, a diverse program of Swedish film, photography, lectures and music programs is being presented. In all, over 70 Swedish films, ranging from classics to contemporary titles, will be shown in Wroclaw this week. Kino Szwecji: Cinema of Sweden has been one of the Festival highlights, exposing new Swedish film talents to enthusiastic Polish audiences. An added bonus is the program devoted to legendary director Jan Troell, who continues his amazing career of over five decades with astonishing new work. And no Swedish program would be complete without a nod to the film master Ingmar Bergman. The Festival is screening four short documentaries that offer a rare behind-the-scenes look of Bergman in action, including the premiere of “Images From The Playground” by Swedish film critic and director Stig Bjorkman, as well as a photo exhibition by Bengt Wanselius in the Market Square.

However, the main activities of this new alliance are definitely focused on the future. Today concludes the three-day Polish-Swedish Film Meetings conference, which has brought together Swedish producers and sales agents to meet with their Polish counterparts and selected students from the Göteborg School of Film Directing and the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing. The industry gathering is the first such initiative for the Festival, with the aim of building links between film professionals, facilitating co-productions and encouraging distribution of Polish films in Sweden and Swedish films in Poland. Aside from key information panels, the bulk of the conference has been devoted to networking sessions between industry professionals. Special industry-only screenings of Swedish films (both in and out of the Festival program) have been specially arranged for Polish buyers at the Multikino Cinema.

"When we asked the Swedish sales agents who handle films internationally which territories they wanted us to concentrate our efforts on, Poland was high on the list", according to Petter Mattsson of the Swedish Film Institute, who along with his colleagues Andrea Reuter and Jan Goransson, helped organized the Swedish presence in Wroclaw. "We approached Roman Gutek and Joanna Lapinska of the Era New Horizons IFF in Cannes in 2008 and they were very enthusiastic to work with us. We were the ones who suggested that we not only show films in the Festival program, but organize industry meetings and a modest co-production conference so that Swedish and Polish producers and sales agents could get to know one another." The event seemed to have a strong start, based on the comments heard from participating producers, who said they had a number of very fruitful meetings here for their projects.

The Swedish-Polish cooperation climaxed this evening with a “wrap party” at the Arsenal Club, which featured crayfish (a Swedish delicacy) and good old fashioned Polish vodka. Much merriment and impromptu singing in both languages was had, with partiers reveling into the evening when the club hosted two Swedish electronica musicians making their Polish debuts.

1 comment:

bathmate said...

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