Warsaw Film Festival (Warszawski Festiwal Filmowy) is gearing up to launch its 35th edition. Set to take place from October 11th–20th in Warsaw, Poland, it has just announced its full 2019 schedule. The program spanning over 10 days includes impressive numbers of 111 feature movies and 69 shorts.
Warsaw Film Festival has always been open to inviting Asian movies and filmmakers from various regions. In the past one could find films from i.a. China, Japan, South Korea, Iran, Israel, Vietnam, Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Philippines, Mongolia and Kazakhstan.
Festival selectors are more focused on discovering new talents (competition section 1-2 is adressed to directors, who have no more than 1 feature credited to their name) than presenting works of renowned artists. As we can read on the WFF website:
Our aim is to show a film before it wins an Oscar, to introduce a director to Warsaw audiences before he or she wins an award at the Cannes festival. We don’t chase filmmakers who are already famous. Some of the most amazing directors, like Michael Haneke, Cristian Mungiu, Paweł Pawlikowski, Ari Folman, Ashgar Farhadi, Lenny Abrahamson and hundreds of others, had usually been guests of the WFF before they reached the top.
As usual, program is varied and offers different cinematic experiences. From the latest Takeshi Miike (“First Love”), second feature movie directed by the actor Jirō Satō (“Brothers in Brothel”),trough Laotian hyperrealist drama by Mattie Do, Iranian dark comedy about barbers (Homayoun Ghanizadeh’s “A Hairy Tale”), Korean tragicomedy telling about changing modern Korean society (“Move The Grave”), to visually stunning Chinese animation inspired by the ancient legend (“White Snake”). “Balloon”, that premiered at the Venice festival, by Tibetan Tseden Pema known for “Tharlo” and “Jinpa” will be shown in non-competition section. Kazakh director Adilkhan Yerzhanov, winner of Free Spirit Competition from 2014, comes back to WFF for the fourth time, presenting his latest movie, “Atbay’s Fight” in International Competition. His previous film, “The Gentle Indifference of the World” (2018), was presented in the Un Certain Regard Cannes’ section.
Documentary aficionados also can’t complain. “A Punk Daydream” tells the feisty story of the Muslim punk community in Indonesia. Its soundtrack plays the tunes from punk to traditional gamelan music. Korean “Wandering Chef” is an intimate story about food binding ties between people. “One Child Nation” was announced the best documentary of this year’s Sundance festival, grabbing the Grand Jury Prize. Belgium and French co-production “Overseas” by Korean-born director Sung-A Yoon sheds light on the domestic slavery and exploitation of Philippines’ domestic helps.
From the crossroads of Europe and Asia – there are also movies from Georgia and Turkey in various sections, and the most notable among them is “Shindisi” by Dito Tsintsadze, this year’s Georgian candidate to Oscar.
Check all the Asian (and Asian-themed) titles from the line-up.
A Hairy Tale (Maskharehbaz) by Homayoun Ghanizadeh, Iran, international premiere
Atbai’s Fight (Boi Atbaya) by Adilkhan Yerzhanov, Kazakhstan, world premiere
Listen to the Universe (蜜蜂と遠雷) by Kei Ishikawa, Japan, international premiere
1-2 COMPETITION (for first and second feature films)
Brothers in Brothel (Haru Wu Urohito) by Jirō Satō, Japan, world premiere
Move The Grave (I-Jang) by Seung-o Jeong, South Korea, European premiere
Spring Follows Winter (La Yue Zheng Yue) by Junfeng Liu, China, European Premiere
FREE SPIRIT COMPETITION (for independent, innovative feature length fiction and documentary )
A Punk Daydream (Lamunan Oi!) by Jimmy Hendrickx, Belgium/Indonesia, Eastern European Premiere
Best Director (Zui Jia Dao Yan) by Xian Zhang, China, international premiere
Watch Me Kill by Tyrone Acierto, Philippines, international premiere
White Snake (Bai She: Yuan Qi) by Amp Wong and Ji Zhao, China, Eastern European premiere
Words Can’t Go There, USA/Japan, international premiere
Overseas by Sung-A Yoon, Belgium/France, dialogue language: Tagalog/English, Polish premiere
Our Little Poland by Matej Bobrik, Poland, dialogue language: Japanese/Polish, world premiere
SPECIAL SCREENINGS (non-competition section)
Balloon (Qi Qiu) by Tseden Pema, China, Eastern European premiere
First Love (Hatsukoi) by Takashi Miike, Japan, Eastern European premiere
Incitement (Yamim Noraim) by Yaron Zilberman, Israel, Eastern European premiere
DISCOVERIES (non-competition section, feature length fiction and documentary films , which have been presented at film festivals abroad).
Just 6.5 (Metri Shesh-o Nim) by Saeed Roustayi, Iran, Eastern European premiere
One Child Nation by Nanfu Wang, USA/China, Polish premiere
The Long Walk (Bor Mi Vanh Chark) by Mattie Do, Laos, Polish Premiere
The Wandering Chef by Hye-Ryoung Park, South Korea, Eastern European premiere
Buoyancy by Rodd Rathjen, Australia, language: Central Khmer, Eastern European Premiere
SHORT FILMS COMPETITION (for narrative, documentary and animated shorts)
09:09 F, India, European Premiere
Anywhere but Here (再见，王美丽), China, World Premiere
Fine (Beseder Gamur), Israel, World Premiere
Passively Suicidal (소극적 자살), South Korea, World Premiere https://wff.pl/en/film/passively-suicidal-35
The whole program and all the festiwal info may be found here: