Festival

About the festival

American Film Festival (AFF), taking place since 2010 and the first film event in Central Europe solely devoted to the works of contemporary and classic American cinema, takes place in the cultural heritage city of Wroclaw, Poland and is organized by New Horizons Association.

The AFF presents contemporary independent productions in two major competitive sections:

  • SPECTRUM, a panorama of contemporary American cinema, focusing on filmmakers in mid-careers and those making significant directorial debuts, and
  • AMERICAN DOCS, a program of compelling and award-winning documentaries from the film festival circuit, with Audience Awards with cash prizes of $10,000 and $5,000 for Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature, respectively.

The AFF 2020 Audience Awards winners were Jeremy Hersh with The Surrogate and Abby Ginzberg with Truth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks For Me.

The AFF honors recognized US filmmakers with INDIE STAR AWARD to a master of independent filmmaking. In the past years ISA was presented to Todd Solondz, Jerry Schatzberg, Christine Vachon, Whit Stillman, David Gordon Green, Hal Hartley, Jonas Mekas, Rosanna Arquette, John Carroll Lynch, and in 2019 to Mark Webber. The AFF also boasts of RETROSPECTIVES of American classics. Tributes to the likes of John Cassavetes, Shirley Clarke, Clint Eastwood, Samuel Fuller, Nicholas Ray, Orson Welles, Billy Wilder and Gregory Peck have been organized during past editions of the AFF.

The last stationary edition of American FF took place in 2019 in Wroclaw and included 246 screenings of over 90 features. In 2020 festival joined forces with New Horizons International Film Festival and featured 33 features and 9 shorts.

Running yearly in the framework of the AFF, US IN PROGRESS is a unique film industry event connecting European buyers and American independent filmmakers. US in Progress aims to strengthen the trans-Atlantic film industry collaborations and partnerships. US in Progress presents 4-6 independent American projects in final production stages to top European buyers (sales agents, distributors and festival programmers) and post-production houses, who offer their services as in-kind awards. In 2021 US in Progress invites also Canadian projects. Check dates and regulations at usinprogress.com.

Cool theaters: "screens of IMAX proportions." Cool audiences: "fashionable young crowds and the hottest new bands." Cool digs: "five-star accommodations, fancy dinners and tours of the local castles." No wonder Wroclaw is a hot ticket for U.S. moviemakers, "dignitaries" to the "best festival in Poland and perhaps all of Eastern Europe." Celebrating a different kind of American cinema than what traditionally permeates those far-flung shores, AFF doesn't just showcase indies, it nurtures them: Panelists love their U.S. in Progress program, which awards cash prizes to features in post. – this is how in September 2015, the MovieMaker Magazine described the AFF, when the event was selected as one of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World by the Magazine.

In May 2021, AFF was included in the MovieMaker's Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee annual list for the 10th straight year.

Here comes the verdict:

One of the three Polish film festivals on our list, the American Film Festival in Wrocław distinguishes itself by specializing in American cinema. Between its two major competitive sections, AFF secured the 2020 Polish premieres of First Cow, David Byrne’s American UtopiaNever Rarely Sometimes Always, and Uncle Frank. The focus is on high-profile directors and those making “significant directorial debuts,” says programmer Mateusz Gutek. But for those in that weight class, the experience is electric, and includes subsidized airfare, lodging, and transportation — with no entry fee. Past panelists include Todd Solondz, Christine Vachon and Jonas Mekas, and events include U.S. in Progress, a two-day workshop connecting American film teams with European sales agents, distributors, and investors.

You can find some information about the city here.

12th edition of American Film Festival will take place on November 9th-14th in Wroclaw.

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