Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari dir. Alexey Fedorchenko Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari dir. Alexey Fedorchenko
16 January 2014
Thirteen years at the edge

End of January 2014. 19 Rue Beaubourge, Paris. Jonathan Caouette and his very close friend Marie Losier are publicly celebrating the ten-year anniversary screening of Jonathan‘s Tarnation (2003) by showing Marie’s The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye (2011). Learning about that was pretty amazing. Both films were shown at New Horizons International Film Festival – first one won the Grand Prix in 2005, the second one turned out to be the hit of the Films On Art – International Competition during the 11th edition of the festival in 2011.

Six years of difference and there’s still ground for those films to meet. That should be proof for one thing – even if the festival is consistently growing and evolving – there are few things that stays the same – the quality, originality, uncompromising nature of selected films and artistic independence of their authors. That kind of programming attitude turns into fruitful and extensive discussions about the new horizons of cinematic world, which, as the festival’s history unveils, gradually become inhabited by increasing amount of filmmakers.

Festival provides the arena for meetings, which serves as a melting pot of ideas. In 2004 the podium of winners were shared among filmmakers from France – Grand Prix for Eléonore Faucher and her Brodeuses (2004), US, Sweden, Japan and Canada. Guy Maddin and his The Saddest Music in the World (2003) represented the last country. Therefore, the vivid avant-garde musical met the intimate French drama about loss and love. The year later the Far East assumed the form of Tsai-Ming Liang’s Wayward Cloud (2005) and US-experiments emerged with James Benning’s 13 Lakes (2004). Both artists came back to the festival few more times. Once you’ve been there, you crave for more.

Thanks to that mechanism growing within the vibrant environment of friends, mentors and open-minded people is possible. Thanks to that there is nothing predictable you may be waiting for here. What is essential while having a film at the festival is awareness that you may be awarded just like Ron Havilio (Potosi: The Journey, 2007), Vincent Ward (Rain of the Children, 2008), Steve McQueen (Hunger, 2009), Dominga Sotomayor (Thursday Till Sunday, 2012) or Aleksei Fedorchenko (Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari, 2013) was. Big names mingle there with smaller ones, intriguing artistic attempts blend with fulfilled pieces of art. It adds fuel to the debate on the cinema – its past, present and the future.

“Rejecting prevailing trends for festivals to attract glitzier, more high-profile, starry films – Wroclaw took place around the same as Sarajevo, which had just won headlines for luring Angelina Jolie to its closing ceremony to accept a prize – Roman Gutek is cheerily upfront about his focus on demanding cinema” – wrote Edward Lawrenson in his Little White Lies sum-up article in 2011. Even if during the years many things have been changed – the diversity of cinematic challenges is and was appreciated the most. Even if majority of filmmakers struggle to find a new language, they still speak directly to the audience sense.

The festival is like a platform for sharing, exchanging and transgressing ideas into the logic of moving pictures. It is now waiting for new films to award, distribute and take on tour around Poland – as in old good times when travelling cinemas were crowding on the roads. This last vision inspires me to believe that when you’re craving for reaching new horizon you should allow past gather with the future and transform this reunion into present (piece of art). Isn’t it right? The submissions are now open.

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