US in Progress in Wrocław Poland is the only international event I know of which awards American independent films in post-production with cash awards worth US$ 40,000 and distribution support. This two-day works-in-progress event is targeted to European buyers and as such gives American independent filmmakers the chance to expand their horizons when looking for financing and international distribution.
The event takes place during the third American Film Festival in Wrocław, Poland on November 14-16. It shows a selection of U.S. independent films seeking completion funding to a group of European buyers, programmers and post-production companies in a series of closed screenings.
Titles selected for this year’s edition are: I Used To Be Darker by Matt Porterfield (prod. Steve Holmgren & Ryan Zacharias), Milkshake by David Andalman (prod. Vinay Singh), Bluebird by Lance Edmands (prod. Kyle Martin) which was in both the Sundance Creative Producing Lab and the Directing Lab, A Song Still Inside by Gregory Collins (prod. Patricia Beaury & Rodrigo Lopresti) and two IFP Labs titles: Cantuckee by Kimberly Levin (prod. Kurt Pitzer), Hide Your Smiling Faces by Daniel Carbone (prod. Matthew Petock).
Around 25 key European buyers will attend the event, among them Wild Bunch (France), Artificial Eye (U.K.), The Works (U.K.), Reel Suspects (France), Sophie Dulac Distribution (France), Imagine Film (Belgium), Gutek Film and Polsat . Programmers from Berlin, Cannes and Locarno Film Festivals will also be present.
The projects will have a chance to find a world sales agent and distributor as well as secure post-production partners at the event. A jury made of professionals will award one of the works in progress with a package of post-production services from partner companies including DI service worth $10,000.00 at Platige Image, a leading Polish post-production and special effects company, up to 150 hours of sound editing or soundtrack at Warsaw-based Soundflower Studio worth $10,000.00, post-production services by the Krakow-based Alvernia Studios worth up to $10.000. Another award will contribute to the promotion and distribution of a film provided by DCinex (DCP worth $5,000), VSI Paris (subtitling), Europa Distribution and CICAE, the Confederation of Arthouse Cinemas. One producer will also receive free registration at Producers Network, an exclusive network of Meet-and-Greet, during Cannes Marche du Film.
US in Progress Wrocław (formerly Gotham in Progress) was started in 2011 in Wrocław, Poland by the New Horizons Association and Black Rabbit Film. In 2012, the event expanded to Paris, where it was part of Sophie Dulac’s Champs-Elysées Film Festival. 2011 Wrocław edition’s success stories include Jason Cortlund & Julia Halperin’s Now, Forager: a Film About Love and Fungi which went on to Rotterdam Film Festival, New Directors/New Films and is now in U.S. distribution via Argot Pictures. Roger Ebert says, “***½ The images of wild mushrooms by Cortlund himself and the shots of food prep by cinematographer Jonathan Nastasi, approach art. NOW, FORAGER is an uncompromising film about two people who don’t deserve each other….” The title was sold for distribution to 8 other countries by New Europe Film Sales.
Amy Seimetz’ Sun Don’t Shine won the Jury Award at SXSW and played in Edinburgh IFF. Patricia Benoit’s Stones in the Sun played Tribeca and won Best New Narrative Director and Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival. US in Progress US$ 60,000 prize winner, Devyn Waitt’s Not Waving But Drowning has Sarasota FF and was picked up for world sales by Premium Films. The winning film of the Paris edition, Champs Elysees Film Festival, was A Teacher by Hannah Fidell.
US in Progress runs concurrently with the American Film Festival which will be honoring Wes Anderson whose Moonrise Kingdom will have its Polish premiere and Jerry Schatzberg, the legendary director and accomplished photographer who will receive the annual Indie Star award, given by the festival to helmers of American independent cinema (first one given to Todd Solondz in 2011). The festival will screen his most important films including Puzzle of a Downfall Child, The Panic in Needle Park and Scarecrow.