For the fourth time, A Sunday in the Country, a retreat-like workshop for young film critics from Europe, was organized as a part of the T-Mobile New
Horizons International Film Festival, in a charming house by the woods of Byków, near Wrocław, Poland, during the last days of the festival (July 30 – August 2, 2015).
There, the critics watched and discussed films, exchanged thoughts and learned from each other’s experiences. Under the guidance of Pascal Edelmann of the
European Film Academy, Ula Śniegowska of the New Horizons Association and the British film critic of The Independent Kaleem Aftab, the weekend was
spent cooking, networking, watching films, meeting with filmmakers and discussing cinephilia and the challenges faced by film critics today. Apart from the
primary networking purpose, the workshop aimed at raising awareness of the film critic’s role today and the current state of film journalism as well as the
exchange of practices and professional skills among the young participants. In that regard, A Sunday in the Country is definitely one of the most
inventive and out of the box film criticism workshops out there.
On Friday, the participants watched the Polish-Swedish coproduction “The Here After” (which premiered this year in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight
section and in the Panorama section of the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival) and “H.,” an Argentina/U.S. coproduction. The
director-producer duos of both films (Magnus von Horn and Mariusz Włodarski and Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia respectively) were present for lunch and
dinner and engaged in a discussion about the role of the critic in the filmmakers’ career and the expectations or demands these professions have towards
each other. The following day, the participants watched “Ruined Heart” by the Philippino filmmaker Khavn de la Cruz, a juror of this year’s New
Horizons competition program, who joined them for lunch and a discussion. In the evening, Kaleem Aftab, A Sunday’s expert and established British critic
and author, introduced Spike Lee’s “Inside Man.” The conversations continued long into the night.
The group was composed of eight people from eight different European countries: Anka Herbut (Poland) – recipient of the Krzysztof Mętrak Award, Andrey
Arnold (Austria), Astrid Jansen (Belgium), Katerina Lambrinova (Bulgaria), Pete Wu (the Netherlands), Tara Karajica (Serbia), and Thomas Sejersen
The get-together was organized by the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival and the European Film Academy in collaboration with EUNIC and with
the support of local cultural institutes and the Krzysztof Mętrak Award.
For Katerina Lambrinova, A Sunday in the Country is “definitely a great place to meet new friends, who share the same love for cinema,”
and gives the participants a unique opportunity to meet “ interesting up-and-coming or prominent film directors, screenwriters, producers and film critics in a very informal and light atmosphere.” Fellow
participant from Denmark, Thomas Sejersen, shares her view of it. For him, it is “
not only a weekend of thought-provoking discussion of the past, present, and future of film criticism. First and foremost, it provides a unique
encounter of like-minded and future friends from all over Europe.”