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Closing Night at the American Film Festival in Wroclaw Poland

Closing Night at the American Film Festival in Wroclaw Poland

Artistic Director Urszula Śniegowska has created a family here of great cineastes and cinephiles. Included is the Austin posse with David Gordon Green
receiving the double-barreled Indie Star Award and the European debut of his latest film, “Our Brand is Crisis” with the formidable Sandra Bullock in her
ballsiest role ever playing the political strategist, James Carville, as she dictates the terms to her candidate for the President of Bolivia played by my
new heartthrob, the Portuguese actor, Joaquim de Almeida. David says he may star in
the next film he will direct which will be in Portuguese.

I’m betting on David Gordon Green becoming heir to the throne now occupied by Clint Eastwood as Warner Bros. creates its new brand. Warner Bros. also
supplied the Clint Eastwood prints and virtual prints for the Eastwood retrospective. His masterpiece “The Unforgiven” was shown in 35mm. The evolution of DGG since the Sundance debut (and his own first feature) of ” George Washington” in 2000 shows his skill directing both indie and
major genres.

The family in the Austin posse includes the grand director Berndt Mader (“Winnebago Man“) of “Booger Red” (exec produced by DGG) with his producer, Irish transplant and immigrant Johnny McAllister who co-wrote with Berndt, and Onur Tukel, the “Turkish Woody Allen” whose own directed and produced ” Summer of Blood” debuted at Tribeca last year and was a huge hit at the Champs Elysees
Film Festival (this year June 7-14), the sister of AFF who share their child US in Progress. “Booger Red” is a hybrid
documentary/narrative about a veteran reporter who searches for the truth behind the largest purported child sex ring in Texas history. On his journey
through the bowels of East Texas, he’s forced to confront his own history with abuse while he discovers that the allegations at the root of his
investigation might have never happened.

At one of the nightly bar gatherings (which last til 4 am!), DGG credited Onur for keeping the independent film scene in Austin alive.

Second to receive the double-barreled Indie Star Award with DGG was Hal Hartley whose humble
acceptance of the prize touched us all. He thanked the audience, a new generation for its “fresh” questions, a great pleasure for him after 25 years of
doing Q&As. And he thanked the festival for putting on the most complete retrospective of his film ever held.

The Audience Award of US$10,000 went to the Spectrum film “Dope” by Rick Famuyiwa , one of the freshest films to show in Sundance this year; a delightful, sweet romp with
young talents De’aundre Bonds, Kiersey Clemons and Tony Revolori as they follow the orders of dope dealer Rakim Mayers, through the streets of Inglewood California.

The Audience Award of US$5,000 went to the American Doc film “Transfatty Lives” by Patrick O’Brian. The Awards were funded by festival sponsor, BNY Mellon,
wealth management and investments banker to the world. Started by Alexander Hamilton in 1784,
BNY Mellon is one of the longest-lasting financial institutions in the world.

Festival Director Roman Gutek has created a great and lasting bond between film artists in U.S. and in Poland. He has also created Europe’s largest
international film festival, New Horizons, held here in Wroclaw July 25-31 which this year will have a special section of America as depicted by European
filmmakers. In addition he has created Europe’s largest arthouse multiplex, the New Horizons Theater where these two festivals are held.

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