With extraordinary expediency and ambition, this event, which takes place in Warsaw, Poland May 7 - 16, has become a destination festival in just seven years, with intrepid leadership by the inexhaustible, Artur Liebhart. With an extraordinary program of the best of nonfiction cinema from around the world, the Planete Doc Review Film Festival brings world-class films to a country with many top festivals, including the Krakow Film Festival, which will be celebrating its jubilee--fifty years!--just a couple of weeks after Planete, May 31 - June 6. Many filmmaker friends have told me that Planete Doc is in their top five favorite festivals to attend.
This year offers an extraordinary array of hefty filmmaking talent. First up will be Werner Herzog's three-hour master class for professionals taking place Saturday, May 8th at 3:00 p.m. in the Kinoteka cinema, hosted by Polish arts and culture critic extraordinaire, Michal Chacinski. And me. (Yes. Me. It's published on the website if you don't believe me. This is how I finally realized this might really be true, as well.) Warsaw audiences will have a chance to meet with the director on May 8th and 9th after the screenings of his films. A DVD box set in the Planete Doc Review series, with fifteen of Herzog's documentary films and a book--a collection of essays on his cinematic art published in the Krytyka Polityczna Reader--will be published as supplements to Herzog's master class.
Last year, the fest had a very popular Animadoc film section devoted to documentary animation. This year, another special guest will be Martin Strange Hansen from Denmark, winner of the 2003 Oscar for his short narrative, This Charming Man. Strange Hansen, a pioneer in the use of new media, will share his experience and expertise in a lecture on May 9th. The "Pinly and Flau" film series will be screened beforehand. These 3-minute-long animations for mobile phones were created on the basis of one hundred intimate stories from the lives of teenagers.
Friday, the 14th, will bring a three-hour workshop with the French filmmaker, Nicolas Philibert whose To Be and To Have was honored with the European Film Prize in 2002. His latest film, Nenette, about a 40-year-old orangutan, played at this year's Berlinale. The festival will also screen several of his films.
Lastly (but not leastly!), Saturday the 15th, Michal Chacinski and Jean Perret, the director of the Visions du Réel festival in Nyon, France, will host a talk with Alan Berliner, renowned American filmmaker, photographer and video artist, three-time winner of the Emmy Award, and recipient of the 1997 Film Critics' Award at the Berlinale. Berliner teaches a course entitled "Experiments in Time, Light and Movement" at the New School in New York. All five of his wonderful films will be screened at the fest.
Quite the lineup, jestem prawo? (I don't really speak Polish.)
The full program of the 7th edition will be published on the 5th of April and the program of workshops and panel discussions will be announced later this month. During the first weekend of the fest, films will be screened in twenty cinemas in Poland on the same day at the same time; select films will be available by streaming straight to screening rooms around the country. At ten of those locations, there will be panel discussions after the screening of Erik Gandini's award-winning, Videocracy. Stay tuned for more news.