For the first time, the New Horizons IFF was launched in 2001. It was an event aimed at presenting independent artistic cinema - at that time, represented in Poland rather poorly - which sought for new ways of expression and breaking the frontiers set by conventional filmmakers.
This is a festival of cinema visionaries, adamant artists, brave enough to follow their own path against the trends and to talk about the most important matters, using their own, unique language. From hundreds of films screened every year at international festivals, as well as these sent for selection, we have chosen the ones that - due to their unusual form and the power of expression - defend themselves from being forgotten. These films evoke extreme reactions, bring up emotions, start vigorous discussions, and provoke raptures and protests. Yet, it is this kind of works that set the trends of the international cinema. The "Main Competition" is the concept of the "new horizon" come into being.
Each year, the festival hosts several dozens of film directors from all over the world - from debutants to undisputed film masters. We already had the honor of hosting: Abdellatif Kechiche, Agnès Varda, Nanni Moretti, Terry Gilliam, Peter Greenaway, Béla Tarr, Bruno Dumont, Carlos Reygadas, Aleksander Sokurow, Abel Ferrara, Kim Ki-duk, Tsai Ming-liang, Naomi Kawase, Carlos Saura, Claire Denis, Dušan Makavejev, Asghar Farhadi, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Andrei Konchalovsky, Leos Carax, as well as Stephen and Timothy Quay.
One of the key components of the festival's mission is to present the achievements of the cinema masters and discover the works of those artists, who are less known, yet their work is of a tremendous importance for the creators of the festival. We have already presented the retrospectives of: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Philippe Garrel, Šarūnas Bartas, Derek Jarman, Shinya Tsukamoto, Yasujirō Ozu, Michelangelo Antonioni, Béla Tarr, Takashi Miike, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Sergei Parajanov, Federico Fellini, Hal Hartley, Theo Angelopoulos, Andrzej Żuławski, Guy Maddin, Tsai Ming-liang, Jean Luc-Godard, Wojciech Jerzy Has, the Quay brothers, Laura Mulvey, Anja Breien, Werner Nekes, Carlos Reygadas, Ulrich Seidl, Ingmar Bergman, and Dušan Makavejev. The year 2017 saw the reviews of the works of the late Jacques Rivette - a visionary and the co-creator of the New Wave, and of the films by Fred Kelemen - a brilliant camera operator and director, an associate of Béla Tarr. The year 2018 - by Pedro Costa, João César Monteiro, Nicolas Roeg and Ildikó Enyedi.
The 19th festival edition screened films by ironic moralist Albert Serra, the director of the famed Death of Louis XIV, and works by Shūji Terayama, a Japanese director who is not well-known in Poland, but is an innovator whose works have been deemed scandalous and subversive, though he has also been awarded at Cannes for a Death in the Country. There also were films by Olivier Assayas (director of Sils Maria), who formed his own sub-genre that does not fit into the mainstream, art-house cinema or any attempts at simple classification.
The festival also gives an opportunity to take a closer look at the most interesting places on the cinematic map of the world and to discover films which are difficult to be found in regular distribution. Lately, we have screened the works from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Turkey, Greece, Sweden, Mexico, Lithuania, and Norway. The 2017 edition of the festival presented the latest films from Israel, the 2018 - from Iran, the 2019 - from Argentina. The program also covers films from the very edge of cinema and visual arts, exhibitions, and concerts.
The highlight events of the 2016 edition of the festival included the displays of the operatic film "River of Fundament" by Matthew Barney, and the staging of the opera "Lost Highway" (directed by Natalia Korczakowska) based on the film by David Lynch.
The New Horizons festival has gradually become the most visited event of such type in Poland, one of the most popular in this part of Europe (with over 100,000 spectators each year), and - owing to the outstanding development of events such as the Polish Days or the New Horizons Studio - an important meeting place for international filmmakers.
The festival is held in Wrocław - the city with great film traditions. The most acclaimed Polish films were made here: Ashes and Diamonds by Andrzej Wajda, Knife in the Water by Roman Polański, The Saragossa Manuscript by Wojciech Jerzy Has, or A Lonely Woman by Agnieszka Holland. The New Horizons Cinema - a complex with 9 auditoria (with 2,500 seats) where artistic cinema is screened 365 days in a year - is the heart of the festival. This is the largest arthouse theater in Europe.
The festival is held by the New Horizons Association that was founded in 2003. The association’s other main projects are American Film Festival in Wroclaw (www.americanfilmfestival.pl) and Kids Film Festival (www.kinodzieci.pl). The New Horizons Association is also a film distributor and the owner of New Horizons of Film Education (www.nhef.pl), which is the largest film education project in Poland.
Visit Wrocław - the capital of uncompromising cinema.