Smart7: the second edition of the international competition at the festival

It's Not My Film, dir. Maria Zbąska
Award-winning cinema at the 24th mBank New Horizons IFF. Buy festival pass A retrospective of Nagisa Ōshima at the 24th mBank New Horizons IFF

We know the selection for the second edition of the Smart7 international competition, a collaborative effort between seven European film festivals. The competition tour, kicking off in March, will see Poland represented by It’s Not My Film by Maria Zbąska. From July 18 to 28, all titles from the Smart7 selection will be showcased as part of the 24th mBank New Horizons IFF.

Presenting films that broaden our understanding of the world has always been guiding our festival’s mission. Last year, we took this mission a step further by partnering with six other European film festivals to establish the Smart7 network. Through this collaboration, we exchange experiences, learn new practices, and seek innovative solutions for festivals. This year, we’re proud to continue our partnership by organizing the second edition of the unique Smart7 competition.

The competition will feature seven films curated by representatives from the mBank New Horizons IFF (Poland), Kino Pavasaris IFF (Lithuania), IndieLisboa IFF (Portugal), FILMADRID (Spain), Transilvania IFF (Romania), Reykjavik IFF (Iceland), and Thessaloniki IFF (Greece). Ewa Szabłowska, the artistic director of New Horizons, had the vote of our festival during the selection process.

The seven competing films will journey from Vilnius (starting in March), passing through Lisbon, Madrid, Cluj-Napoca, Wroclaw, and Reykjavik. The winner will be chosen by an international young jury, with representation from our country, at the closing film festival in Thessaloniki. Polish viewers will have the opportunity to watch all competing titles during the 24th mBank New Horizons IFF. Passes for the Wroclaw festival are now available for purchase.

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Direction: saving love, or It's Not My Film

“This relationship resembles a phone charger cable that has been chewed by a dog... It supposedly charges, but there’s no way it can work.” is how Wanda succinctly captures the essence of her long-term relationship with Janek. Despite the challenges, they embark on a final attempt to salvage their love, journeying along the wintry coast of the Baltic Sea. Maria Zbąska’s debut feature is a contemporary tale infused with intelligent humor, depicting the struggle for love in a disposable world. As Wanda and Janek navigate their relationship, they confront the reality that not all is lost. It’s Not My Film sets off on its competitive journey from Vilnius, premiering at IFF Kino Pavasaris – Lithuania’s largest and most prestigious festival. Produced by Inga Kruk (HI Movies), the film’s international sales are handled by IKH Pictures Promotion.

The magnificent seven from Europe

The Smart7 competition provides a platform for emerging voices in European cinema, showcasing filmmakers who explore diverse conventions and artistic strategies. These filmmakers share a commitment to originality in expression, social awareness, youthful energy, and a zeal for challenging conservative norms. The program includes the latest film by Leonardo Mouramateus, familiar to New Horizons audiences, Greice, a nuanced tale of love and the art of confabulation. Representing Spain is On the Go by Maria Royo and Julia de Castro, a whimsical road movie that liberates bodies and emotions from societal constraints. Romania presents Where Elephants Go, a poignant and poetic film directed by Gabi Sarga and Catalin Rotaru. Five and a Half Love Stories in an Apartment in Vilnius by Tomas Vengrin offers an ironic examination of modern relationships unfolding in a rented Airbnb apartment. Greece's entry, The Summer with Carmen by Zacharias Mavroeidis, engages in a captivating dialogue with both the film-within-a-film trope (mise en abyme) and the conventions of queer cinema. Lastly, Helena Stefánsdóttir's atmospheric Icelandic thriller, Natatorium, delves into hidden family secrets.

Selection of the second edition of Smart7:
  • Greice, dir. Leonardo Mouramateus, Portugal, Brasil 2024
  • Five and a Half Love Stories in an Apartment in Vilnius, dir. Tomas Vengris, Lithuania 2023
  • Where Elephants Go, dir. Gabi Sarga and Catalin Rotaru, Romania 2024
  • Natatorium, dir. Helena Stefánsdóttir, Iceland 2024
  • It’s Not My Film, dir. Maria Zbąska, Poland 2024
  • On The Go, dir. María Royo, Julia de Castro, Spain 2023
  • The Summer with Carmen, dir. Zacharias Mavroeidis, Greece 2023

Smart7: a European community of good practices

Smart7 stands as a distinctive project on the global film landscape, with the mBank New Horizons IFF being the sole representative from Poland in this network, and also holding the position of its leader. Last December, we hosted representatives from all member countries of Smart7 in Wroclaw, engaging in collaborative discussions on the challenges encountered in festival promotion, marketing, and sponsorship. Plans are underway for additional workshop sessions in other Smart7 countries, aiming to address further aspects of festival organization.

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