In 1985, members of the student film discussion club “Hybrydy” founded the Warsaw Film Week. This event is considered the inaugural Warsaw Film Festival. Festival’s creator Roman Gutek became its first director. In 1991, Warsaw Film Week was renamed to Warsaw Film Festival after Stefan Laudyn became the new director.
In 2000, the festival got accreditation from the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (the FIAPF) and was renamed to Warsaw International Film Festival. In 2009, the FIAPF gave it competitive status which made the WWF an A list festival.
One of the main objectives of the Warsaw International Film Festival is to introduce its audeince to the latest films from all over the world, from American independent cinema to films by Asian, Latin American, Iranian, Russian, Romanian and other filmmakers. The non-competitive program of the festival includes screenings of new films from all over the world, classic Polish films, the best films that have been presented at other international film festivals, family films, short and documentary films, etc.
A considerable part of the festival program is dedicated to industry events aimed at filmmakers and studio executives. Since 2005, the WWF has been organizing the CentEast Market Warsaw. The market serves as a meeting place for producers, festival programmers, distributors and sales agents interested in Eastern European Cinema. The market takes place during the final days of the festival.
The Warsaw International Film Festival has several competitive sections such as International Competition (the main competitive section for feature films from all over the world), 1-2 Competition (first and second feature films by emerging directors), Free Spirit Competition (innovative, independent, rebellious films), Documentary Competition, Short Films Competition.
The main award of the WWF is the Warsaw Grand Prix. The award goes to the director(s) of the best film in the international competition. There are two more awards in the international competition, the Best Director Award and the Special Jury Award. Each competitive section has its own award or awards. Besides, the winners of the short films competition are Academy Awards eligible.
Photo by Marcin Kułakowski, Polish Film Institute