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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » October 14, 2009
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Warsaw Film Festival Turns 25
October 14, 2009   
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Stefan Laudyn, director of the Warsaw Film Festival, talks to Magdalena Błaszczyk.

The Warsaw Film Festival turns 25 this year. Was the jubilee a source of inspiration while you were preparing the festival this year or did it rather put you under pressure?
I feel maximum motivation every year before the festival. Every time, my team does its best to make sure the festival is at least a little better than the previous one. I believe that this year we have succeeded in assembling a fantastic collection of movies.

Celebrating anniversaries has never been my forté. This year's festival program features just one anniversary touch, a private concert by The Festival Band & Friends. As the very name suggests, we will play the concert with friends for a group of people we know and for festival guests.

The Warsaw Film Festival has come a long way: from a review to a local festival, to an international event. Were these changes more an evolution or a revolution?
The Warsaw Film Festival has always been an event at a high artistic level. We could have become a leading international festival much earlier, but we had to waste time and energy struggling against stupid bureaucracy. We owe our standing only to years of hard and consistent work by a group of people who I have had the privilege of working with for 20 years. The festival could have developed much faster.

The Warsaw Film Festival started from scratch in 1980s communist Poland, a country that was isolated from the rest of the world. My teachers were foreigners, wonderful, open people eager to share their knowledge and experience.

The number of festival visitors keeps growing every year. Do you think this is a sign that the tastes of Polish audiences are changing? Is there a chance that one day Polish movie theaters will be showing a selection of films of a quality similar to those shown at the festival?
One of the reasons behind the growing turnout is the growing number of seats we can use at cinemas taking part in the Warsaw Film Festival. There used to be much fewer seats available. The selection of movies shown at Polish theaters depends on what distributors decide. Please remember that movie distribution is a business burdened with high risks and considerable financial outlays, such as advertising and making copies.
Many said after the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia that this year is a turning point for Polish cinema. Would you say the same as the director of the Warsaw Film Festival?
It's hard to assess the condition of the movie-making industry based on movies produced in just one season. This year's festival in Gdynia featured several good movies, but let's first see how the winners do in Polish cinemas and internationally.
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