In last year’s summary of activities of the Ad Arte Foundation and Short Waves Festival, we wrote that 2022 was one of the most intense seasons in the history of our work. However, we did not know what the year 2023 had in store for us…
We kicked off in February, and our first event was the Valentine’s Day screening “Crazy Love.” At the Palace Cinema, we watched a set of five short films that told extraordinary love stories.
In March, the entire film world was buzzing with the Oscars. On this occasion, to fulfill our mission of popularizing short films, the Ad Arte Foundation once again became the exclusive Polish distributor of two Oscar Nominated Shorts programs – live-action and animated films. We organized dozens of screenings in cinemas across Poland, showcasing the ten exceptional shorts nominated for the most prestigious film award in the world.
Also in spring, we hosted the industry event R/R Café – Breaking New Ground in Film Curating – a two-day workshop culminating in an open discussion panel for the public. The workshops were led by Suzy Gillett, a British curator, festival producer, screenwriter, director, and film consultant with over 30 years of experience. Participants in the workshops represented diverse areas of the film culture, both from the audience and talent development perspectives. Through active mutual education, exchanging opinions, and sharing experiences, they delved into issues related to event programming and organizing film festivals, developing practices and strategies leading to the creation of sustainable, ethical action models in the future.
Then came a two-month break in events, but we were not idle, preparing for a brand new music and film festival – Summer Time Festival! The first edition started on July 12th in Poznań. Over five days, we gathered over 3,000 people participating in 21 events at 15 locations. The program included film screenings in three sections – Random Garden Cinema, Urban View, and Long Story Short – held in Poznań cinemas, urban open spaces, gardens, and allotments; musical events, including concerts, DJ sets, and club parties (including a concert by the band Mitch & Mitch!); and live podcast sessions, audio and architectural walks, and field recording workshops. It was a truly extraordinary, sunny, and inspiring time that we still remember with great joy!
The summer screenings continued, and along with Lato z Estradą and Lago Film Fest, we organized Open Garden Cinema Naramowice, an intimate outdoor film screening arranged in beautiful natural surroundings. It combined a unique film selection with social interaction and unforgettable entertainment provided by Italian short films from recent years.
Next, we moved to Starołęka, which we visited four times with Open-Air Cinema on the school field. The program featured four completely different feature films, united by the essential summer atmosphere for us in this season!
The last week of August arrived, bringing another edition of the OFF Jeżyce Festival! ‘In the close proximity of culture’ was the motto that guided us throughout the preparations and the festival itself. We saw firsthand how necessary such events are because it is precisely in their immediate surroundings that residents have the greatest desire to absorb things they don’t normally come into contact with. The second edition of OFF Jeżyce attracted 1,000 people who, during 10 events, met in Festival locations! They listened, watched, talked, and discovered together with us what local culture has to offer. We showcased 14 short films in the Jeżycki Open Screen section, created by local filmmakers, three feature films during the Summer Cinema, and 13 music videos during the Muza z Fyrtla. Another event on the OFF Jeżyce program was Morning for the Youngest – a screening of animated short films and animation workshops for children. The festival club featured last year’s winner of “Muza z Fyrtla” – the Willa Kosmos band. DJ sets by Poznań DJs, TBH, and Nowesta enlivened the dance floor on the weekend.
After OFF Jeżyce, we continued screenings at Starołęka, and at the Rialto Cinema, we showed short films from the selection of the Manhattan Short Festival. Participants in the event could become their own film critics by voting for the Best Film and Best Actor at the 26th edition of this festival!
In October, a new place appeared on the cultural map of Poznań – Art Corner by Porsche Centrum Poznań, with which we collaborated, organizing film screenings. The first screening featured a set of films inspired by the work of Magdalena Abakanowicz, titled “In my dances, sculptures are alive, observed by an immobile viewer.” Screenings at Art Corner also took place in November and December.
The Short Waves Festival was approaching rapidly, but before launching our largest festival, we decided to settle in Psie Andaluzyjskie, where weekly screenings of short films took place. First, a return to the first set of this year’s Urban View, then a completely new formula of OFF Short Waves – programs consisting of films submitted during SWF calls that did not make it into the official selection, but due to their uniqueness, we wanted to show them to the audience before, during, and after the festival.
The 15th edition of the Short Waves Festival, unlike previous years, took place in the fall this year. For this reason, we stayed in the warm spaces of cinemas, cultural institutions, clubs, and bars. However, the weather outside did not stop us from organizing over 70 film, music, and industry events, workshops, talks, and meetings in the festival club! The theme of this year’s edition was “Rethink/Rebuild,” and in line with it, we approached the organization of the film festival with a fresh perspective, openness to changes, and the courage to implement them. The competition program underwent a significant transformation. Permanent competitions – International and Polish – still occupied a key place in the film structure of SWF. However, two new ones appeared – MOVES and RAW – the first dedicated to motion cinema, the second to bold, young, and experimental cinema. In the non-competitive film program, there were entertaining thematic sections, namely Kinky Shorts and Horror Shorts; ESFAA screenings; projections of experimental films from tape; a collective screening created by Narocz13 and Nektar from Another Planet, SWF Showcases, and works by students of the Intermedia Department at UAP, and much, much more! In the music section, we discovered, among others, audio-visual experiments by UKRAiNATV, ambient sounds at the Martyna Basta and Perila concert, and strong sounds at Shapednoise. As always, there was also a place for children and young people, this time in the form of screenings and workshops in the SWF TEENS and SWF KIDS sections. Additionally, an exhibition and a series of screenings and meetings took place at the SKALA gallery by artist Clemens Wilhelm, and of course, daily meetings, conversations, sharing impressions, and recharging batteries in the Festival Club!
After Short Waves, we didn’t slow down, and just two days after the end of the Festival, we entered Pies Andaluzyjski again for another installment of the OFF series of screenings. In November, the second Urban View screening took place there. In December, we began the countdown to the end of the year. Screenings as part of the 3… 2… 1. series were a reminder of European short films that found their place in the programs of the 12th, 13th, and 14th editions of the Short Waves Festival.
To conclude this immense amount of work, we had nothing left but to celebrate, and the perfect opportunity for this was the next Short Film Day, which took place on December 22nd, the shortest day of the year. We prepared five unique film sets that viewers across Poland had the opportunity to see in cinemas!
Thus, we closed the long, extraordinary, and full-of-novelties year 2023. We would like to sincerely thank you for it! Several thousand people attended our events, driving us and showing that it is worth doing what we love the most. We want to thank everyone who engaged in our activities, collaborated with us, and co-created all the above events! Beautiful thanks to our wonderful volunteer teams, without whom we would have no chance of success! Huge thanks also go to the creative individuals whose films we showcased throughout the year, musical artists, collectives, and those who led conversations, meetings, and workshops. We thank all the patrons, partners, and sponsors of our events for financing the entire project, contributing to the program, sharing their space, providing technological and media support!
… And we are already preparing for more innovations. See you in 2024!
The Ad Arte Foundation and Short Waves Festival Team