We present the line-up of our new section First Look - TV Pilots Competition. Cinematographers of eleven television projects will compete for the festival's main prize.

Daredevil: Into the Ring

Still from "Daredevil", courtesy of NetFlix
As a child, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) lost his eyesight in an accident. However, all of his other senses were heightened, allowing him to hear, feel, and foresee more than regular people. At first, he treated his abilities as a curse, but later he learnt to appreciate them and decided to use them to fight evil. By day, the now grown-up Matt is a more-or-less effective lawyer in New York, and by night, he becomes a fearless guardian of the city. When the neighbourhood of Hell’s Kitchen, where he and his friends live, is flooded by crime and corruption, Murdock takes up the challenge—no matter the injuries or personal costs involved. The creators of the Daredevil series, Drew Goddard and Steven S. DeKnight, and the director of the pilot episode, Phil Abraham, invite the audience to a fascinating journey into the heart of darkness; a journey that also shows a different side to the popular myths about superheroes.
Original title: Daredevil: Into the Ring
Director: Phil Abraham
Cinematographer: Matthew J. Lloyd
Produced by: ABC Television Studio, Marvel Television
Distribution: NetFlix
USA, 2015

Fargo: The Crocodile's Dilemma

Still from "Fargo", courtesy of FX Network and Ale kino+
Lester Nygaard is a typical small-town loser who vegetates in Bemidji, Minnesota. His once-supportive wife accuses him every single day of being a sucker. His once-endearing younger brother is all about showing off with his promotions and perfect little family. His ever-boorish school bully does not seem to know when to stop. However, everything changes drastically when the impish hitman Lorne Malvo comes to town. While dead bodies and surreal riddles start to pile up, meek Lester realizes that rules were actually made to be broken. By extending the universe created in 1996 by the Coen brothers, Fargo’s showrunner Noah Hawley made a show that is a suitable tribute and simultaneously something completely different. Its first episode, directed by Adam Bernstein, is the best proof of this—here is a tale combining dark comedy with film noir, in which Minnesota becomes the location of a truly epic fight between evil and... a lesser evil.
Original title: Fargo: The Crocodile's Dilemma
Director: Adam Bernstein
Cinematographer: Matthew J. Lloyd
Produced by: Nomadic Pictures
Distribution: FX Network, FX
Polish distribution: Ale kino+
USA, 2014




Gomorrah: Il clan dei Savastano

Still from "Gomorrah", courtesy of HBO Poland Sp. z o. o.
Matteo Garrone’s 2008 crime drama Gomorrah, based on the hard-hitting, controversial novel written by Roberto Saviano, was a fascinating and utterly complex insight into the reality of the Neapolitan-based mafia called Camorra. Using both works of art as a basis for something entirely new, Gomorrah’s showrunner Stefano Sollima, who also directed the pilot episode, not only supplemented this spellbinding world with its original narrative, character arcs, and overtones, but also added many stylistic touches that made it the Italian counterpart of the famous American show The Wire. Gomorrah’s protagonist is a guy called Ciro—a young, charismatic, and arrogant henchman for Naples’ Savastano crime family. He is loyal, brave, and ruthless, quickly earning his bosses’ trust and making himself an indispensable part of the organization’s structure. Will he be able to make all of his big dreams come true without sacrificing the man he was before?
Original title: Gomorra - La serie: Il clan dei Savastano
Director: Stefano Sollima
Cinematographer: Paolo Carnera
Produced by: Cattleya, Fandango, Sky
Distribution: Home Box Office (HBO)
Polish distribution: HBO Poland Sp. z o. o.
Germany, Italy, 2014




Jordskott: Del I

Still from "Jordskott", courtesy of Sveriges Television
Police negotiator Eva Thörnblad goes back to her home town for the funeral of her tragically deceased father. At the same time she has to confront her inner demons, as it was in this place that her beloved daughter disappeared mysteriously seven years earlier. The woman is going through an emotional breakdown, but suddenly, and initially against her will, she becomes a part of a complex police investigation connected with cases of other missing children. Henrik Björn, the series showrunner and director of the pilot episode, continues the commendable tradition of the Scandinavian crime show and creates a suggestive, hallucinatory atmosphere reminiscent of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks. Jordskott’s creator invites the audience into a world in which nothing is what it seems—a place surrounded by cool lakes and misty forests that can inspire fear with its dark secrets, but also fascinate with the silent beauty of nature’s indifference.

Original title: Jordskott: Del I
Director: Henrik Björn
Cinematographer: Pelle Hallert
Produced by: Palladium Fiction
Distribution: Sveriges Television (SVT)
Finland, Sweden, Norway, UK, 2015

Manhattan: You Always Hurt the One You Love

Still from "Manhattan", courtesy of Lionsgate Television
Among the hundreds of crucial events in the history of the world, building a functional atomic bomb was one of the most significant ones, though at the time it was shrouded in secrecy. Showrunner Sam Shaw’s Manhattan is a fictionalized tale about the men who made that leap of faith into the atomic era, and the women who stood morally beside them. Directed by Thomas Schlamme, the pilot episode throws the audience within the confines of the Manhattan Project’s top-secret, government-made little New Mexico town of Los Alamos. There, hundreds of scientists isolated with their families from the outside world, including Frank Winter, work against the clock and face various moral dilemmas. Is it really worth creating something that will end the war but at the same time change the world forever? Will playing God come back to haunt those that attempt it? And, finally, can one afford to do nothing and hope that the world will fix itself?
Original title: Manhattan: You Always Hurt the One You Love
Director: Thomas Schlamme
Cinematographer: John Lindley
Produced by: Lionsgate Television, Skydance Productions
Distribution: Lionsgate Television
USA, 2014


Pact, The: Victim

Still from "The Pact", courtesy of HBO Poland Sp. z o. o.
A big city means big pay cheques, big corporations, and big secrets. As well as even bigger scandals when some of those secrets spill into the public. Piotr Grodecki is an overly ambitious investigative journalist who is concerned with the truth and nothing but the truth. When one of the articles he has written provokes a social and media outrage, making life much harder for quite a number of people, he realizes that truth has many different faces. Partly based on a Norwegian mini-series called Mammon, but using its structure and elements to different ends and building a world from scratch, The Pact, with pilot episode directed by Marek Lechki, is a thrilling TV show that deals with many of the crucial aspects of modern times, among them the tension between journalistic ethics and the chaotic presence of digital reality, and the role of opinion-forming media in a world which seems to be slowly forgetting the difference between truth and fiction.

Original title: Pakt: Ofiara
Director: Marek Lechki
Cinematographer: PaweĊ‚ Flis
Produced by: HBO Europe, Telemark Sp. z o. o.
Distribution: HBO Europe
Polish distribution: HBO Poland Sp. z o. o.
Poland, 2015




Penny Dreadful: Night Work

Still from "Penny Dreadful", courtesy of HBO Poland Sp. z o. o.
Ethan Chandler is a charming American gunslinger who has come to Victorian London to earn a quick buck. This is a down-to-earth man who only trusts what he sees with his own eyes. When he is hired by the hypnotic Vanessa Ives and mysterious Sir Malcolm Murray, his world starts to collapse. His new employers show him London’s dark underbelly, far beyond anything that a normal person can comprehend, in which an eternal war is raging between human beings and supernatural creatures preying on people’s naivety and lack of knowledge. Inspired by legendary literary horror tales and their famous characters, including Victor Frankenstein, Mina Harker, and Dorian Gray, Penny Dreadful’s showrunner John Logan and the pilot’s director, Juan Antonio Bayona, invite their audience on a journey into the heart of darkness. A tale which blends reality and fiction that is dangerous and tenebrous, but at the same time elegant and sensual.
Original title: Penny Dreadful: Night Work
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Cinematographer: Xavi Giménez
Produced by: Showtime Networks, Desert Wolf Productions, Neal Street Productions
Distribution: Home Box Office (HBO)
Polish distributor: HBO Poland Sp. z o. o.
UK, USA, Ireland, 2014




Sense8: Limbic Resonance

Still from "Sense8", courtesy of FX Network
Eight people of different backgrounds, nationalities, races, religions, and skin colours, living under dissimilar conditions in different parts of the world—people who could not have ever met personally—start to share a bizarre connection that will mark them for the rest of their lives. Before they even know what is happening and understand their odd visions, a clandestine organization with sinister intentions is already treading on their heels. Sense8 is a TV series like no other, with the narrative unravelling on different continents and with the use of numerous genre conventions, while the characters present a fascinating range of worldviews and philosophies. This all enables the show’s creators, J. Michael Straczynski and Andy and Lana Wachowski (who also directed the pilot episode), to reflect on such themes as human identity and the concept of heterogeneity, to break cultural and social taboos, and to provoke admiration for the world’s beauty depicted on the screen.
Original title: Sense8: Limbic Resonance
Director: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Cinematographer: Christian Almesberger, Frank Griebe, Danny Ruhlmann, John Toll
Produced by: Georgeville Television, Studio JMS, Unpronounceable Productions
Distribution: NetFlix
USA, 2015

Sirens: The Sinking Woman

Still from "Sirens", courtesy of July August Productions and HOT
Weird events start to transpire in Eliat, a busy Israeli port town. One of them involves the discovery of the corpse of a naked and unnaturally obese woman, who, under closer observation, seems to be a hardly recognizable version of a girl who vanished from the face of the Earth 17 years before. Police officer Shelly Rajuan, sister of the deceased, investigates the whole matter but only uncovers more mysteries. Was the woman’s horrific death somehow linked to the human trafficking in the region? Or maybe it has something to do with the seemingly unstoppable wave of African immigrants coming to Israel’s shores, thus evoking xenophobia and racism among the local community? Sirens is a show that is part solid procedural drama, part poignant thriller, and part timely tale about the modern world. Showrunners Shahar Magen and Adam Sanderson (who directed the pilot episode) present a raw, pessimistic, and uncompromising TV series that is not easily forgotten.
Original title: Betoolot: The Sinking Woman
Director: Adam Sanderson
Cinematographer: Nadav Hekselman
Produced by: July August Productions, HOT
Distribution: HOT
Israel, 2014





Trapped: Episode #1.1

Still from "Trapped", courtesy of RVKstudios
Siglufjörður is a small Icelandic town in which there are far more family dramas than crime mysteries. However, not long before the events depicted on the screen, two teenagers are trapped in an old warehouse that is lit on fire by someone. What is more, the pilot episode wastes no time and brings a mutilated corpse to the town’s shore, which arrives together with a large ferry from Denmark. Not only is the killer on the loose and soon to touch Icelandic soil without any consequences, but there is also a powerful snowstorm coming towards the town which will isolate it from the outside world. Andri tries to solve the hideous crime, but the police seem to be powerless. Time is almost up. Soon everyone will be trapped in a situation with no easy way out. Baltasar Kormákur, Trapped’s showrunner and the pilot’s director, presents a devilishly stylish and whimsical TV series about people and real monsters that are only acting like people.
Original title: Trapped: Episode #1.1
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Cinematographer: Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson
Produced by: RVKstudios
Distribution: Dynamic Television
Iceland, 2015

True Detective: The Long Bright Dark

Still from "True Detective", courtesy of HBO Poland Sp. z o. o.
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson play two homicide detectives, Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, who become a part of an investigation concerning a serial killer with a flair for ritualistic murders. Finding the true criminal will take many, many years and make them question everything they have ever believed in. True Detective’s pilot is set in Louisiana, which looks like a nihilistic wasteland filled with instances of religious nightmares—a state in which the oneiric beauty of the landscapes is inextricably linked to the ugliness of human nature, hidden away in narrow confines of small houses. By combining an intriguing metaphysical experience with this brutal reality, and confronting film noir and the buddy movie genre with a mystical atmosphere, the first episode of Nic Pizzolatto’s series, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, creates a believably nightmarish reality in which, however, one would like to stay for a long time.
Original title: True Detective: The Long Bright Dark
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Cinematographer: Adam Arkapaw
Produced by: Passenger Film Studio, Parliament of Owls, Neon Black, Anonymous Content, Home Box Office (HBO)
Distribution: HBO Enterprises
Polish distributor: HBO Poland Sp. z o. o.
USA, 2014