Two cooperating worlds, of cinema and literature, has recently met in Kraków. The industry event called Word2Picture, which aims at networking between producers and publishers and presenting book novelties with the potential for film adaptation, took place on 25 and 26 October 2019 as part of the Conrad Festival. Although we will have to wait another year for the second edition of the event, the organisers are already announcing another workshop, conducted in cooperation with HBO Polska, educating publishers on how to encourage the film industry to adapt books from their catalogue.
The October event was attended by several dozen producers, screenwriters and directors from several TV stations and labels, including HBO, TVN, Film Produkcja or Akson Studio, as well as key Polish publishers – Społeczny Instytut Wydawniczy “Znak”, Wydawnictwo Literackie, Czarne, W.A.B., Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, Powergraph and literary agents. Agnieszka Holland, who talked about the cooperation with the Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk on the screening of her novel Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, was a special guest of the event.
The producers got acquainted with the specifics of the Polish book market during the panel Book market review for film producers led by Ewa Bolińska-Gostkowska. At the pitching session moderated by Alicja Grawon-Jaksik – expert in business and legal issues in the film sector, as well as president of the National Chamber of Audiovisual Producers – 12 book projects selected as part of an earlier open call were presented. The session was followed by subsequent one-to-one meetings with producers.
The pitching session was preceded by workshops for publishers, which took place on 23 September. During the training conducted by Alicja Grawon-Jaksik, participants talked about which books are particularly sought by producers considering a feature-length or series adaptation, how the film market works and who are the major players. The workshop also included a legal module dedicated to the issue of film contracts, led by advocate Krzysztof Czyżewski, as well as training on the art of pitching itself.
Word2Picture is a bow towards screenwriters, including beginners. This year, the programme included a screenplay masterclass on the basics of film adaptation led by Agnieszka Kruk, screenwriter and founder of StoryLab.pro, as well as a discussion about the most famous Polish adaptation of recent years, i.e. Blinded by the Lights. The meeting What makes the book be movielike? led by Ewa Bolińska-Gostkowska was honoured by the participation of Izabela Łopuch, producer of HBO, and Jakub Żulczyk, who played the double role of author and screenwriter. The hall of the Pauza club in Kraków was bursting at the seams!
The goal of Word2Picture was – and will continue to be – to create a space for cooperation between publishers and film or series producers, to present new productions as well as film and publishing trends, and above all – to gather in one place artists who can lead to the creation of Polish and international productions based on excellent books by Polish authors. See you next year!
This year’s Word2Picture industry meeting was part of the Book Industries section of the 11th Conrad Festival in Kraków.