It’s time to uncover solid part of the programme cards of the multimedia festival Ars Independent 2018! Discounted festival passes are also now available for pre-order.

From September 25 to 30, more than 40 multimedia events will await us in Katowice, including: four international Black Horse competitions as well as several out of competition sections and special events.

This year, the event will be hosted at Katowice City of Gardens, Rialto and Światowid cinemas, the Academy of Fine Arts, the festival club Drzwi Zwane Koniem and – for the first time! – at the cinema/stage of the Youth Palace and the Jazz Club Hipnoza.

Additionally, the final pre-order pool of festival passes was just launched – until September 10, they are available for purchase at the discounted price of 80 PLN. The tickets can be bought at Ars Independent online shop and the Bilety24 platform.

We will unpack the final programme package (including the nominees in all competitions) on September 11. Additionally, the festival’s schedule will be published and the regular festival pool will be launched for sale (100 PLN), as well as tickets for individuals events (13 PLN).


The Black Horse of Film will feature 6 debuting directors. The prize – title and statuette of the Black Horse and 500 EUR – in this and other competitions will be awarded by the festivalgoers. The nominated titles will be revealed in September.

“The characters change faces and names, with only one connective tissue in this cinematic patchwork: love” – reveals the festival coordinator Matylda Badera. What’s this all about? György Pálfi’s “Ladies & Gentlemen: Final Cut” (2012), a „found footage” masterpiece. Fragments of over 500 films – from “The Seven Samurai,” through “Airplane!” to TV’s “Twin Peaks” make up not only a cinephile’s impressive tribute, but also an unflinching implementation of mash-up culture. The film will be screened at Ars Independent with an original soundtrack, composed and performer live by the Katowice trio Bękarty Bacha.

In addition, like in previous years, we will get a chance to sit down at the intimate, two-person World’s Smallest Cinema. But more surprises await in the film repertoire this year!

This time in City of Music, the yearly section devoted to music documentaries and films, we will take a look not only new cinema, but at the classics too.

The programme includes Clint Eastwood’s “Bird” (1988), a portrait of the legendary saxophone player and the father of bebop Charles Parker. He fought his demons in a booze and drug-induced trance, on the one hand revolutionizing jazz, but on the other – marching straight into an early, inevitable death.

In Michał Wiraszko’s “The Returning Wave” (2017) – 30 years after Piotr Łazarkiewicz’s famous documentary “Wave” about Jarocin ’85 – the festival’s participants talk about freedom, future, punk rock in the Polish People’s Republic and what is left of all that today. In front of the camera, we will see Paweł Kukiz, Robert Brylewski, Robert Gawliński and others.

“The Children from the Hotel America” (1990) will also take us back in time and space to ‘72’s Lithuania. The student Romas Kalanta performed an act of self-immolation in front of the Kaunas Musical Theatre – where after World War II, the country was joined into the USSR – protesting the Soviet occupation. This serves as the background for the rock’n’roll eye of the storm and youth revolt from behind the Iron Curtain.


In the Black Horse of Animation’s three sets we will watch up to 30 short animated films. As always, it will be an original showcase of the minds and works of the latest generation of animators.

Stop!Motion! will remind us of, well, stop motion animation. Presumed dead in this new digital age, the technique is surprisingly lively, carving out its own niche. The characters in these shorts are “presented with the unexpected – we want to do the same to our audience,” as writes Gaba Palicka, the festival’s animation curator, extending an invitation to rediscover stop motion.

“The Snow Queen” (1957), an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale is a classic of Soviet (but also world) animation, honoured with many awards: from Cannes to Moscow. Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli and creator of such classics as “Princess Mononoke” or “Spirited Away”, admitted that he was inspired by Atamanov and Fyodorov’s film. In Katowice, we will watch a digitally restored copy with live music! Jan Maksimowicz and Arkady Gotesman, a duo of young and insanely talented jazzmen from Lithuania, will perform a new soundtrack to the film, composed specifically for Ars Independent.

“Let’s not kid ourselves. Most of the films at Ars Independent feature some damn heavy drama. It won’t hurt to take a break from them, just for balance’s sake,” comments Gaba Palicka, the new animation curator at Ars Independent. Horsing Around will be such an intermission. A choice of comedic, short animations from the last few years will undoubtedly light up the fall mood.

Don Hertzfeldt, nominated to the Oscars for the cult-classic “Rejected” will take us on a journey from one extreme to the other, bathed in dark humour – for which he is very much known – in “It’s Such a Beautiful Day” (2012). The film is a perfect showcase of the animator’s wild imagination, where the drawn, cartoony artwork transforms and mixes with authorial, syncretic special effects.

Like every year, we will make a trip to a chosen, foreign animation school. The Oders is a set of short films from the Filmakademie Baden- Württemberg, featuring a full range of contemporary animation techniques. The German academy is considered one of the best film schools in the world, especially when it comes to animation and special effects. The festival will host director and graduate from the academy, Thomas Sali, who will pull back the industry/artistic curtain a little bit before the screening.


The galleries of Katowice City of Gardens will host the interactive exhibition of the Black Horse of Video Games. The 7 titles featured in this year’s competition will definitely flip our view of today’s games (and not-games).

We will also embark on a journey From Marienbad to Novigrad, through the history of Polish video games. “Marienbad” – considered by Bartek Kluska as the first Polish video game – will take us back to the year 1962. From Wrocław’s Elwro company (where Witold Podgórski wrote „Marienbad” for the Odra 1003 computer) to the streets of the Free City Novigrad (one of the major locations in “The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt”), we will take a relaxed stroll through over half a century of Poland’s electronic entertainment.

Apart from the From Marienbad to Novigrad exhibition dedicated to the history of Polish video games, we will take a look at the Demoscene’s New Wave, a review of the latest demos – audiovisual, digital IT artworks – produced for a variety of hardware: from Commodore64, through Amiga and Atari to PCs. Our guide through this enigmatic universe will be Magda “Corny” Krawczyk, an active demoscene musician and co-organizator of Riverwash, the biggest demoparty in Poland.

Once again, we’ll take a look “at what’s currently cracking in Polish indies and what’s going to be the talk of the oncoming months after the festival” – as described by video game curator, Jacek Wandzel – at the Video Games Night Market. The open showcase for young, independent studios will let us play the latest works of the indie scene: before release and with live commentary from the authors present.

The deadline for submissions to the Night Market is August 31: the entry form and rules and regulations are available at the Video Games Night Market subpage.


Up to 30 videos will be featured in the Black Horse of Music Videos competition. As in previous years, we will take a dive into the depths of YouTube to ask ourselves: are those still music videos?

Choked&Blind returns! Vol. 2, the second edition of the festival’s showcase of shocking music videos, will experiment with taboos of transhumanism and physical transgression. The screening is for adults only.

And now for something completely different – for the first time in Ars Independent’s history – a proposition for the youngest audiences and their close ones. The Black Ponies of Music Videos are a peculiar lesson about music video and the medium’s history, spun around a single question: “what is a cover?” Maciej Gryzełko, the festival’s music video curator, will help answer that question.

Bounce and the Structure of Disorder is a review of dancing, performative music videos – works spinning fascinating tales through movement, pose, body. What is that all about? “A dancing melting pot. A healing anarchy. The equilibrium between balance and fall. It will be lyrical, and there will be brawl,” teases Maciek Gryzełko, the festival’s music video curator.

Expect a completely different vibe – improvised and bouncy – in the music video afterparty ClipBait! A group of invited moderators will drag us into the peripheries of the Internet. We will dive right into the muck of YouTube, where be music videos that should be left forgotten.


One of the festival’s highlights will be Władysław Komendarek’s live act in the Jazz Club Hipnoza. Komendarek is the father of Polish electronica and the definition of the avant-garde and experiment. For years, ever since the ‘80s, he has been charting the borders of Polish electronic music.

That is not the end of electronic announcements. July 31 marked the end of the open draft of young DJs for the festival’s afterparties Afterhorse. From a sea of fantastic submissions from the entire country, the organizers will invite a few of them to liven up the evening parties at Drzwi Zwane Koniem. The time-table will be announced in the second half of August.


Like in previous years, we will take a closer look at fresh works from the realms of virtual reality. This year, VRoom! will surprise us even more with its multimedia character, a balancing act between music videos, games, cinematic VR and tough to classify, interactive 360 experiences. The full “VRoom!” programme will be revealed in September.

Ars Independent is organized by Katowice City of Gardens and the City of Katowice.