We know the full programme of Ars Independent 2018!

The multimedia festival Ars Independent reveals its last programme announcement – thus, we now know the full programme of this year’s event, taking place from September 25 to 30 in Katowice! The final pool of festival passes and tickets to individual events just went on sale.

Ars Independent Festival 2018 equals 40 events in 12 multimedia sections awaiting festivalgoers over 6 days: four international Black Horse competitions (film, animation, video games and music videos) and several out of competition specials.

This year’s programme consists of 177 films, animations, music videos, shorts and features – combined into 2259 minutes of screenings. Additionally, over 42 video games and a bunch of stuff that’s hard to classify.

Ars Independent’s full programme and schedule is available at arsindependent.pl. You can also buy festival passes (100 PLN) and tickets to specific events (13 PLN) there.

The festival will take place in Katowice at 8 locations: Katowice City of Gardens, Jazz Club Hipnoza, the Korez Theatre Gallery, the Academy of Fine Arts, Youth Palace, the festival club Drzwi Zwane Koniem and cinemas Światowid and Rialto.

What’s new from the organizers in the third, final programme announcement? We now know of the nominees in the four international Black Horse competitions, of a retrospective of Piotr Szulkin’s work and the repertoire of the virtual reality zone VRoom!


As always, the Black Horse of Film consists of 6 feature films by 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.

Summer boredom and the need for a quick buck set the stage for a group of teenagers’ dangerous game with their own sexuality. René Eller’s Belgian-Dutch debut “We” (2018) is an emotional, intense carousel about crossing the border between good and evil.

Contemporary China as a film set: without actors, camera operators, recorded solely with CCTV cameras, but with an engaging plot. Xu Bing’s “The Dragonfly Eyes” (2017) is one of the most brilliant formal experiments of recent years.

Niles Atallah’s “King” (2017) tells a part real, part fablelike story of 19th century French adventurer Orélie Antoine de Tounens, who wanted to become the king of Patagonia. A surrealist western, invoking the atmosphere of Herzog’s “Aguirre,” juggling techniques and screen formats.

How much are you willing to do to make your American dream come true? It’s the question at the center of Ioana Uricaru’s “Lemonade” (2018), a thrilling story of a Romanian immigrant vying for a residence permit in the USA.

Gürcan Keltek’s “Meteors” is a documentary commentary on the situation in Eastern Anatolia. The recent Turkish armed offensive in the region, aimed at the Kurdish labor party, plays out over a planetoid rain, which gives the events a cosmic perspective.

In “The Wild Boys” (2017), we embark on a dreamlike cruise alongside five youngsters, under the guidance of the strict Captain. The director Bertrand Mandico not only borrows heavily from “midnight movies” aesthetic, but was also visibly inspired by stories of violence: from Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” to Golding’s “Lord of the Flies.”


Piotr Szulkin, one of Polish cinema’s most original auteurs, died this August. He was one of the few with the imagination and talent to tackle science-fiction tropes as early as in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

In his debut work “Golem” (1979) we will meet with the fascinating mix of post-apocalyptic motifs – a mainstay in the director’s employ – and medieval esoterica. Inspired by the Jewish legend about the alchemist Liwa ben Becaleo, who in the 16th century created an artificial human, as well as Meyrink’s “Golem” and Shelle’s “Frankenstein” Szulkin tells a tale of a tragic figure, a being born from medical experiments.

“The War of the Worlds: Next Century” (1981) is a loose adaptation of Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” and once again a moving portrait of man, enslaved by media and authoritarian governments; this time, the oppressors are Earth’s Martian invaders and their collaborators.

To finish up, possibly Szulkin’s most realized work: “O-bi, O-ba – The End of Civilization” (1984). After a nuclear apocalypse, humanity lives under a concrete dome, awaiting the mythical Arc; one supposed to take the survivors to a brave new world. This is where Szulkin’s incisive, socio-political critique is at its sharpest.


In the Black Horse of Animation’s three sets, we will watch 31 short animated films. As always, it will be an original showcase of the minds and works of the latest generation of animators, featuring every style known to today’s animation.


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). This year we play thanks to technological support from Alsen, NeedIT and Intex PC.

“Everything Is Going To Be OK” (2017) leaves us with an important piece of life advice: “when we die, our souls get trapped in a torrent file that nobody ever downloads.” On the one hand, it’s an absurd meta-game – filled with Paint-made graphics, weak coaching advice, simulations of old system interfaces – on the other: a manic-depressive story about leaving traumas behind.

A few years ago, the Polish 11 bit studios turned the war game on its head with “This War of Mine” putting players into the shoes of civilians and forcing failures upon us. In their latest “Frostpunk” (2018), the city tycoon turns in to a spectacular survival strategy in a steampunk world overtaken by ice.

We didn’t have many games like “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” (2017) in the past few years – really, we didn’t have too many games like these at all. The story of the Celtic warrior Senua’s journey to Helheim (the Nordic land of the dead) to return her beloved to life, is a moving trek into the protagonist’s mind, where we are accompanied by constant, nefarious whispers of psychotic voices in her head.

What if we broke this fantasy of player power? “Minit” (2018) is a miniature pearl, where the protagonist – well, a duck – embarks on an epic journey not unlike Link of “Zelda.” Only they die every minute, because the four developers only give you 60 seconds to explore and solve the world’s puzzles.

In the world of “Pyre” (2017), the latest work of the people behind “Bastion” and “Transistor” pilgrims journey to places of worship, where a bizarre ritual happens: two groups fight over an orb, trying to throw it into pyres at the opposing ends of the shrine. The prize: salvation. One of the most intriguing looks at sports games in recent years.

“The Red Strings Club” (2018) is another subversive adventure game by Deconstructeam visiting Ars Independent after “Gods Will Be Watching.” This time, we will traverse a cybernoir future pondering the questions of transhumanism – in between mixing drinks, pottery and some damn good dialogue.

Probably the most recognized title of this year’s selection – after all, “What Remains of Edith Finch” (2017) is a BAFTA winner. However, to those who normally aren’t into games, this will be a positively refreshing experience. 80 years of history of the Finch family, divided into 13 fragments and 13 beautifully diverse forms, with inspirations from Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu” to the cartoonish “Tales from the Crypt.”


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? The nominees will remain a mystery until the festival screenings!


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.

This year, the zone features 12 titles – for the first time – divided into blocks over the entire festival week. From VR editions of the competition’s “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice,” the Polish hit “SUPERHOT” or 2016’s Black Horse of Video Games “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes”; to the moving, documentary duology on every-day reality “The Last Chair,” a trip into the Olympic National Park in North America in search of natural silence in “Sanctuaries of Silence,” or the story of the Stuxnet virus and cyber threats in “Zero Days VR.”