Gay Polish Drama ‘All Our Fears’ Acquired for North America By Ariztical (EXCLUSIVE)

Ariztical has taken North American rights to “All Our Fears,” a gay drama based on the life of Polish artist Daniel Rycharski that won the top prize at last year’s Gdynia Film Festival. Variety has been given exclusive access to the film’s international trailer.

“All Our Fears” tells the story of Daniel (Dawid Ogrodnik), a young artist torn between his small village community, urban art galleries, the Catholic Church and his gay identity. When his lesbian friend (Agata Labno) commits suicide after suffering from homophobic heckling, Daniel’s life mission becomes the redemption of his community through a towering work of art. Meanwhile, he struggles not to lose Olek (Oskar Rybaczek), a local man he loves who isn’t able to embrace his sexuality.

The film is written and directed by Łukasz Ronduda and co-directed by Łukasz Gutt. It’s produced by Kuba Kosma, who collaborated with Ronduda on his two previous feature films.

Speaking to Variety, Kosma stressed the timeliness of the movie’s message. “Though ‘All Our Fears’ is based on a true story, it couldn’t be more of a contemporary story in Poland, where there are huge debates over the acceptance of queer people,” he said. “We were extremely grateful that the Polish Film Institute allowed us to tell this important story.”

“All Our Fears,” which was released domestically by Kino Swiat earlier in the year, arrives amid ongoing hostility toward the LGBTQ community in Poland. President Andrzej Duda has decried homosexuality as an “ideology” and made anti-LGBTQ rhetoric a central tenet of his ruling Law and Justice Party. In recent years, the country has cracked down on gay rights protests, while nearly 100 local provinces and municipalities declared themselves “LGBT-free zones” (a distinction that many subsequently withdrew after the E.U. threatened to cut off funding).

The state-backed Polish Film Institute (PFI) has put its support behind several LGBTQ-themed projects in the past, including “Floating Skyscrapers,” Tomasz Wasilewski’s provocative coming-out drama, and “In Hiding,” Jan Kidawa-Błoński’s film set during the Nazi occupation of Poland, about the relationship between a young Jewish woman and the daughter of the family who’s hiding her.

Speaking to Variety in 2020, PFI director Radosław Śmigulski insisted that “no one will be excluded from PFI support, regardless of their political and religious beliefs or sexual orientation.” He added that “a culture that excludes any individual in their expression is incomplete and fallacious.”

“All Our Fears” had its world premiere in Gdynia, Poland’s leading event for local movies, where it took home the Golden Lion. It had its international premiere at the Pink Apple Film Festival in Zurich and also played at Florida’s OUTshine Film Festival.

Arthouse distributor A-One Films has taken the rights for Lithuania and Estonia, and Mezipatra for Czech Republic and Slovakia. Film Republic, which is handling world sales, has also received offers for the U.K., France, German-speaking territories and Benelux.

Ronduda’s previous films include “The Performer” and “A Heart of Love,” which both played at Berlin and Rotterdam. He is also a contemporary art curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. Veteran cinematographer Gutt is making his directorial debut. His first film as a DoP, Leszek Dawid’s “My Name is Ki,” played at the Venice Film Festival.

Check out a trailer for the film below:

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