An Oscar for the animated film "Peter and the Wolf"

The Polish-British co-production Peter and the Wolf (Piotruś i wilk) received the American Film Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film of 2008.

“This is an Award for everybody who worked in order to fulfil one’s unreal dream which this film seemed to be,” said director Suzie Templeton.

“For us, receiving this award is a fairy tale, which became reality,” added the co-author of cinematography Hugh Gordon.

Peter and the Wolf is a new version of the classic work by Sergei Prokofiev. The film was produced by the legendary Se-ma-for Studio and Breakthru Films, and was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute (PISF).


Puppet stop-motion animation was the technique used in producing the film, which is the biggest Polish-British co-production to date. The script was written by Marianela Maldonado and Suzie Templeton; the cinematographers were Hugh Gordon and Mikołaj Jaroszewicz; Kamil Polak and Artur Zicz were responsible for visual effects; and Adam Wyrwas and Krzysztof Brzozowski for animation.

“It is the crowning of 60 years of activity for Se-ma-for and simultaneously the beginning of new times in the work of the studio,” said Zbigniew Żmudzki, producer from Se-ma-for. “We have become a European, a world company. Co-productions such as Peter and the Wolf are our future. We are glad that together with the British we made such a tremendous film.”

Se-ma-for also produced Tango by Zbigniew Rybczyński, which won an Oscar in 1983.

Other films nominated in the Best Animated Short Film category were I Met the Walrus by Josh Raskin, Madame Tutli-Putli by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, Même Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis by Samuel Tourneux, and My Love by Aleksander Petrov.

Katyń by Andrzej Wajda, nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film, did not win the statuette. The film tells of the massacre of Polish officers by the Soviets during World War II.

“I am very glad that the film topic, which it had been said would not be interesting for the Members of the Academy, nevertheless found their interest and recognition,” said Andrzej Wajda during a news conference in January. “I thank the Polish Film Institute for such great support for my project.”

“Even the nomination is very prestigious,” said Agnieszka Odorowicz, General Director of PISF on the day of the nomination. “This film is a certificate of history. Katyń evokes strong emotions in viewers abroad; it allows them to know Polish history. It is a great issue; that is why I am glad the world will have a chance to see it.”

This year more than 90 films from around the world vied for the nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film. The winner was the film The Counterfeiter (Die Fälscher) by Stefan Ruzowitzky.
Three previous films by Wajda have been nominated for Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category: The Young Ladies of Wilko (Panny z Wilka), Land of Promise (Ziemia obiecana), and Man of Iron (Człowiek z żelaza).

Other Polish accents at this year’s Oscars included a nomination for Janusz Kamiński for cinematography for The Driving Bell and the Butterfly (Motyl i Skafander). It is the fourth nomination for Kamiński, who has won Oscars for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan by Steven Spielberg.

Also receiving a nomination was the Canadian short animated film Madame Tutli-Putli inspired by the creativity of novelist Stanisɫaw Witkiewicz, whose co-director is Maciek Szczerbowski.


Translated by Monika Miziniak | Edited by Patricia Koza