"Katyń" by Andrzej Wajda and "Peter and the Wolf" ("Piotruś i wilk") nominated for Oscars
Katyń was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Award, and the Polish-British Peter and the Wolf by Suzie Templeton was nominated for the Best Animated Short Film Award.
“This nomination distinguishes my film and gives it a great chance to attract the interest in international distributors and viewers,” said Andrzej Wajda after being notified of the nomination. “It has even bigger meaning for me as Katyń is my most personal film. There I lost my father, Capt. Jakub Wajda, who was murdered by the Soviets. I was also a witness to the desperate searching for him by my mother. Katyń is a still unhealed wound of the Polish past, which my film shows for the first time on the screen.”
Wajda’s film, which tells of the massacre of thousands of Polish officers by the Soviets during World War II, was one of five films nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Over 90 films from around the world competed for nominations.
The producer of Katyń, which has already been seen by 2.7 million viewers, is Michał Kwieciński (Akson Studio). Co-producers are Telewizja Polska (Polish Television), and Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. (Polish Telecommunication). The film is co-financed by the Polish Film Institute (PISF). The Oscar promotion is being handled by PISF and Akson Studio.
“From the beginning we were sure that such an outstanding director can show this dramatic historical event in an intelligible way, not only for Polish viewers but also for a world audience,” said Maciej Witucki, President of Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. “I am proud that Telekomunikacja Polska, as a co-producer, contributed to this success.”
The films nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category are Beaufort (Israel), The Counterfeiters (Austria), Katyń (Poland), Mongol (Kazakhstan), and 12 (Russia).
Peter and the Wolf, a Polish-British co-production, is an adaptation of the classic work by Sergei Prokofiev. The film was produced by the legendary Se-ma-for Studio and Breakthru Films.
Peter lives in a world governed by brutal rules – the stronger one eats the weaker. But with a little help from his friends, he can face even the Wolf. This transformation from small boy to a real hero has been delighting viewers for 70 years.
An international group of over 100 people worked on this film. The spectacular scenography with very realistic decorations was created by Marek Skrobecki, who worked also for the film Schindler’s List by Steven Spielberg. Cinematography was made by Hugh Gordon and Mikołaj Jaroszewicz.
The production gained recognition at numerous international festivals, including the Rose D’Or Festival in Switzerland and Festival Pulcinella in Italy, and also won nominations at the most important festival in Great Britain – BAFTA. It also collected the two most important awards at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France in June – the Annecy Crystal and Audience Award.
Director Suzie Templeton said everybody worked with great passion on Peter and the Wolf. “I am proud of the whole team, and what we all managed to succeed,” she said.
“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 are glad that together with the British we made such a tremendous film. Twenty-five years ago Se-ma-for received an Oscar for Tango by Zbigniew Rybczyński. Maybe it is time for a replay?”
BreakThru Films Producer Hugh Welchman said, “I have worked on this project for over six years. This nomination is exceptional luck and outstanding recognition for all talented people who worked so hard.” Welchman said he has already planned the promotion campaign: “I will present Peter and the Wolf to the most important people of the American world of animation. I will meet above all with Jeffrey Katzenberg from Dreamworks Animation Studio.”
The most important meetings and film presentations in the USA (planned in two weeks) will take place with Sony Imageworks Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studio, Dreamworks Animation Studio, PDI Dreamworks, and Pixar Animation. Welchman will promote the film with director Suzie Templeton.
The five films nominated in the Best Animated Short Film category are I Met the Walrus, Madame Tutli-Putli, Même Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis, My Love, and Peter and the Wolf.
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