still from the film, photo: Anna Wydra / press materials

The Polish documentary film  has been nominated for an Academy Award in the Short Documentary category. The award ceremony takes place on March 7, 2010

The nomination to the Academy awards is a great success for the European documentary market, and especially for Poland where Bartek Konopka and Piotr Rosołowski's Rabbit à la Berlin was co-produced (along with Germany), as the film was the only European title shortlisted to the nominations out of eight other docs produced in USA.

It is also is a dream come true for Rabbit's crew: Bartek Konopka – the director and screenwriter, Piotr Rosołowski - the cameraman and co-writer, Anna Wydra - the producer, and Mateusz Romaszkan - the editor. But the way to achieve it was not easy. The fact that Rabbit was Oscar shortlisted was only possible thanks to the selection for the IDA's Annual DocuWeeks Theatrical Documentary Showcase which helps to qualify feature and short documentaries for Academy Award consideration.

Rabbit à la Berlin is a story of thousands of wild rabbits which for 28 years had lived in a no-man's land between the two walls seperating West Berlin from the DDR. The area they inhabited was a shut-off zone but a safe one. Unfortunately, one day the wall came down, and the rabbits had to look for a new place for themselves. Those events seen from the rabbit's perspective become a powerful metaphore of the status of other - human - inhabitants of Central and Eastern Europe in 1945-1989.

To make the film Konopka and Rosołowski went through several film archives in Poland and abroad, watching newsreels and photographs from the period. The final effect is an extraordinary film which makes the viewer look at these recent histirical events from a very different perspective.

Until now only 3 Polish films have been nominated for Oscars in the Short Documentary category: in 1942, Eugeniusz Cękalski's Biały Orzeł / White Eagle, in 1994, Marcel Łoziński's 89 mm od Europy / 89 mm to Europe and Hanna Polak's and Andrzej Celiński's Dzieci z Leningradzkiego in 2004.

The Oscar nomination is a part of the successful festival of the Rabbit. So far, the documentary obtained many prestigious awards, among them: Hot Docs Toronto 2009, Canada (Award for Best Mid-Length Doc), Planete Doc Review Warsaw 2009, Poland (Magic Hour Award for Best Mid-Lenght Film), Cracow IFF 2009, Poland (Golden Hobby-Horse in National Competition / Bronisław Chromy Sculpture for Best Producer of Polish Short and Documentary Films), Hamptons IFF 2009, USA (Golden Starfish Award for Best Film of Conflict & Resolution), Jihlava IDF 2009, Czech Republic (Silver Eye Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary), Polish FF Chicago 2009, USA (Golden Teeth Award), Polish Festival of the Film Art "Prowincjonalia" (The Best Documentary Award "Jańcio Wodnik").

Rabbit à la Berlin has had theatrical distribution in Poland since December 2009. It was bought by many tv stations worldwide and soon will be broadcast in Germany, Finland, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Japan, Hungary, Czech Republic, and in Poland.

The award ceremony will take place on March 7, 2010. In the short documentary category, the director and producer get the award which in this case would be Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra.

Source: press release.