Four documentaries co-produced by Polish Television (TVP) –Poland's public broadcaster – have been awarded at this year’s New York Festivals. These were the only Polish productions to qualify for the finals of the 2015 edition of the prestigious World’s Best TV & Films competition.
Kabaret śmierci / The Cabaret of Death directed by Andrzej Celiński won the World Gold Medal in the Documentaries category. Portrety wojenne / Wartime Portraits directed by Cezary Iber, Rafał Skalski and Tomasz Matuszczak received the Silver Medal in the History & Society category. Natasza Ziółkowska-Kurczuk’s Granatowy zeszyt / Blue Notebook was presented with a Finalist Certificate. Obietnica dzieciństwa / The Promise of a Happy Childhood directed by Ryszard Kaczyński and Piotr Morawski won the World Bronze Medal in the Social Issues category.
The New York Festivals, established in 1957, holds six international competitions: Film and Video, Television, Radio Programs, Print Advertising, TV and Radio Advertising and Interactive Advertising.
The announcement of the winners list took place at a formal gala in Las Vegas on 14th April, 2015. Besides TVP, the finals included 50 films from all over the world, including productions by TVE, ABC News, Discovery Channel, CTV, WDR, BBC, CBC, ORF, ZDF, CNN, CBS, HBO and NHK.
Andrzej Celiński’s The Cabaret of Death is a full-length documentary about the wartime history of Jewish artists, fighting for survival with the only weapon they had: music, theatre and film. The international premiere of the film took place at the 2015 International Festival of Audiovisual Programs (FIPA) in Montreal.
Wartime Portraits by Cezary Iber, Rafał Skalski and Tomasz Matuszczak is a documentary series for young audiences about the fate of WW2 heroes. The series comprises archival materials, interviews with experts and sequences of fictionalised scenes: shots stylised as comic frames, where an actor is connected with scenography hand-drawn by comics illustrators.
The Promise of a Happy Childhood, a film made by Ryszard Kaczyński and Piotr Morawski, is a story about the fate of five siblings adopted by an American married couple in 1997. When the couple arrived at the orphanage in Szklarska Poręba, everyone thought that the adoption was a great chance for the five children to have a normal life, that love and happiness were awaiting in the USA – but the reality turned out to be completely different.
Blue Notebook by Natasza Ziółkowska-Kurczuk is based on the personal notes of Witold Lutosławski. The composer described his opinions about and reflections on music and art, as well as the role of an artist in contemporary world. Leszek Możdżer composed the soundtrack and narrated the film. To help him understand Lutosławski’s inner world are the composer’s family and friends.
Source: press materials, newyorkfestivals.com, edit. KK, transl. Agata Dudek, 16/04/15.