This reputable award was presented in February 2015 by the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) – a prestigious community of film sound editors from all over the world.
To us, this award is almost like an Oscar for sound editing. It’s incredible that a team of sound technicians from Poland was recognized in the USA like that.
– said Bartosz Putkiewicz, the awarded sound director, in a phone call from Los Angeles, where the 62nd Golden Reel Awards event took place.
He stressed that the team did not expect the prize because it is above all American productions that are awarded in this competition.
6 other films, including Citizenfour (a film about former CIA employee-cum-whistleblower Edward Snowden), were nominated in the feature documentaries category. Winners in the English language categories included Birdman by Alejandro G. Inarritu, American Sniper by Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken. Laureates among the TV series were Newsroom, Game of Thrones and Fargo.
Warsaw Uprising, described as the world’s first non-fiction war drama, was produced by the Warsaw Rising Museum. Several hundred people took part in work on this film, including museum director Jan Ołdakowski, and Piotr Śliwowski, head of the museum’s history department. Bartosz Putkiewicz of the Café Ole studio, Marcin Kasiński and Kacper Habisiak from Dreamsound were responsible for the sound.
The film directed by Jan Komasa
is made up of selected colourised fragments of 6 hours of footage filmed in August 1944 by a crew from the Home Army's Bureau of Information and Propaganda (BIP). By combining the archival footage into a coherent narrative, the authors created the story of two brothers, cinematographers, who are commissioned to document the course of events of the Uprising.
Warsaw Uprising also features specially written dialogues. Part of them are fictional, written by the film's creators, but some of them are genuine – they were recreated from the footage by lip-reading experts.
A few months after the Polish premiere, the Warsaw Uprising team began working on the English version of the film, which, they figured, needed to consist in more than just translating the script. They decided to modify the narrative by adding another character to the plot – an American pilot and journalist who is guided around the events in Warsaw by the Polish journalists.
We worked on incredible material which was silent for 70 years. Now (…) viewers can find out what the insurgents, immortalised by the authors of the footage, were talking about. We’ve worked with lip-reading experts. We sat over one shot for several hours to figure it out. Then we invited an actor to the studio. The problem was that although we knew who said what, we wouldn’t know how they said it, we could only guess. Interpreting the text is also very important, that is why recording rehearsals with the actors was strenuous.
– said Putkiewicz when work on the film was still in progress.
For the purpose of the film's sound effects, special recordings were carried out on an army training ground; recordings of the gunshots of WWII weapons, such as the Mauser rifle and VIS pistol, were made. The sound editors also had a full set of insurgent’s clothes at their disposal, including leather shoes, which enabled recordings of the sound of soldiers marching.
Sources: PAP, mpse.org, opracowanie: tk, February 2015