Waldemar Krzystek’s ‘80 million’, which is among the films presented in this year’s edition of PLAY POLAND Festival, was selected to compete for Oscar under the ‘Best Non-English Film’ category. This decision was based on universalness, uniqueness and storyline optimism.
A special commission summoned by the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage Bogdan Zdrojewski was composed of: Juliusz Machulski (the chairman), Tomasz Bagiński, Robert Gliński, Andrzej Jakimowski, Jan Komasa, Agnieszka Odorowicz, Waldemar Pokromski, Paweł Potoroczyn, Grażyna Torbicka has chosen ’80 million’ directed by Waldemar Krzystek to be the Polish candidate for Oscar in the ‘Best Non-English Film’ category.
Despite numerous interesting film entries, members of the commission chose ’80 million’. The decision was made on the basis of, among others, requirements of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ regulations regarding the topic, film genre and the clarity of a storyline to a foreign viewer. ’80 million’ tells a story about an episode in the Polish history in a universal, unique and optimistic manner. These features were decisive for a nomination of the picture, as emphasized by the chairman of the commission, Juliusz Machulski.
‘Essentially, this film is about – as says the director – the joy which I felt in 1981 when all of us in Wrocław found out that ‘Solidarity’ people had withdrawn 80 million from a bank. That was all the money that were, at that time, on the union’s account. That was daring’
’80 million’ is based on true events. The main characters are based on the eminent ‘Solidarity’ activists from the lower Silesia – Władysław Frasyniuk, Józef Pinior, Piotr Bednarz, Stanisław Huskowski who succeeded in a spectacular action of clearing the union’s accounts 10 days before the introduction of martial law. 80 million hidden in the Bishop’s Palace allowed for a dynamic underground activity. The whole story of intercepting the sum is full of interesting and expressive episodes.
‘In ’80 million’– director continues – we want to speak truthfully about the young, brave people who were capable of doing wise and magnificent acts together, and – regardless of the cost – have won.’
The Polish premiere of the film was in November 2011, while its international one took place during the 34th International Film Festival in Moscow in June 2012. The cast includes, among others: Krzysztof Czeczot, Wojciech Solarz, Maciej Makowski, Paweł Domagała, Filip Bobek, Agnieszka Grochowska, Piotr Głowacki.
Director Waldemar Krzystek reacted to the news about ‘the Oscar nomination’ with the following words: ‘I had no clue that the commission had even considered ‘80 million’, I thought that the film was a bit too ‘old’. When Agnieszka Odorowicz, the head of the Polish Film Institute, called me I expected some kind of trouble – I thought that there might be some issues with the budget for my new film which we start shooting in two weeks.’
The 85th Academy Awards will take place on 24th February 2013.