Murder, cover up and forced silence – a film on Katyn without the massacre (Episode 65)

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This story is featured in Episode 65

In Episode 30 we featured Wanda Kościa, a London-based Polish-born director, producer and award winning documentary filmmaker, and her BBC film “Hunting the Nazi Gold Train” – a mysterious story of a train full of gold, buried by the Nazis in Polish Silesia.

Wanda Koscia acted as our POLcast interviewer before in Episode 58, when she spoke to Neal Ascherson.

This interview she did for POLcast is with Piotr Szkopiak, also based in Britain, writer/director, born in England, the son of Polish refugees from the Second World War. His grandfather Wojciech Stanislaw Wojcik, was brutally murdered along with 22 000 Polish officers by the Soviets in the forests of Katyn in 1940.  (The Katyn Controversy: Stalin’s Killing Field)

His most recent film “The Last Witness” talks about this monumental masacre, in itself a tragedy, but also about another tragic aspect of it – the cover up by the Allies, who didn’t want to reveal the Soviet guilt, ascribing it to the Germans. The film shows the fate of Polish refugees after WWII who lived for years in displaced persons’ (DP) camps in Britain, unable to return to their motherland controlled by the communist Soviet Union after the war, and unable to openly talk about why they had to stay in Britain and what had happened.

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Ask around: Who knows that in 1939 the Soviets invaded Poland in alliance with Nazi Germany? Germany would not have invaded Poland if it wasn’t in agreement with the Russians. Who knows that over a million Poles were deported to Siveria, where hundreds of thousands died of starvation, disease and exhaustion? Who knows about the Siberian deportations and mass killings in Russsian forests? Who knows about the post-WWII silence and lies?

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Piotr Szkopiak’s “The Last Witness” has been exteremely successful at festivals around the world: 25 Award Wins, 2 Awards of Excellence, 9 nominations and 5 official selections and has been shown in Britain, Poland, the US.

Winner

BEST FEATURE FILM, Portugal International Film Festival 2019

Director Piotr Szkopiak at the Portugal Film Festival 2019

BEST FEATURE FILM, BEST DIRECTOR, BEST ACTOR IN A LEAD ROLE (ALEX PETTYFER), BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY, BEST EDITING, BEST SOUND DESIGN, Nightlight Impact Awards Festival 2019

BEST LEAD ACTRESS (TALULAH RILEY), BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY, BEST COSTUME DESIGN, New York City International Film Festival 2019

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (TALULAH RILEY), Garden State Film Festival 2019

RISING STAR, Canada Independent Film Festival 2019

BEST MEDITERRANI DIRECTOR, Barcelona Planet Film Festival 2019

BEST FEATURE FILM, BEST DIRECTOR, BEST FEATURE FILM CINEMATOGRAPHY, European Cinematography Awards 2019 (February)

BEST PICTURE, BEST DIRECTOR, BEST ACTOR (ALEX PETTYFER), BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY, BEST EDITING, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards 2018 (October)

BEST FEATURE FILM, Miami Independent Film Festival 2018 (November)

BEST BRITISH FEATURE, London Independent Film Awards 2018 (November)

GOLD AWARD FEATURE FILM, GOLD AWARD DIRECTING, Latitude Film Awards 2019 (March)

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE, Accolade Global Film Competition 2018

CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE, Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival 2019

Nominated

BEST ACTOR (ALEX PETTYFER), Garden State Film Festival 2019

BEST PICTURE (THRILLER/DRAMA/ACTION), BEST LEAD ACTOR (ALEX PETTYFER), BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (MICHAEL GAMBON), BEST DIRECTOR, New York City International Film Festival 2019

BEST FEATURE FILM, Hollywood Art and Movie Awards 2019

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHER, Santorini Film Festival 2019

BEST THRILLER, The Grand Budapest Film Festival 2019

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE FILM, Berlin Motion Picture Festival 2018

Official Selection

Manhattan Film Festival 2019

Maryland International Film Festival 2019

New Hope Film Festival 2019

Dumbo Film Festival 2019

Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival 2019

“Create your own style” – interview with Piotr Szkopiak

 

 

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