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The Unconquered – Animated Film of Poles Fighting For Freedom From World War II To The Fall of Communism

The relentless struggle for Poland’s freedom continues to this day

Photo: The Unconquered press release

The Institute of National Remembrance, Fish Ladder and Juice present “The Unconquered” – an animated film that shows the fight of Poles for freedom, from the first day of World War II to the fall of communism in 1989. English narrator – Sean Bean, Polish – Mirosław Zbrojewicz.

With this film we wish to launch an international educational campaign aimed at presenting the Polish, historical perspective on the key events of 1939-1989. I feel that with “The Unconquered” we have restored the perspective of General Anders’ soldiers of II Corps. That is, the relentless struggle for Poland’s freedom – says Adam Hlebowicz, deputy director of the Institute’s National Education Office. – This is a voice of a sovereign state that had the fourth largest army in the war, suffered the greatest losses and was the only one to fight in the conflict from the first to the last day. Without the Polish perspective one cannot fully understand the course and consequences of World War II, he adds.

The film’s premiere will be held before the 78th anniversary of Soviet invasion and will show the key moments of Poles’ fifty year long fight for freedom. These efforts will be presented by a character, who on one hand is a universal symbol of the struggle, and on the other, refers to iconic historical figures such as Capt. Witold Pilecki, Irena Sendler or Witold Urbanowicz. Some of the heroes appear for the first time in film: Gen. Stanisław Maczek, Jan Karski or Marian Rejewski.

Krzysztof Noworyta, producer and creative director at Fish Ladder points out that the film wonderfully corresponds with current conversations and debates surrounding Poland’s cultural and historical policy:- Important countries take great care of the manner in which their history is represented. They are excellent in placing their narration in the collective consciousness of the nation. “The Unconquered” marks the beginning of a new style of narration of Poland’s history. We speak the language of popular culture, because it is the contemporary lingua franca, spoken by the whole world.

The film was one year in the making. Apart from designing the story and  narration, significant research was undertaken for finding appropriate visual language and aesthetics for the film.

– We were looking for an original artistic style for the film, says Michał Misiński, of Juice studio, the film’s director. – On the one hand it was meant to carry powerful emotions, and on the other give space to construct non-literal messages and a poetic mood. The artistic convention allowed to construct poignant symbols such as that from the first scene, when the hero is being crushed by two walls, or the scene of Karski’s conversation with Roosevelt.

The character of the animation is educational and is meant to popularise Poland’s history. After watching it, the viewers will be referred to a specially made web site, which will help them better understand the history presented in the film and learn about the fate of the true heroes.

– Our thinking about the film and our early work on its conception were founded on the idea that the war did not end in 1945 for everybody. – says Rafał Pękała, project coordinator of the Institute’s National Education Office. – It was our intention to emphasise how unjustly was Poland treated, but primarily how undervalued were the efforts of Polish soldiers, who heroically fought for the country’s freedom and that of the whole world, and who were not invited to the victory parade.

Our allies never apologised, while for the Poles the end of the war brought another occupation, and thus another 45 years of fight, after “the war ended”.

The fils is thus meant to show historical truth in a modern and at the same time symbolic manner. The film has an enormous educational potential, which we would like to utilise in the different projects of eh National Education Bureau. The animation marvellously and synthetically shows Poland’s road to freedom from 1939 to 1989, a road of the Accursed Soldiers, the pro-independence opposition and of Solidarity, he adds.

The film is presented in three languages – English, Polish, and Russian. It is available on the following sites: www.theunconquered-movie.com, http://www.niezwyciezeni.ipn.gov.pl/, www.niezwyciezeni-film.pl.

The Institute of National Remembrance Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation is a public institution whose main tasks include: the study and popularisation of Poland’s recent history, administration of the archives of the security services of the communist state and prosecution of Nazi and communist crimes. One of the most important tasks of the Institute is spreading the knowledge of contemporary history. The Institute organises school classes, workshops for teachers, lectures, seminars, competitions and foot excursions. More and more frequently, the Institute uses modern multimedia: documentaries, animation, presentations that support historical education.

Fishladder is  a multidisciplinary design practice with substantial creative and production resources. It has extensive experience in developing ideas for the promotion of Polish culture, economy and history. It specialises in narrative storytelling, comprehensive creative strategies and production of branded content. The team is responsible for the development of the  Allegro Polish Legends universum, and takes part in designing the core exhibitions of the Polish History Museum and Józef Piłsudski Museum.

Juice is a creative studio that specialises in the design and postproduction, 3D animation and special effects, which from 2006 has been realised award-winning projects for the branches of advertising, film, artistic and educational institutions, and for the computer games industry.

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