Katyn gains Oscar nomination


    Katyń, a personal odyssey for famed Polish director Andrzej Wajda about the massacre of 20,000 Polish officers during World War II, has captured one of the five nominations for an Oscar in the foreign-language film category.The Academy Awards ceremony will be held Feb. 24.

    In the short animation category, the nominations announced on Jan. 23 include the Polish-British co-production Peter and the Wolf by Suzy Templeton, an adaptation of the Sergei Prokofiev classic created by an international team of over 100 professionals.

    Katyń, whose director already holds an Oscar for life achievement, portrays the 1940 massacre by the Soviets in the Katyń forest and two other sites through the stories of families waiting for the return of their loved ones. Wajda says it's his most personal film ever; his father, Capt. Jakub Wajda, was one of the victims while his mother continued to hope until her death that her husband would be found.

    The other nominees in the foreign-language film category are The Counterfeiters (Austria), Beaufort (Israel), Mongol (Kazakhstan) and 12 (Russia).

    Promotion for Katyń is being handled by its producer Akson Film Studio (www.akson-studio.pl), co-producer and distributor TVP Office of International Cooperation and Commerce (www.tvp.pl), and the Polish Film Institute (www.pisf.pl), in cooperation with Premier Public Relations (www.premierpr.com) operating in Los Angeles.

    PFI Director Agnieszka Odorowicz said the institute has spent 500,000 zloties (€138,000) promoting the film and would have spent more if not restricted by Academy rules.

    "The most important thing is that as many people as possible could learn from this film," she said at a news conference in Warsaw after the announcement. The Soviet Union did not acknowledge responsibility until 1990 and says the statute of limitations for legal action has expired.

    Wajda praised PFI for its energetic promotion of Polish film. "There are many young directors now and this helps them to confront audiences," he said at the briefing. "Film as an art is a brutal confrontation and a very risky job."

    Peter and the Wolf, one of the nominations in the short animation category, is a co-production by Poland's Se-ma-for Film Studio (www.semafor.com) and Britain's Breakthru Films (www.breakthrufilms.com.uk).