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PRODUCTION Poland

Jacek Gwizdała’s The Priest enters post-production

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- The Polish director and producer’s second feature tells the extraordinary story of anti-communist chaplain Roman Kotlarz, who supported the Radom protests in 1976

Jacek Gwizdała’s The Priest enters post-production
Director-producer Jacek Gwizdała

After several days of shooting in 2017, Polish filmmaker Jacek Gwizdała wrapped The Priest’s production over the first three weeks of August. Filming took place in Częstochowa – mostly in and around the Jasna Góra Monastery – and in Radom, both located in the southern part of Poland. This is Gwizdała’s second feature film, after he released his 2016 documentary Kamień and racked up a number of credits as a producer for the Polish film industry in the last few decades. 

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This biographical film tells the story of chaplain Roman Kotlarz, who became a victim of the Polish communist regime in the summer of 1976, when strikes paralysed the country in response to the government’s unjust increase in the prices of food and essential goods. Following the Radom protests in July, the priest gave several sermons standing up for workers’ rights and came into the crosshairs of the regime’s officials. The script was co-written by the director and Wojciech Pestka, a poet and novelist from Radom, Kotlarz’s hometown. 

The lead character is portrayed by famous Polish actor Mirosław Baka, best known for his involvement in Krzysztof Kieślowski’s crime-drama A Short Film About Killing and TV series The Decalogue. Other key cast members include actors Piotr Fronczewski (The Vulture), Andrzej Zaborski (One Way Ticket to the Moon [+see also:
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), Janusz Chabior (Women of Mafia) and Lech Dyblik (Hatred [+see also:
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). 

The Priest is being produced by Jacek Gwizdała for Wrocław-based production firm V-Film and has an overall budget of 6 million Polish złoty (€1.3 million). The Polish Film Institute, the main funding body in the country, has awarded the film a production grant of 2 million Polish złoty (€467,330); the City of Radom is also involved with a lump sum of 900,000 Polish złoty (€210,000). Moreover, the film will be followed by a three-episode TV series, to be aired by Polish public broadcaster TVP - Telewizja Polska in 2019. 

The project has now entered the post-production phase, and the movie will be premiered on 17 October 2018, which would have been Roman Kotlarz's 90th birthday.

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