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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Poland

Oscar-nominated Loving Vincent director Dorota Kobiela shooting The Peasants

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- The Polish director is working on a new, hand-painted animation, based on the novel of the same name by Nobel Prize-winning author Władysław Reymont

Oscar-nominated Loving Vincent director Dorota Kobiela shooting The Peasants
The Peasants by Dorota Kobiela

Dorota Kobiela is one of those Polish directors whose style is instantly recognisable – and she owes this to her Oscar-nominated full-length animation Loving Vincent [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dorota Kobiela
film profile
]
. She used Vincent van Gogh’s style and technique to hand-paint a biopic of the doomed impressionist artist – she didn’t work alone, naturally, but relied on a large team of painters and animators. And she is using the same modus operandi for an adaptation of the classic Polish book The Peasants [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, written by Władysław Reymont, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1924.

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The story is set around 1900 in the village of Lipce, and revolves around a relatively wealthy peasant family and a woman who destroys it, Jagna. Passionate and liberated, she causes havoc among the villagers after she marries old Maciej Boryna and has an affair with his son, Antek.

“After years of working on a film about Vincent van Gogh, I felt a strong need to tell a story about women: to show their struggles, their passion and their strength,” said Kobiela in a press release. Aside from the dramatic plot, the novel, as well as the upcoming film, presents the traditions of Polish peasants, the social dynamics of the era and a landscape that changes as the seasons come and go.

The Peasants will be shot with professional actors over 36 shooting days – the cast includes Kamila Urzędowska as Jagna, Mirosław Baka as Boryna and Robert Gulaczyk as Antek. The latter has already worked with Kobiela, playing van Gogh in Loving Vincent. A team of over 50 painters working in Poland, Serbia and Ukraine will turn every one of the 72,000 film frames into an oil painting, drawing inspiration from the works of 19th-century artists, mainly Józef Chełmoński, Ferdynand Ruszczyc and Leon Wyczółkowski. The premiere of the film is scheduled for 2022.

Helmer Kobiela co-wrote the script with Hugh Welchman. The duo also worked together on Loving Vincent, which was nominated for the Oscars, the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes, and earned over $40 million worldwide.

The producer is Poland’s Breakthru Film, the animation studio that also made the Oscar-winning short Peter and the Wolf. The Polish distributor is Next Film, and New Europe Film Sales has the worldwide rights and will be pre-selling the film at Toronto.

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