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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Poland

Shooting wraps for Polish boxing film Champion by Maciej Barczewski

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- The story revolves around real-life boxing champion Tadeusz “Teddy” Pietrzykowski, who won a title in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp

Shooting wraps for Polish boxing film Champion by Maciej Barczewski
Piotr Głowacki (centre) in Champion

Just days before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, shooting for Maciej Barczewski’s Champion has ended on a film set in the former Nazi death camp. Tadeusz “Teddy” Pietrzykowski arrived there as part of the first mass transportation of prisoners, on 14 June 1941. He was a soldier and a gym teacher, but first and foremost, he was a brilliant boxer who fought over 40 times during his imprisonment. Teddy defeated both German and Dutch champions and was deported from Auschwitz in 1943. He survived World War II and died in 1991.

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In 1962, Slovak director Peter Solan also made a film based on Teddy’s biography (The Boxer and Death). The 2020 film is the feature debut by Polish helmer Barczewski, who, in a press release, called Teddy “a symbol of the hope to triumph over Nazi terror”. Piotr Głowacki, one of the most popular Polish actors (best known from the Planet Single [+see also:
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trilogy), who lost about one-third of his body weight and underwent gruelling physical training for two years, plays the lead. “Boxing was a tool he used in order to survive,” stated Głowacki in the same press release. “We are telling a story of a passion that can save lives.”

Rafał Zawierucha (Once upon a Time… in Hollywood), Marcin Bosak (In Darkness [+see also:
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, Spoor
 [+see also:
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), Marian Dziędziel (Rose [+see also:
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, These Daughters of Mine
 [+see also:
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) and Marcin Czarnik (Son of Saul [+see also:
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Q&A: László Nemes
interview: László Rajk
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]
, Sunset
 [+see also:
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) also star. Champion is being lensed by Witold Płóciennik, who won an award at the recent Polish Film Festival in Gdynia for Icarus. The Legend of Mietek Kosz [+see also:
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. Emmy winner Ewa Skoczkowska is serving as the production designer, while Bartosz Chajdecki (Animals [+see also:
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interview: Greg Zglinski
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, Gods [+see also:
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) scored the film.

Champion is being produced by Krzysztof Szpetmański and Leszek Strarzyński (of Iron Films), and co-produced by TVP (the Polish public broadcaster), Cavatina GW, Hardkop and Aeroplan Studios. The Polish distributor is Galapagos Films, and the theatrical release is scheduled for 16 October 2020.

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