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PRODUCTION Poland

Saniewski explores impossible friendship in The Winner

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Wiesław Saniewski, who directed Immensity of Justice [+see also:
trailer
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(Special Critics’ Prize at Moscow Film Festival 2009, Special Critics’ Mention at Gdynia in 2006), is currently shooting Polish/US co-production The Winner (Wygrany).

The cast, which includes several Polish stars, comprises Paweł Szajda (Sweet Rush [+see also:
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trailer
film profile
]
), Janusz Gajos (Jasminum), Wojciech Pszoniak, Marta Żmuda Trzebiatowska, Grażyna Barszczewska and Peter Lucas. Having kicked off in Warsaw, shooting is currently taking place in Wroclaw and will then relocate to the United States and Germany (Baden-Baden).

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The Winner traces the misadventures of a young American pianist of Polish origin (Szajda), who owes a considerable amount of money to the organisers of a European tour from which he pulled out suddenly. Faced with a financially complicated situation, he then meets an extraordinary man, Frank (Gajos), a retired mathematics teacher who is a horse-racing enthusiast.

"It’s the story of a friendship that seems impossible because there’s a real gulf between these two men: their age (30 and 80) and social milieu (that of professional musicians and horse-racing fans). And yet it’s a true friendship, entirely free of self-interest," Saniewski told Cineuropa. "It’s also a film about the ability to win. We Poles are always showing how good we are at losing. I would like to show that we also know how to win".

The film is lensed by Piotr Kukla and Piotr Sobociński.

Produced by the director’s company Saco Films, The Winner is co-produced by The Society for Arts (US), Andrzej Niżnik (Switzerland), Odra Film, Archi-Projekt, Toya Studios, Divizion, WFDiF, Equus Polska and BBF Investments. The film, whose €3.3m budget also includes €750,000 in backing from the Polish Film Institute, is expected to be released in March 2011.

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(Translated from French)

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