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Allan Starski awarded Platinum Lions for lifetime achievement at the 48th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia

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The outstanding set designer Allan Starski, winner of an Oscar for the set design for “Schindler’s List” by Steven Spielberg and, among others. The winner of three Polish Film Awards for Polański’s “The Pianist”, Wajda’s “Pan Tadeusz” and Pasikowski’s “Pokłosie” will receive the Platinum Lions at the final gala of the 48th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia.

– Platinum Lions will go to an artist endowed with incredible imagination and sensitivity. Allan Starski has a great sense of cinema, and his projects always take the film story to a new level. In addition, he talks about his work in an extremely interesting way, which the viewers of this year’s edition will find out – Joanna Łapińska, the new artistic director of the Feature Film Festival in Gdynia, commented on the fact of honoring the artist with the prestigious award.

This year’s 48th Polish Film Festival will take place on September 18-23.

Wajda’s production designer

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– It has always been a great pleasure to watch the Platinum Lions award ceremony for my wonderful fellow directors. This time I am glad that the work of a co-creator of films, a set designer, was honored – said Allan Starski, thanking for this special distinction.

Starski is probably the most outstanding and best-known Polish scenographer in the world. He is the son of the legendary Ludwik Starski, screenwriter and lyricist of popular songs, author of screenplays for famous post-war films, such as “Forbidden Songs”, “Treasure” and “Przygoda na Mariensztat”.

Raised in a climate of fascination with cinema, Allan Starski graduated in 1969 from the Faculty of Interior Design of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and also began working in the film industry. He made his debut in 1973 with the scenography for Ryszard Ber’s film “Boys”, and already in 1976 he started working with Andrzej Wajda, preparing the scenery for his “Shadow Line”.

Since then, he has participated in the creation of the master’s most famous 20th-century films, including such titles as Man of Marble (1976), Without Anesthesia (1978), Maidens of the Wolf (1979), Man of Iron ” (1981), “Danton” (1982), “Holy Week” (1995) and “Pan Tadeusz” (1999).

Starski is also the author of scenography for famous theatrical performances. With his participation, “Conversations with an Executioner” (dir. Andrzej Wajda, Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw) were created, as well as wonderful performances of the Television Theater such as “The Witches of Salem” by Arthur Miller (dir. Zygmunt Hubner), “The Tempest” by Strindberg (dir. Andrzej Łapicki) or “Uncle Vanya” by Chekhov (dir. Aleksander Bardini).

Poster for Wajda’s famous performance Conversations with the Executioner with Starski’s stage design, 1977press materials

Oscar and Oscar works

Starski also became famous as the author of sets for the paintings of other Polish masters of cinema. It is worth mentioning Krzysztof Kieślowski’s film Without End, which won the Golden Globe for the screenplay Agnieszka Holland “Europa, Europa” and the American “Washington Square”, as well as “Love Stories” by Jerzy Stuhr and “Pokłosie” by Władysław Pasikowski.

In 1994, while working on Schindler’s List, the artist was invited to cooperate by Steven Spielberg himself. As we know, the film was awarded as many as seven Oscars, among which there was also a statuette for the best scenography. Oscar also went to Ewa Braun for costumes and Janusz Kamiński for cinematography.

A separate chapter in Starski’s work is his collaboration with Roman Polanski – especially with another Oscar-winning work, realized mainly in Poland – “The Pianist”. Our set designer, in addition to one of the three Polish Eagles won in his career, also received a César for the best set design for his work on the film. The other two Polish Eagles were awarded to him for his work on Pan Tadeusz and Aftermath.

With Roman Polanski, Allan Starski also worked on an adaptation of Dickens’ Oliver Twist.

Still from Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List”.Entertainment Pictures/PAP

Bigger perspective

In 2006, Allan Starski created the stage design for the next edition of the European Film Academy Awards organized at that time in Warsaw. For years, he has also been conducting international workshops and masterclasses on film set design. In addition, he is the author of the book “Scenografia” valued by students and professionals.

In recent years, Starski has designed sets for the German-Turkish film The Cut by the German-Turkish master Fatih Akin and Łukasz Kośmicki’s Hidden Game with Bill Pullman in the lead role.

The set designer does not hide that he treats the Platinum Lions as a great distinction.

– I received the news of awarding the Platinum Lions with genuine joy. She was a pleasant surprise. It allowed me to look at the films I participated in from a broader perspective. I felt proud that my scenographic output included works important to both Polish and world cinematography – says the artist

PianistStill from Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist”dpa-Film Tobis/PAP

Author:Among the previous Platinum Lions winners are e.g. Andrzej Wajda, Jerzy Antczak, Sylwester Chęciński, Tadeusz Chmielewski, Tadeusz Konwicki, Janusz Majewski, Witold Sobociński, Jerzy Wójcik, Jerzy Gruza, Jerzy Skolimowski and Krzysztof Zanussi.

Main photo source: Wojciech Olkusnik/East News

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