BreakThru Films and New Europe Film Sales release the official teaser of “The Peasants” from the makers of “Loving Vincent” - DK Welchman (previously known as Dorota Kobiela) and Hugh Welchman. “Loving Vincent” was the first ever, feature-length, fully hand-painted animation and it was seen in cinemas by 6 million people around the world and grossed more than $42 million at
the global box office.
THE PEASANTS tells the story of Jagna, a young woman determined to forge her own path within the confines of a late 19th century Polish village - a hotbed of gossip and on-going feuds, held together, rich and poor, by pride in their land, adherence to colourful traditions and a deep-rooted patriarchy.
When Jagna finds herself caught between the conflicting desires of the village’s richest farmer, his eldest son and other leading men of the community, her resistance puts her on a tragic collision course with the community around her.
New Europe Film Sales has sold the movie to over 40 countries, including German-speaking Europe (Plaion), France (The Jokers), Benelux (Paradiso), South Korea (First Run), China (JL Film), Scandinavia (Another World Entertainment) and Spain (Karma). The company is in negotiations with buyers in the U.K. and North America, Australia and Japan, where rights remain open.
The film's distributor in Poland is Next Film. The film is scheduled for national theatrical release in October 2023.
Like “Loving Vincent”, The Peasants is animated in oil-paints by hand, however, the new film is far more ambitious, according to director DK Welchman, who explains “The scale of the two films are incomparable. “Loving Vincent” is an intimate film, with a lot of static scenes and dialogue. “The Peasants” is much more spectacular. There are breathtaking dance scenes and even a pitched battle. These scenes are extremely dynamic scenes, with the camera following the characters, and flying into the heart of the action. To make the first fully oil painting animated film (Loving Vincent) we had to come up with a raft of cinematic and technical innovations, but “The Peasants” sets the bar much higher.”
The film's screenplay is based on Władysław Reymont's epic novel, for which he received the Nobel Prize, surpassing Thomas Mann, Thomas Hardy, and Maxim Gorky. As a novel, "The Peasants" is considered the most credible chronicle of the peasant community ever written. The novel has recently been newly translated and published by Penguin Classics. “Reymont painted in words, and we paint the film in the aesthetic of his contemporaries from the Young Poland movement, to which Reymont also belonged. The big screen will feature interpretations of works by artists such as Józef Chelmonski, Ferdynand Ruszczyc, and Julian Fałat.” - DK Welchman adds.
Initially, “The Peasants” were shot as a feature film with well-knows Polish actors led by by the upcoming actress Kamila Urzędowska as Jagna. Others included Mirosław Baka, Ewa Kasprzyk, Andrzej Konopka, Sonia Bohosiewicz, Małgorzata Kożuchowska, Robert Gulaczyk, Maciej Musiał, Dorota Stalińska and Julia Wieniawa.
“It was important to cast Jagna not only as “the most beautiful girl in Lipce” (name of the village from the novel) but a person with a free-spirit, youthful exuberance and a sense of mystery. And that’s what we saw in Kamila Urzędowska” - Sean Bobbitt, producer of the film explains.
Next, more than 100 painters in 4 studios in Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Serbia animated on canvas with oil-paints. To date, the artists have painted for more than 200 000 hours. For the paintings, they used Cobra paints from Royal Talens: water-soluble oil-paints, making them much more ecologically friendly and also healthier for the painters than regular oil paints.
The creative team of The Peasants includes Radosław Ładczuk (The Babadook, The Nighingale, The Hater), Kamil Polak, and Szymon Kuriata - D.O.Ps, Katarzyna Lewinska (EO, The Lure, The Silent Twins) - costume designer, and Elwira Pluta - set designer. The head of the paint animation is Piotr Dominiak, while Lukasz Mackiewicz and Michal Janicki were in charge of post-production.
The story and paintings are enriched by a captivating modern take on Polish folk music composed by Lukasz L.U.C. Rostkowski. The composer, together with a Slavic collective of world-class musicians, created a landscape that complements the beauty of the painted images.The project’s participants, among others, include leading folk musicians, such as Tęgie Chłopy, Laboratorium Pieśni, T.Etno, and