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Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Poland’s Official Academy Awards Submission ‘The Peasants’


Sony Pictures Classics announced that they have acquired all rights in North America, Latin America, the Middle East, and Australia/New Zealand to Academy Award® nominee DK Welchman and Academy Award® winner Hugh Welchman’s THE PEASANTS, which Poland has submitted as their official entry for the Best International Feature category for this year’s Academy Awards®. The film will also be submitted in the Best Animation category. This news follows the film’s critically acclaimed world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Special Presentations section.

THE PEASANTS was produced by Breakthru Films and co-produced by Digitalkraft d o.o., Art. Shot vsį, Breakthru Productions Sp. z o.o., Canal + Polska S.A., Narodowe Centrum Kultury, Mazowiecki Instytut Kultury, and SKP Ślusarek Kubiak Pieczyk Sp. k., in association with New Europe Film Sales and Carte Blanche, and with the support of Polish Film Institute, Film Center Serbia, and Lithuanian Film Center. It was co-financed by The Polish National Foundation and financed by funds from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.

The film 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 colorful 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.

THE PEASANTS’ animation represents an essence of half a century of European painting from the turn of the XIX and XX centuries, with an emphasis on the Young Poland Movement. The film was first shot as a feature film before a group of over 100 painters began working on the painting animation, which took over two years to complete. This same painting animation technique was implemented in the filmmakers’ Oscar®-nominated LOVING VINCENT.

“100 years ago, Reymont, an author little known outside of Poland, won the Nobel Prize for Literature and his book travelled to over 100 countries worldwide. We hope our adaptation of his book, The Peasants, brought to life in oil-painting animation will similarly reach out and touch audiences around the globe and, like he did, find award success too,” said DK Welchman and Hugh Welchman. “There could be no better partner in this endeavor than Sony Pictures Classics, with their incredible catalogue that includes many of our favorite films of all time and iconic animations that achieved the very rare feat of being nominated in the Best International Film category at the Oscars® and Golden Globes®.”

[p"It’s an indescribable experience and achievement created by singular amazing artists,” added Sony Pictures Classics.[/p]

The film reunites Sony Pictures Classics with Breakthru Films, which is one of the producers on their upcoming film, A WINTER’S JOURNEY.

The deal was negotiated between SPC, Jan Naszewski of New Europe, and Nick Shumaker from Anonymous Content.


Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992—which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world. Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 41 Academy Awards® (37 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 186 Academy Award® nominations (160 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for THE FATHER, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, WHIPLASH, AMOUR, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, AN EDUCATION, CAPOTE, HOWARDS END, and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.


Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services.

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