Public Media Awards go to historian, filmmaker and opera singer

The purpose of the Public Media Awards is to make creators and their works better known to the public. On Sunday, the prize was bestowed upon three men excelling in the categories of Word, Image and Music.

Krzysztof Czabański, the head of the National Media Council (RMN), explained during the opening ceremony of the Public Media Awards on Sunday that the awards are given to exceptional Polish creators because of at least two reasons.

“Firstly, Polish culture and culture as such rest on a triad that is very close to us [Poles], namely beauty, goodness and truth. We, as [the public] media would like to serve these values and that is why we invite to come to us and why we work daily with exceptional creators of culture who gave their lives and dedicated their works to these value,” he said, adding that “there is also another reason, which is our duty to bring creators and their works closer to as broad the audience as possible.”

TVP special award

The head of the TV Information Agency (TAI) Jarosław Olechowski received Poland’s public broadcaster TVP special award. Mr Olechowski is the author of programmes on daily preventive measures against COVID-19.

Jacek Kurski, the Chairman of TVP, personally handed the award to Mr Olechowski.

The historian

Tireless historian specialising in the history of Poland Professor Andrzej Nowak was awarded under the Word category, first and foremost for his “History of Poland” book series. As the award committee stressed, the series was one of “the most important Polish books of the last decades.”

Polish poet Ernest Bryll, who recommended the “History of Poland” to the Public Media Awards, said that “it neutralises a years-long glaring gap of reflection on history.”

For his part, the head of the award committee Krzysztof Masłoń stressed that Professor Nowak “with disgust did reject the persistently promoted pedagogy of shame by reaching out to sources unknown to his predecessors and refraining to take fixed stereotypes for granted, which in turn allowed him to, for instance, disprove the fictitious thesis on the ostensible periphery status given to Eastern Europe and Poland.”

Receiving the award, Professor Nowak expressed his gratitude for “the fact that the award featured under the Word category… because the pressure to replace the word with the meme is keenly palpable today, the pressure on that a hateful fleeting gesture and spite push out reasoning, which is conveyed only by the word, only by a longer utterance.”

The filmmaker

The award in the Image category went to filmmaker Mirosław Bork, particularly recognised for the “War of the Worlds” documentary on the Polish–Soviet War (February 1919 – October 1920) – “a clear and coherent story not embroiled in dialectical intricacies of historical mechanisms.”

Premiered on the centenary of the Battle of Warsaw (1920), the movie consists of reconstructed and colourized archival footage such as original and until recently unknown unique archival videos, photos, orders, deciphered reports, memoirs and radio recordings, testimonies of historical figures and eye-witnesses, including Generals Rudolf Dreszer and Józef Haller.

The opera singer

Piotr Beczała, an opera singer, deemed the best lyrical tenor in the whole world, was awarded under the Music category.

Violinist and composer Tomasz Radziwonowicz pointed out that Mr Beczała “is gifted with an extraordinary voice of exceptionally beautiful timbre and power of expression. His interpretations are characterised by the sincerity of delivery and natural musicality. His repertoire is versatile as apart from opera roles, the artist eagerly takes part in cantata-oratorio forms while not eschewing chamber music and songs.”

“There’s little doubt that the award was given to me due to my recent engagement with the works of Moniuszko,” said the opera singer, adding that “I am the ambassador of Polish music worldwide, however, ‘Halka’ and Moniuszko I hold dear and am happy that I had the chance to perform ‘Halka’ also before the audience of Warsaw.”

It is thanks to Mr Beczała that Stanisław Moniuszko’s “Halka” directed by Mariusz Treliński was staged at Theater an der Wien in Vienna.

The Public Media Award has already been granted thrice – first in 2008, 2019 and this year.