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Zodiak - Jerzy Hoffman Film Production -

Language / Język: wersja polska

I decided that the subject of Ukraine is thrilling enough, and also important to me, that it required an extensive and thorough study...

Battle of Warsaw 1920

Explication of the director

Battle of Warsaw 1920 is the only one from the seventeenth century, winning battle, fought by the Poles themselves, which decided on winning the war. The battle maintained a newly regained Poland's independence for 19 years and halted the Red Army march on Europe, forcing Lenin and Trotsky to resign from lighting the "flame of world revolution." Activities of Pilsudski's opponents, who largely contributed in the international arena to deprive the Marshal of the merits of victory, resulted in the situation that "Battle of Warsaw" is not at all present in the minds of people in the world, except the narrow circle of historians. The slogan "Miracle" was created for the own purpose of Poland, that has taken root in the consciousness of the Poles and has been present to this day. The word "Miracle" was to deprive Pilsudski a credit to the victory. The "Miracle" meant that the victory was decided by the divine intervention, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. Despite the attempts of journalists and historians, Battle of Warsaw does not find its rightful place in the minds of the young generation of Poles as the generation that was involved in or witnessed the events has already gone, and the historiography of the communist times has sought to silence the war of 1920, or to present it as a result of the imperialist expedition of Poles to Kiev. Notwithstanding the controversy surrounding the Kiev expedition and Battle of Warsaw, there is one undeniable fact: that despite the post-Partition period differences, the political divisions and very strong influences of the left wing among the workers and peasants, the Polish nation could unite in time of danger. It did not want to have its fate decided by a stranger after less than two years of regained independence. It was the peasants along with young people and patriotically-oriented intelligence that, inspired by the Witos's appeal tuned, massively joined the ranks of volunteers, and among the workers the communists were a small minority. So that was the biggest mistake in the calculation of the Bolshevik leadership, resulting in a consolidation of the nation that gave rise to the Polish victory.

At the turn of 1919 and 1920 the Ukrainian People's Army under the command of Ataman Symon Petlura are driven by the Red Army to the Polish border. Petlura enters the military pact with the Polish Chief of State Jozef Pilsudski. The aim is the liberation of Ukraine from the Bolsheviks.

The offensive starts on 25 April 1920. On 7 May, the Polish and Ukrainian troops under the command of Ataman Petlura enter Kiev.

However, it is not historical figures, except PILSUDSKI, of course, that will play a decisive role in this film. The entire burden of action and the involvement of the audience's emotions falls on the shoulders of two literary characters: OLA – a revue theatre actress, her recently married husband - JOHN – a communism-supporting idealist. The fighting lines will be shown by JOHN's fate. Hardships and heroism of a Polish soldier based on the literature of Jozef Mackiewicz and Stanislaw Rembeka. On the other hand, the red offensive and its cruelty is shown through the eyes of John, and the episodes are inspired by the "1st Cavalry Army" (First Horse Army) of Isaac Babel.

OLA will be a participant in and witness of the emotions experienced by the residents of Warsaw. We will reconstruct the changing atmosphere of Warsaw during the war on the basis of the memoir literature (vide Maria Dabrowska.)

The subject experts should not be looking in this film for the division into the fighting lines, formation names, names of commanders and a full chronology of events. It is important for its suspense, temperature of emotions, and people's personalities and attitudes. Because it was the people that stood in the way of revolutionary doctrinarians. Divided, often conflicted every day with each other, just did not consent to let their lives be arranged by someone stranger to them. Simultaneously, the film should contain all the qualities of a great spectacle displaying in the battle scenes the charge of cavalry, infantry attacks on bayonets, tanks, armoured cars, armoured trains, planes and observation balloons of those years – nowadays an exotic weapon.
The film will tell you about extreme episodes, as extreme was a time, which will be described.

Schedule of production

  • Period of preparatory actions

16 November 2009  - 3 January 2010  - 49 days

  • Period of preparatory actions

4 January 2010  - 28 June 2010  - 176 days

  • Principal photography

29 June 2010  – 29 September 2010  - 93 days

  • Period of editing and scoring

30 September 2010  - 31 August 2011  - 336 days

  • Period of Finishing Works and Clearing of the film

1 September 2011  – 31 December 2011  -  122 days

Together – 776 days

Including the premiere of the feature film - 26 September 2011

Released In cinema - 30 September 2011

Producer expectations

We want the feature film titled “The Battle of Warsaw 1920” to be an extraordinary cultural event in Poland. It is to depict significant part of our history. We believe it shall also become great commercial event. Promotion of the movie ought to be for a large scale and reflect the importance of the event. The aim of the movie’s promotion is to reach the Poles of different age groups. Hence, the advertising campaign ought to be addressed to each target group. The campaign in question is to involve radio, TV, Internet, press, publishing houses, outdoor campaign as well as cooperation with schools.

Creating the movie using stereoscopic technology is unprecedented and will surely influence interest in the movie. Furthermore, the technology enables to screen the movie using various types of carriers, for instance those used in Imax type cinemas. Moreover, it is a chance to prolong movie’s topicality both in cinemas and other possible means of use, such as reruns on TV on different channels.

For us the most important target is the Polish market and Polish spectators. Achieving success on own market is nearly always reflected in world-wide distribution. In order to be successful abroad we need extra and considerable amount of money within the period of time spent on postproduction. Can the producer afford it? We shall put every effort to make it happen. Upon production of “With fire and sword” and “An ancient tale”, I am well experienced. I also have proven and reliable friends all over the world.

We are at disposal of Polish, national movie festivals’ organizers.

The question is, are we going to be invited to the foreign festivals?

When dealing with promotion, advertisement and marketing we cannot pass over the message of the movie, patriotism and national pride.

Our duties are as follows:

  • To arouse spectators’ interest in the historical subject in the context of unifying Europe, concentrating also on the Polish community abroad, in Europe and America;
  • To improve Polish cinematography image, evaluation of production potential;
  • Creating impatience syndrome and waiting for the movie.

Movie description

Jerzy Hoffman’s "Battle of Warsaw 1920"  in 3D

In mid 2010, Zodiak Jerzy Hoffman Film Production studio embarked on the production of a feature film "Battle of Warsaw 1920". This blockbuster is going to be a great historical fresco depicting a battle which, as lord Edgar D’Abernon argues, was one of the eighteen most decisive battles of all times. 

The 1920 Battle of Warsaw was the only victorious battle since the 17th century to have been fought entirely by Polish forces and which was decisive in winning a war. For the 19 years that followed, the battle secured Poland’s newly regained independence and stopped the progression of the Red Army towards Europe, forcing Lenin and Trotsky to abandon plans of igniting a global revolution.

This heroic victory of the Polish nation over Soviet Russia will be depicted through the eyes of two main protagonists:  Ola, a vaudeville dancer (played by Natasza Urbańska making her film debut) and Jan, a cavalryman, a poet and idealist with socialist views (played by Borys Szyc, a popular actor of the younger generation).

The cast includes some of the finest Polish actors, among them: Daniel Olbrychski, Bogusław Linda, Wiktor Zborowski, Wojciech Pszoniak, Adam Ferency, Ewa Wiśniewska, Stanisława Celińska, and Grażyna Szapołowska. A guest role of a Cossack was landed to a renowned Russian actor Aleksander Domogarow.

The narrative axis of "Battle of Warsaw 1920" is the love relationship between the two protagonists and their life entangled in the turbulent events of the time.  The film is directed by Jerzy Hoffman (nominated for an Oscar for “The Deluge”, a film based on a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz). His latest work is the first feature film in Poland and one of the first such films in Europe to be made using stereoscopic 3D technology. The director of photography is the famous cameraman Sławomir Idziak (Oscar-nominated for his work on Ridley Scott’s "Black Hawk Down"). The budget of the film is 27 million PLN (approx. 9 million USD). 

The film is slated for release in September 2011


Battle of Warsaw 1920

Production and worldwide distribution:

Zodiak Jerzy Hoffman Film Production  02 – 595 Warsaw,  ul. Puławska 61, e-mail: zodiak@netla.pl, phone:  +48 22/845 54 65

Lab and Digital treatment:

P.A.Y. Studio, 02 – 726 Warsaw, ul. Skrzetuskiego 13, e-mail:pay@pay.com.pl, phone +48 22/ 549 77 77

Domestic distribution:

Forum Film Poland, 02- 675 Warsaw, ul. Wołoska 12, dystrybucja@forumfilm.pl, phone  +48 22/ 456 65 22

Description of proposed project

This war almost shook the fate of the entire civilised world, and the deed of our victory created the basis of existence of the Polish nation.
"... We have won you the independence of the Fatherland, and in it you will live, work and govern. Remember: if you turn to the East, then you will revert to culture, economics, etc. from the minimum of one age back. If you turn to the West, Poland will grow faster by the minimum of one age." /Jozef Pilsudski - Letters/

The historical significance of Battle of Warsaw is still underestimated in Poland, also in the West. The British Ambassador in the interwar Poland, a politician, writer - Lord Edgar Vincent D'Abernon, already in the title of his book called it "the eighteenth decisive battle in world history."

Had Battle of Warsaw ended in victory for the Red Army, there would be a turning point in European history. There is no doubt that, along with the conquest of Warsaw by the Soviets, Central Europe would stand open for communist propaganda and the Soviet invasion.

The task of politicians, historians, journalists, academics and culture workers, all of us who love their Homeland - is an obligation to explain ourselves and the international public that in 1920, Poland has saved Europe.

So let's be proud of it because others have already forgotten about it. They forgot and they want it to be forgotten.

Description of the technology

Undertaking the production of historical feature film "Battle of Warsaw 1920", Zodiak Jerzy Hoffman Film Production set before themselves challenges which are pioneering at the country scale, to produce the film in the stereoscopic 3D technology.

The film, and perhaps in the future the television mini-series (3 x 45 minutes), which focuses on a very important historical events will be anniversary, repeatedly aired in various fields of operation. Life of the film, will therefore be very long. To enhance its attractive form, the image quality and optimise the operation, we decided to film it using digital cameras. This will allow us to introduce the film to be distributed on the following media: digital: 3D and 2D stereoscopy (Digital Cinema Disc), DVD, and on the transfer to the photo-sensitive tape 35 mm in the format 1: 2.35 (Cinemascope.) We have already established the artistic and technical team, whose goal is to prepare for the end of April 2010, the heads (strips) and dual-band cameras with almost identical technical parameters and similar lenses, along with control systems.

A historic battle film must leave a lasting impression on the viewer. To create a great spectacle, it is not enough to employ the message of the film, the drama and narrative, but above all, the visual and audio effects. Therefore, we strive to apply the computer effects, such as:

  • multiplications – in the scenes: retreat ways, destroyed buildings, the dead men and horses,  the Budyonny's First Cavalry Army in the amount of 5,000 horses, or reproduced infantry, tanks and other combat vehicles;
  •  matte painting- Saxon Palace (reproduced in full or in part), the army marches across the Nowy Świat street, Kierbedź bridge, fortifications, defence points on the banks of the Dniepr River, matte paintings of villages;
  • 3D/Visual effects  - Squadron Aircrafts named after Tadeusz Kosciuszko, bombing, panic of the riders, disconnected hands and heads, cuts with arms, hits with a butt, explosions, firing weapon, removing the modern elements of architecture;

We would like to produce the sound in the film in Dolby Digital Surround EX.

The talent and propensity for innovation of Polish Artists and Polish technical thought are able to take the challenge to produce the film in the highest world standard.


Realizatorzy Filmu pt. „Bitwa Warszawska 1920”

Director Jerzy Hoffman
Screenplay Jarosław Sokół, Jerzy Hoffman
Producer Jerzy R.Michaluk, Mariusz Gazda
Director of Photography Obrazu Sławomir Idziak
Production Manager Paweł Bareński
Music Krzesimir Dębski
Production Designer Andrzej Haliński
Editor Marcin Kot Bastkowski
Sound Wacław Pilkowski
Set Designer Wiesława Chojkowska
Costume Designer Magdalena Tesławska (kostiumy cywilne) oraz
Andrzej Szenajch (uniformy)
Militaries Tomasz Biernawski
Make-up Mira Wojtczak, Liliana Gałązka
Stereographer Andrzej Waluk, Michael Laakman
Historical Consultant prof. dr hab. Janusz Cisek
Press spokesman Anna Hoddle-Wojnarowska - phone: +48 785 009 771

Artistic and economic qualities


Historical-cognitive qualities

This war almost shook the fate of the entire civilised world, and the deed of our victory created the basis of existence of the Polish nation.

"... We have won you the independence of the Fatherland, and in it you will live, work and govern. Remember: if you turn to the East, then you will revert to culture, economics, etc. from the minimum of one age back. If you turn to the West, Poland will grow faster by the minimum of one age." /Jozef Pilsudski - Letters/

The film should not be a history textbook. It should be a historical fresco, which will satisfy the curiosity of those who seek the roots of their national identity. It should take account of historical memory, paying tribute to soldiers of the Polish Army, soldiers of the Volunteer Army, the Militia soldiers, who in the heroic, successful battle, defeated the Red Army. It is important for its suspense, temperature of emotions, and people's personalities and attitudes. Because it was the people that stood in the way of revolutionary doctrinarians. Divided, often conflicted every day with each other, just did not consent to to let their lives be arranged by someone stranger to them. Simultaneously, the film should contain all the qualities of a great spectacle displaying in the battle scenes the charge of cavalry, infantry attacks on bayonets, tanks, armoured cars, armoured trains, planes and observation balloons of those years – nowadays an exotic weapon.

The film will tell you about extreme episodes, as extreme was a time, which will be described.

Artistic and human qualities

The attached scenario clearly delineates the historical scenes on which will be built the artistic-visual layer of the future film.

Filming of Battle of Warsaw is taken up by one of the most acclaimed Polish film makers, the director Jerzy Hoffman. He is an icon among the film producers in Poland. His name is strongly associated with the historical film, always with the elite cast - "with the stars." It will not come hard for Jerzy Hoffman to choose the stellar cast, the more so because the roles to be filled in the film under the title "Battle of Warsaw 1920" are very interesting as they offer extensive opportunities for actor's performance. The elite casting, costume, make-up and special effects need to ensure the reliability and integrity of the film.

The film direction and history are passions and inclinations of Jerzy Hoffman, which fill his professional life. He is the only one to give this extremely important historical event the highest rank of an artistic work, give the film the message of patriotism, and to our viewers an unforgettable experience. An extremely important factor influencing the quality of the film is the proper use of human resources.

We will try to employ the best specialists "currently available on the market", from support and maintenance staff to the independent producers.

A strong asset and the value of the film will be the technology of the image, the stereoscopic system - 3D.


Enrichment of European cultural diversity

Battle of Warsaw (also called the "Miracle upon the Vistula") which was fought during the period of 12 -25 August 1920, during the Polish-Soviet War, has been recognised as the eighteenth in the list of landmark battles in world history. It decided on retaining the independence of Poland and the discontinuation of spreading of communist revolution in Western Europe.

Artistic values, heroic human attitudes and educational nature of the film give it a universal message, thereby enriching our national culture, strengthening its historical tradition and contributing to the culture of European countries, our national identity. The message of the film will be an important Poland's contribution to the enrichment of European cultural diversity. Events of the Polish-Soviet war will expand knowledge of the history of Europe, which is particularly important in the era of unification of the European Union and the admission of new member countries.


Economic and financial conditions of the film production.

Organisational and financial assumptions of the production of the feature film entitled: "Battle of Warsaw 1920" provide for the following phases of its production:

  1. initial preparatory work during the period of 2 November 2009 - 3 January 2010
  2. period of preparatory work during 4 January 2010 - 27 June 2010
  3. shooting period of 28 June 2010 - 18 August 2010
  4. the editing and dubbing period of 19 September 2010 - 31 May 2011
  5. the final work period of 1 June 2011 - 31 December 2011

including: the regional première of the film in Radzymin, Ossów - 25 August 2011

Warsaw – the film review for journalists – 12 September 2011 (Monday)

Warsaw - world première – 19 September 2011 (Monday)

distribution of the film in the cinemas – 23 September 2011 (Friday) (marketing)

Basic data of the film "Battle of Warsaw 1920"

  • The length of the feature film /25 frames/sec./circa 3,300 meters
  • Airing time of the feature film - 110 minutes
  • Technology of film screening and editing 3D, 2D, Eastman Kodak 35 mm, AVID (Advanced Visual Information Display)
  • Colour editing, digital cameras, format: 1: 2.35 /cinemascope/, high definition
  • SRD Sound /Dolby Digital Surround EX/
  • 60 shooting days
  • Shooting period 83
  • Film production period 790
  • Completion of film production 31 December 2011


Cost of production of the feature film "Battle of Warsaw 1920" stands at 20,541,364 PLN (gross)

and will be co-financed by:

  • Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej [Polish Film Institute] - 9,000,000 PLN grant, to cover the film net expenditures /excluding VAT/
  • Bank Zachodni WBK SA - Sponsorship of 2,400,000 PLN + 22% VAT
  • Zodiak Jerzy Hoffman Film Production - own resources to 10,000,000 PLN

There are ongoing far advanced talks with potential investor with the status of co-producer – Telewizja Polska S.A. [Polish Television SA] - an investment to 6,000,000 PLN. This would allow Zodiak company to partially reduce the burden of credit.

Telewizja Polska S.A. [Polish Television SA] would receive mini television serial - 3 x 45 minutes. for the exclusive use by its channels.
The producer assumes the production of the film in the colour edition in the stereoscopic technology - 3D and photo-sensitive tape in the Cinemascope format 1: 2.35. This will be an unprecedented event in the Polish film market.

The 3D technology used will increase the attractiveness of the film, prolong its life, both in cinemas, as well as in television broadcasting, through multi-annual anniversary replays on different channels.
In the so-called first wave, the film will be played in all Polish cities - in multiplexes and most prestigious one-hall cinemas. The film will be played on at least 6 - 7 screenings a day, in the morning and evening hours. The structure of media and service copies (3D, 2D - digital cinema disc, demonstration photosensitive copies), through which the film will be distributed, will be determined after the special screening organised for the distributor and the heads of multiplexes.

Will the film succeed?

With great probability it should be stated that it will certainly succeed. Nearly one in ten Polish citizen declares that he or she will go to the cinema to see the film "Battle of Warsaw 1920". It should be added that according to surveys conducted among our friends, colleagues and the street poll - 30% of respondents say that they will go to the cinema to see our film.

In our opinion, the baseline scenario, without taking into account the 3D medium, the audience of "Battle of Warsaw 1920" should stand at 3,150,000 viewers.

We adopted the following assumptions:

  1. we produce 150 demonstration-service copies, including: 2 D - DCD
  2. the film enters the screens at the same time, on the whole Polish territory,
  3. a film usually "lives" for 100 days on the silver screen,
  4. we assume that one screening will house an average of 75 viewers,
  5. the film will be shown at 3 screenings per day.


150 copies x 70 viewers x 100 service days x 3 screenings per day = 3,150,000

The atmosphere that we will create during the filming will depend on our actions. The atmosphere of viewer's anticipation for the film, which we intend to produce is the Public Relations business, which is to produce a syndrome of impatience and awaiting the film to a massive customer's. It is really worthwhile.

Official website

Please visit official website of movie Battle of Warsaw 1920

Movie gallery

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