PRODUCTION: Polish WWII Prison Break Story in Production

By Katarzyna Grynienko

    WARSAW: Polish director Andrzej Skłodowski is reconstructing one of the biggest break-outs from Nazi work camps in his new documentary Harry - tunel do wolności ( Harry - A Tunnel to Freedom), a documentary about the escape of 76 Polish pilots from the Stalag Luff camp in Żagań.

    In March 1944 the prisoners escaped through a 111-meter tunnel which they dug. Only three of them managed to survive what the historians call the "Big Escape" and get home. The rest were captured and fifty were executed on Hitler's personal order.

    Shooting started in the night of 24/25 March 2011, the anniversary of the escape. Skłodowski, an experienced Polish documentary filmmaker, chose to work mainly with amateurs. The parts of a allied and Nazi soldiers are played by members of history reconstruction group based in Żagań, which also provided substantial factual material for the film.

    "The main scenes of the will will be recreated on the actual remains of the Stalag Luft III camp," Robert Rewiński, the production's spokesperson, said. "The crew will shoot on location in the camp and at a special replica of the 104 barracks, where the prisoners were kept. The actors will fashion civilian clothes out of their prison uniforms, produce false documents and reprint maps of Europe. The culmination will be the reconstruction of the escape itself," Rewiński added.

    The shoot will last till the end of June 2011. The film is produced by Skłodowski in co-operation with the City Of Żagań (www.bip.zagan.pl). The theatrical premiere is planned for the begining of 2011. The filmmaker has also signed a preliminary contract with Discovery Channel (www.discoverychannel.pl) which plans to show this production on the Discovery History program. Skłodowski's previous works have been presented by several international broadcasters including Discovery Channel, Global, TSB and CNN.