The premiere of Unconquered: Trying Times, 28 June 2019

Independence was easy to proclaim, but holding on to it was an art. Unconquered: Trying Times, an animated short released by Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, shows the making of the Second Polish Republic (1918–1939). This prequel to the 2017 animated film Unconquered was produced by Tengent Studio.


Unconquered: Trying Times is a story of relentless struggle, sacrifice, hopes and dreams. The filmmakers depict the efforts of an entire generation of Poles who tenaciously fought to reclaim Poland’s independence, and in peacetime toiled to build a new, free homeland, often earning international acclaim in the process. The film conveys the message that pre-World War II Poland was a thriving nation that was ready to face the greatest challenges of history.

The concept of the film was created by the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). “Part two of Unconquered is part of a larger project by the Institute’s National Education Office that is intended to showcase key events in Polish history in a way that speaks to the younger generation and international audiences,” says Adam Hlebowicz, head of the IPN’s National Education Office. “The events featured in this animated short take place between 1918 and 1939, meaning they precede the events of our 2017 production. The two films do share certain elements in terms of style and substance, but we’ll let that be a surprise for the audience,” he adds.

“Part two of Unconquered employs the same visual idiom as the first film, but stirs a different range of emotions, one that’s positive and warm. The characters proceed from one event to the next as they fight, vote, and design the future of the newly reborn country of Poland. This film steps outside the military theme of our previous picture to show the everyday lives of the characters,” explains screenwriter and producer Krzysztof Noworyta of Tengent Studio.

“We wanted the film to show the complex, dynamic character of the years between 1918 and 1939. We often forget what tremendous effort it took to regain our independence, and that it was even harder to maintain and build an independent country after 100 years of ruinous partition. The movie is intended to portray the efforts of an entire generation working for their independent homeland. The cast of characters includes historical figures. The animated short reveals the multifaceted nature of their work. Each scene and shot is a complete educational package filled with symbols, references and meanings. We encourage audiences to explore this period of Polish history on their own,” says Rafał Pękała, who wrote the script and coordinated the project on behalf of the Institute of National Remembrance.

The film took six months to produce, and was made by a fifty-person team of visual artists led by Jurand Szela of Juice. The Polish version is voiced by Mirosław Zbrojewicz, whom audiences will remember from the previous film, while viewers of the English-language version will hear the Canadian voice actor Peter Jaycock.

Unconquered is a Polish pop-culture brand that uses the universal language of animation to reach a broad audience. Its sleek production value and compelling narrative lets us talk about Polish history in a way that’s fresh and easy to understand. The continuity between the two films is certainly intentional, and we hope to tell more of this story in the future,” adds Marcin Kobylecki, head
of Tengent Studio.

The movie is available through the IPN’s website and social media channels (Facebook and Youtube) in seven languages: Italian, French, Spanish, Hebrew, Chinese, Russian, and German.

The latest film from the IPN, Unconquered: Trying Times, is part of a consistent message crafted by the Institute through its educational wing, the National Education Office.


The premiere of Unconquered: Trying Times will take place at 12:00 (Polish language version) and at 3:00 p.m. (English language version)


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