APIO FILM is one of the first independent film and television producers in free Poland. It was founded by Piotr Augustynek in the beginning of 1992s, however the profesional experience goes back 15 years earlier. Piotr Augustynek worked for Polish Television, Centre in Cracow as a cameraman between 1975 and 1983. During the martial law he was fired and founded the so-called “Independent Television” with priest Kazimierz Jancarz. Using amateur equipment they produced many documentary materials, among them about the famous priest Jerzy Popiełuszko, who was murdered by the communist secret police. Until 1989 they registered events of the latest history of Poland, many of whom were broadcast by Western TV stations. In the 1989 elections, Piotr Augustynek was preparing the TV campaign for Solidarity candidates.
In 1990 Piotr Augustynek started as one of the first independent producers of television programmmes and these activities are continued until now.
Initially it had operated under the name Video Records (1990-96), then as APIO FILM registered in the Polish Cinematography Committee and, following the changes in administrative requirements, since 28 October 2002 it has been registered in the District Office in Wieliczka as APIO FILM Produkcja Filmów i Programów TV. The company is registered as a sole proprietorship business, employs a few full-time employees, however, it is able to employ teams which consist of even several dozens of employees, if production activities require it. Piotr Augustynek is also an active participant of historical events in Poland associated with its liberation from the communist regime, as well as an active advocate of Solidarity. Hence, his vast sensitivity to historical issues associated with freedom, human rights, truth, fairness and responsibility for the activities on the social and the political scene. His forte are the issues rooted in the past, but still strongly affecting the awareness of the contemporary world.
Piotr Augustynek was born in Kraków in 1954. By profession he is a fine art photographer, a camera operator, a producer and a documentary film-maker. Between 1975 and 1983 he was employed in TVP Kraków (Polish Television, branch in Kraków) and between 1983 and 1989 he used to work as photography-film instructor in the Kraków Housing Cooperative. During the martial law he was fired and founded the so-called “Independent Television” with priest Kazimierz Jancarz. Using amateur equipment they produced many documentary materials, among them about the famous priest Jerzy Popiełuszko, who was murdered by the communist secret police. He began to cooperate with “Solidarity” in September 1980, was a member of the Site Committee (KZ) in TVP Kraków and a union representative in the Production Department. In March 1981 he participated in the strike in TVP Kraków during the Bydgoszcz Crisis. In June 1983, claiming illness, he refused to work in a MSW (Ministry of the Interior) mobile broadcasting unit during the visit of John Paul II in Kraków and then took a picture of the Kraków Błonia during the Mass. The censored version of the picture was published in the “Tygodnik Powszechny”, whereas the uncensored one was distributed throughout the Polish underground in a thousand of copies.
During the martial law, using amateur equipment he produced documentaries and feature programmes on the activities of the anti-communist opposition, which were distributed throughout Polish underground press as well as sent to western TV stations, such as NBC and ANTENNE 2. Since 1989 he has been accompanying the most significant events in the free Poland along with his video camera. Much of the footage recorded by him has been broadcast by western TV stations (ARD, WDR, NDR, Reuters, BBC, BRT, 3 SAT, SKY NEWS).
He is a member of the Polish Filmmakers’ Association and one of the founders of the Union of Audiovisual Authors and Producers. He has won prizes in national and international photographic competitions. As an operator, he cooperated in production of a few dozen documentaries. He was a co-author and producer of the full-length documentary film about the history of political prisoners from the first transport of 14 June 1940, brought to Oświęcim from Tarnów entitled “Patent na przeżycie” (A Recipe for Survival). Much of the footage recorded with the former prisoners was not included in the film and constitutes rich and priceless archive footage, since these people are already gone and their stories have yet to see the light day. We intend to use this footage in the “Conservators of Remembrance”.
In 2001 he shot footage of the film by Marcel Łoziński (artistic care provided by Andrzej Wajda and Steven Spielberg) entitled “Pamiętam” (I Remember), which won the Grand Prix at the “Jewish Motifs” international film festival in Warsaw. Piotr Augustynek is a laureate of a honorary diploma granted by the Survivors of The Shoah – Visual History Foundation, established by Steven Spielberg.
Piotr Augustynek is the author of footage and the producer of many documentary films devoted to outstanding individuals (for instance – A. Wajda, B. Chromy, J. Mehoffer) or people who had a significant impact on the European culture (John Paul II, K. Arciszewski).
Currently, APIO FILM cooperates with a correspondent of the German TV in Poland, ARD Studio Warschau in the production of documentaries as well as short film forms, the so-called feature-length films. The company has also been developing several documentary projects, including productions devoted to first attempts at construction of space rockets made in Kraków, the liberation of Kraków by the Red Army and the alleged mining of Kraków by the Germans, etc. The thematic profiles of the developed documents usually include an aspect historical revisionism and confrontation with the witnesses of the history still active today, local and national identity, preservation cultural and historical heritage from being forgotten.
The recently produced documentary film about Karol Wojtyła “Śladami Wujka”(In Uncle’s footsteps) is currently being translated to five languages and its international distribution is scheduled to commence in 2012.
Piotr Augustynek (born 1954)
Lives in Wieliczka near Cracow
from 1975 till 1983 cameraman of the staff for Polish Television
/ was given a political discharge under Martial Law/
from 1984 till 1989 freelancer for NBC, Antenne 2 and other TV stations;
established an underground video network called ‘Independent TV’
from 1996 till 1998 filming for the Steven Spielberg’s ’Survivors of the Shoah’ Foundation.
since 1992 self-employed in own company: APIO FILM
The following TV channels have broadcast the film materials by Piotr Augustynek as the cameraman:
TVP 1, TVP 2, TVP 3 , TVN, (Poland)
BRT ( Belgium )
ARD, WDR, BR, MDR, NDR, ZDF ( Germany )
Cameraman for selected Polish documentaries:
‘LET’S DIE TOGETHER’ director: Krzysztof Tchórzewski
‘ALINA SZAPOCZNIKOW’ director: Krzysztof Tchórzewski
‘BREAKING OF THE HOPE’ director: Dorota Latour
‘VISION AND ANNIHILATION’ director Andrzej Maj
“ Niepokój “ director: Krzysztof Tchórzewski
Film about famous polish director Krzysztof Zanussi
More You can find on http://www.filmpolski.pl
“DE DRIEHOEK VAN DOOD’ 50′ author: Luc Declerq, BRT Belgium 1992