EXCLUSIVE: WarnerMedia OneFifty has picked up this year’s Oscar-nominated live action short The Dress from Polish filmmaker Tadeusz Lysiak.
The short will stream exclusively on HBO Max this month. Łysiak, who wrote and directed the short, is a student at the Warsaw Film School.
The Dress centers around short-statured protagonist Julia who struggles with social rejection and bullying as she looks for love and intimacy while working at a roadside motel. Julia doesn’t want to suppress her desire, sexuality, and longing for physical intimacy and when a handsome truck driver comes into her life, her unrealized fantasies begin to come true. The short isn’t simply a love story, but a universal one about longing that affects everyone, regardless of the barriers and differences that divide us. The University of Michigan says that 40% of women with disabilities are sexually or physically assaulted during their lifetimes, and The Dress provides a platform to women with disabilities who have experienced abuses.
“We forget that we are all made of the same clay and that we all need love,” Łysiak tells Deadline. “The world is full of lonely people who were doomed for this loneliness, even though they do not deserve it. I hope our film will bring the audience’s attention to this issue and allow us to stop looking at ourselves only in the context of our looks, the shapes of our faces, our height, weight or other physical aspects.”
“I wish people would stop using the word ‘otherness,’ become more open-minded, and embrace diverse viewpoints. Looks don’t matter. We all have magic inside us,” says actress Anna Dzieduszycka who plays Julia. Her acting has been recognized at many festivals in Poland and abroad. Her awards include the Grand Prize for Best Actress at Flicker’s Rhode Island International Film Festival in the U.S.
This is the second Oscar nomination for the Warsaw Film School, which is The Dress’ producer. The short has screened at nearly 40 film festivals around the world and has won 19 awards. Winning the Atlanta Film Festival qualified the film to compete at this year’s Oscars.
The creative team is composed mainly of students and graduates of the Warsaw Film School. This includes Lysiak who participated in the school’s prestigious program Future Frames – Generation Next of European Cinema within Eastern Promises at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and cinematographer Konrad Bloch who was recognized for his work as a cameraman on The Dress at the 45th Gdynia Film Festival where he won the award for Best Cinematography.
The short is produced by director and screenwriter Maciej Ślesicki who is the co-founder and Chancellor of the Warsaw Film School. He is the producer of many student films, including Our Curse which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) in 2015. Dobro, Mil and Glosno served as co-producers for the project which was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. Salaud Morisset is responsible for international distribution and sales. The Dress is the only Academy Award nominated production from Poland this year.
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