What happens with an actor once the stage lights go out and the cameras are off? What can we see in that brief moment when the artist is done playing the role, but has not yet gone back to his or her private life? What is that instant of solitary intimacy like? What surfaces when there is no audience, no applause, no cameras, and no adrenaline? The 2019 edition of the ATM GRUPA calendar provides answers to those questions.
During intimate ambient photo shoots, in a scenery alluding to the models’ professional realm, internationally renowned photographer Robert Wolański searched for the emotions that take over once a performance or a shooting day ends. “Few projects of this kind are carried out in our market. I am, therefore, especially glad that I had a chance to contribute. I would like to really thank the actors who were open to have fun and a genuine laugh in front of my camera. The most crucial factor in situations like that is trust, and in many cases it was my first encounter with the model. An important thing was the energy flowing between myself, the crew, and the actors. The models were expected to just be themselves, and that is not an easy thing. Here, there was no spectacular portraying of emotions on scene, there were just intimate, homely meetings. And, as I see it, each of our protagonists, was able to appreciate the moment: the here and now”, says Robert Wolański.
The following artists accepted our invitation to the project: Dagmara Bąk, Krzysztof Dracz, Helena Englert, Andrzej Grabowski, Katarzyna Herman, Ewa Kasprzyk, Małgorzata Kożuchowska, Rafał Królikowski, Małgorzata Hajewska – Krzysztofik, Michalina Olszańska, Filip Pławiak, Łukasz Simlat.
Finally, came the long-awaited day when the originators and the makers of this exceptional calendar, supported by ATM Grupa board chairman Andrzej Muszyński, could present their work to the world. The vernissage was held at the ATM Film&Television Production Centre in Wał Miedzeszyński street in Warsaw. The online premiere took place one day later at: kalendarz.atmgrupa.pl.
This year’s issue is meant to bring generations of artists together. It was created with emeriti actors in mind, residents of the Retired Artists Home in Skolimów: people who over the years have given us unforgettable performances on stage and on screen. Once acclaimed and adored, in Skolimów they were able to find a safe haven for the autumn of their lives. Still, they remain unparalleled artists and the greatest inspiration for young actors. The photographs for the 2019 ATM GRUPA calendar edition were handed over to Ryszard Rembiszewski, chairman of the Association of the Veterans of Polish Stages, a partner organisation in the project. They are subsequently going to be sold at an auction. As in previous years, the calendar is also available for purchase via bidding at The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (WOŚP) charity auctions as of December 3rd 2018. “I am really glad I could take part in this project, because it is true that the cameras are never present for that brief moment right after the performance or the end of a shooting day. When it cane to great actors of the past, both living residents of the Skolimów house and those who have passed away, we usually saw them playing a role: on stage, in a gesture, or posing for portraits or photo shoots. Personally, I feel like a lion in a cage after playing Martha in “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf”. Performing in a comedy play, on the other hand, doesn’t affect me at all.
It took me a long time to learn not to take my characters back home. It is a difficult process. Today, Shakira, my dog, is of great help: she takes me for a walk and it gives me an emotional cool-off”, says Ewa Kasprzyk.
“It’s a beautiful and noble idea spawned from respect, admiration and gratitude towards veteran actors. I am happy and grateful I could be part of it. Over the last year I’ve learned a lot about this profession. There can be no more valuable lesson than face-to-face meetings with experienced actors and directors who are at the same time wise people. The year which is now coming to its end has been one of the most important in my life. The new one will be a major challenge”, Helena Englert told us.
“I didn’t hesitate even for a moment when I was invited to this project. I am grateful to ATM Grupa for dedicating this year’s calendar to the veteran artists of Skolimów. I’m happy we can be a partner in this event and I hope this is only the beginning of a very fruitful cooperation. Those people, who we for years admired and applauded, deserve our memory, presence, assistance and respect. I am adamant that they will draw real benefits from the work we did in the studio several months ago thanks to Rober Wolański”, says Małgorzata Kożuchowska, deputy board chairwoman of the Association of Polish Stage Artists.
“Skolimów is a place at the end of one’s artistic trajectory. I think of it as a sacred space, a noble retreat for people who go there to gather and share the most beautiful stories. We aim to protect that space, accompany its residents and learn from their wisdom. I am really thrilled that a company as modern as ATM has come up with such initiative. It’s a good thing we come together ever more often”, summarises Paweł Królikowski, board chairman of the Association of Polish Stage Artists.
Calendar ATM GRUPA: http://kalendarz.atmgrupa.pl/
Photography by: Jacek Kurnikowski, Piotr Podlewski/AKPA