‘Portrait of a Soldier’ now available on iTunes and DVD!

Delighted to announce Portrait of a Soldier film is now released on iTunes and DVD!

Watch Portrait of a Soldier trailer:

The response to the film has truly been amazing – every indie filmmakers dream! Read some of the reviews here:

“Profoundly moving and mesmerising… ‘Portrait of a Soldier’ simply must be seen”

– Joanna Ciechanowska, Nowy Czas


“Portrait of a Solider” is a thoroughly remarkable film. Combining sumptuous production values, searing original footage and the poignancy of Wanda’s own recollections, it provides a new and illuminating viewpoint of one of the bravest and most brutal military campaigns of World War Two. I urge you to see it.”  

   – Roger Moorhouse, historian and author.


“Portrait of a Soldier is a hard-hitting documentary… delivers a complete history of this important chapter of WW2”

– George Clode, Military History Monthly


Portrait of a Soldier film is available on iTunes: Here!

DVD is available for purchase through the films distributor, Journeyman Pictures: Buy DVD here!


More Press and Reviews:

Read Roger Moorhouse’s full review (in English) on  blog: historian-at-large

Article in Polska The Times (in Polish) online: Here!

Article at Polska.pl web portal English language version and Polish language version

Interview in English for New Eastern Europe issue 6/15 Here!

For more press and reviews please visit website: Here!

Portrait of a Soldier – Screening at Warsaw University

On August 2, 2015 ‘Portrait of a Soldier’ was screened at the University of Warsaw.


Wonderful to see so much interest in the film! Brilliant audience – and such a pleasure to be able to hold a discussion and Q&A after the screening together with the films hero, Wanda Traczyk – Stawska. Thank you to everyone who helped to organise the event – and to everyone who came to see the film!



Watch TVP Warszawa News Clip from the screening at Warsaw University: here!

Portrait of a Soldier is now available on iTunes and DVD!

Portrait of a Soldier – Screening at Warsaw Rising Museum

Earlier this summer ‘Portrait of a Soldier’ was screened at the Warsaw Rising Museum. It was an absolute delight to hold a screening and Q&A of the film to such a wonderfully warm and embracing audience! Thank you to everyone who came to see the film!



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Watch TVP Warszawa News clip from: Warsaw Rising Museum on the 13 July, 2015!

Portrait of a Soldier film is now available on iTunes and DVD!

Monument to the Battle of Monte Cassino in Warsaw

There is a beautiful monument in Warsaw in memory of the Battle of Monte Cassino.

This memorial sculpture was designed by Kazimierz Gustaw Zemła and architect Wojciech Zabłocki.


The statue, in white Carrara marble, depicts a beautiful winged shape – reminiscent of both Polish Hussars and the Goddess of Victory, Nike (the head less Winged Victory of Samothrace). The battle – scarred column structure also resembles a classical ruin…

The plinth holds an urn containing the ashes of fallen soldiers under the Cross of Monte Cassino and the hill is covered in a shroud and scattered helmets.

The emblems of the Polish units that fought in the battle are also engraved at the base of the monument. (Click to enlarge my photographs below).




In rough translation, the inscription reads:

 Passerby tell everyone, that we fell

with honour, our soul we gave to God, our hearts to Poland,

our bodies, to Italy’s earth.


Soldiers of General Władysław Anders Polish II Corps,

who on the 18th of May 1944 in bloody

battle took Monte Cassino, broke through the Gustav Line

and opened the road to Rome for the Allies.

The Polish Nation


Museum of the Polish Army – Research Photos

Spending a bit of time attempting to organize my photo archive files – I came across some pictures from the Museum of the Polish Army, that I took on one of my relatively frequent visits / research trips…

Whilst not a modern museum, the Polish Army Museum in Warsaw holds many exceptional treasures in their vast collection – Beginning with the 10th century, through the military greatness of the 17th century, the Napoleonic Wars and National Uprisings through to 20th century conflicts, Polish independence and WW2.

If you are interested in armour, military dress or simply want to be inspired – the extensive collection of this museum will not disappoint!

My photographs in this blog post leave much to be desired, but they were not taken for any artistic / creative purpose. They were only ever intended as a quick reference for research – and I’m afraid their quality was not aided by the somewhat dated object arrangements and glass reflections from the display cases!

I post the photos here solely for the purpose of offering a small glimpse into this museums excellent collection – which, should you have the opportunity to travel to Warsaw, I sincerely recommend you visit.

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Some notes to help the less obvious / most blurred pictures above…

Picture No. 4 The chain mail shirt of Jan II Kazimierz Waza / John II Casimir Vasa, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (1609-1672, reign 1648-1668)

Picture No. 6 The saddle belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte – from the Egyptian campaign in 1799.

Picture No. 11 (detail) and No. 12 Black lace mantilla and jewelry; white crosses and anchor symbols on black, as worn by widows and women during national mourning.

There is a beautiful passage in the ‘Memoirs of Madame Pilsudski’ (London, Hurst & Blackett 1940) where she describes her earliest memories of her grandmother, a Polish patriot, always dressed in black after the failed Insurrection of 1863. I very much recommend this book to anyone interested in Polish history!




And… I shall finish this blog post with the most curious – and funny – piece of armour I have ever seen…


Website link to the Polish Army Museum in Warsaw – here!

Kossak Polish Army Museum

This beautiful poster for the Museum of the Polish Army was painted by W. Kossak in 1934.

Raiders of the Lost Archive…


Searching through reels of archive film is a bit like searching for a lost treasure in the warehouse at the end of ‘Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark’.

The sheer volume can be daunting.

If you are after something quite general –  it’s very easy, but counter intuitive as it may seem, the more specific you are with WW2 archive – the harder it can get… with that one clip, that one elusive little gem, glittering just out of your reach…

For my documentary ‘Portrait of a Soldier’, I have been very fortunate. The fact that over 4 hours of footage filmed during the Warsaw Uprising has survived is really a miracle. That it also survived communism is another.

To now be able to use this in my film, along with beautiful photographs – many by acclaimed photographers; Sylwester “Kris” Braun, Eugeniusz “Brok” Lokajski and Jerzy Tomaszewski – is a true privilege.

But whilst my film is nearing post-production completion, This blog post – is about that one archive clip that I could not find the rights to and therefore, will not be in the finished film… And that despite the clip being used in two previous documentaries about the Warsaw Uprising!

Sometime ago I met with director Paul Meyer, who used the clip in his film “Konspirantinnen: Polnishe Frauen Im Widerstand 1939-1945”. Mr. Meyer was not sure of the clips origin and some suggestions have been made it was not filmed in Poland, but in Ukraine. In any event, it seemed impossible to establish where the footage had been sourced and acquired from. The clip was also used in another documentary called “Betrayal: the Battle for Warsaw” which was shown on the History channel. Having worked at History, I was in this case given access to the production paperwork – yet again, like all the other searches through various footage companies, this eventually also led nowhere.

The reason this clip is special is that it depicts something rarely, if ever, caught on film – It shows a man and a woman assassinating a German officer (?) on a street, in broad daylight.

How a resistance mission this dangerous would ever be recorded on film, is in itself questionable.

But unlike some ‘acted / re-constructed ’ film recordings from this time, that often make their way into archive footage collections, this film clip has something authentic about it:

The jumpy camera movement. The reactions of people passing by. The look of the woman’s face as she rushes towards the camera. It feels real.

But where this film was recorded, by whom – and for the purpose of documentary making: who holds the rights to this archive clip today ? This all remains a glimmering mystery to me…



Portrait of a Soldier – Posters

Posters for ‘Portrait of a Soldier’ documentary.

Concept inspired by ‘traditional’ white paint / brick texture  imagery  and the ‘Poland Fighting’ anchor symbol  – as painted by the Polish resistance movement during the occupation. The brick colour palette is also representative of the red and white armband worn by the Polish Home Army, during the Warsaw Uprising 1944.

Concept, Art Direction and Photography by Marianna Bukowski. Graphic Design by Jack Newman.

English and Polish Versions.





For more information on ‘Portrait of a Soldier’ documentary  – please visit website here!


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