On the 8th of July, the Polish premiere of the film Poland. The Royal Tour, in which spectators are shown around our country by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, took place in the historic “Wieliczka” Salt Mine. This extraordinary one-hour documentary was made for the American PBS television network.
“One of the elements of the fight for one’s rightful place is taking care of one’s good name”, said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki during a ceremonial show in the Warszawa Chamber. “The beautiful history, inspiring present and great prospects for the future are what we want to show the world”, he emphasised. “Centuries ago, Jan Długosz wrote in his chronicle that Poland is not mentioned enough and what mentions there are too fragmentary... For the premiere of the film, we chose the Wieliczka mine, which has been on the UNESCO List for over 40 years and in the past was the largest industrial plant of the then Kingdom of Poland”.
The Royal Tour is a series of documentaries produced by Peter Greenberg and Mitchell Cannold. In accordance with the convention of the series, heads of state or government take on the role of guides around the country. To date, The Royal Tour has featured presentations by New Zealand, Jordan, Mexico, Ecuador and Israel. Episodes have been made since 2001 and getting a place in the line-up is quite a feat! Poland succeeded, among others, thanks to the efforts of the Polish National Foundation.
Filming of the “Polish” episode lasted from September to November last year. “I remember seeing Poland on the TV screen as a child, a black-and-white country, gloomy and sad. I wanted to show Poland full of colours in my film. We showed what Poland was, what it is and what it will be”, summed up Peter Greenberg, the host of The Royal Tour, Emmy Award winner, star of CBS and PBS. “If we forget about history, we will be doomed to repeat our mistakes”, he noted, thus reminding us that indeed, “historia magistra vitae est” (history is the teacher of life).
That is why the story about the history of our country is such an important element of The Royal Tour. Without it, it is impossible to understand Poland and Poles. The excellent duo of Morawiecki and Greenberg leads the viewer from the Baltic Sea to the Tatra Mountains, explaining the long and sometimes painful history of the country on the Vistula River, as well as presenting its contemporary, dynamic and modern face. The route of their journey included Warsaw, Gdynia and Hel, Wrocław, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Krakow and, of course, the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
“The history of the mine in Wieliczka is directly connected with the history of Poland”, Zbigniew Zarębski, President of the Management Board of the Wieliczka Salt Mine, stressed in his speech. “For 700 years, Wieliczka’s miners forged salt, leaving chambers, galleries, chapels and even sculptures. We, as the heirs of several dozen mining generations, want to leave our successors a more beautiful and, above all, safer mine. Tourists often tell us: there are many beautiful castles in the world, one more beautiful than the next, as well as cities – one more beautiful than the next, but nowhere else is there a mine like yours. I would like to thank the Prime Minister and the filmmakers for including the underground Wieliczka in The Royal Tour”.
The film Poland. The Royal Tour has already been screened across the ocean. In mid-April, three ceremonial screenings were held in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. The document was then broadcast by the PBS (Public Broadcasting System) network. “The film was aired on over forty stations, from Alaska to New Mexico”, Piotr Śliwowski, a Polish documentary producer, producer of the shocking City of Ruins, said happily. “We showed the Poland we carry in our hearts, full of smiling, wise people”, he added.
The film was produced by as many as three operating crews equipped with drones and a helicopter. Enchanted by Poland, Peter Greenberg is already thinking about the next documentary, The Hidden Poland, in which he could show and tell even more about the country at the heart of Europe.