Annika Glac learns from master director Agnieszka Holland

Annika Glac (L) and Agnieszka Holland.

As she prepares to shoot Radiant, her third feature, Annika Glac is gaining valuable insights into her craft from Oscar-nominated director Agnieszka Holland.

Thanks to Screen Australia’s Enterprise People program, Glac is in Warsaw shadowing Holland through the entire post production of Charlatan, a 1950s drama set in Prague.

“To be in the presence of such a brilliant film director with vast International experience, an astute eye, and generous spirit has truly been a life-changing and career-catapulting experience,” the Polish/Australian filmmaker tells IF.

Holland has given Glac advice on casting Radiant, a biopic on Marie Curie, the Polish-born physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity, as well as tips on Polish service companies.

Producer Robyn Kershaw is raising the finance from Polish, French and German partners and plans to start shooting in Krakow, Paris and Australia early next year. The cast will be a mixture of Europeans and Australians.

The drama will focus on the Nobel Prize winner from the time she won the top prize in chemistry and physics at Sorbonne University through her marriage to Pierre Curie, his death and her subsequent affair with married Frenchman Paul Langevin.

Charlatan centres on a Czech herbalist who devoted his life to caring for the sick despite facing huge obstacles in his private and public life, inspired by the real-life figure of Jan Mikolášek, whose story was adapted for the screen by Marek Epstein.

Post production on ‘Charlatan.’

“I have always been interested in healing, the fact somebody is able to look so deep into the body and soul of another person that he finds out what is in them,” Holland says. “Mikolášek was unbelievably smart and intuitive but also a rational individual who managed to diagnose people and help them with herbs.”

Glac was drawn to work with the Polish-born director not just because she has made more than 30 films around the world but also due to her ability to move seamlessly between features and television.

Holland earned Academy Award nominations for Angry Harvest, a 1985 drama about a woman on the run through World War II Poland who becomes an object of fascination for a local farmer; and 2011’s In Darkness, based on a true story of Holocaust heroism.

Her credits include Mr Jones, Spoor, The Secret Garden, Europa Europa and TV’s House of Cards, Treme, The Killing and The Wire.

Among the take-outs of her time with Holland Glac says she has learned about the rhythm of the director’s cutting, the influence of music, what guides her choices and how she navigates working with a foreign crew.

“We have talked about many aspects of Radiant, most importantly about the drive and spirit of Marie Curie, a woman way ahead of her time,” she adds.

Her debut feature, Belladonna (2009) was an Australian-Polish co-production, a love story which starts in 16th century Poland and reconnects with present day Australia.

Bunny (2014) is a Polish-set comedy drama which was awarded the jury prize in the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinephile section and screened across Europe on Canal Plus.