Another prize for Once My Mother

27 October, 2014 by Don Groves

Sophia Turkiewicz's documentary Once My Mother has won a special prize and 10,000 euros ($A14,400) at a major Spanish festival.

The jury at Seminci, the 59th Festival Internacional de Cine de Valladolid,  presented the award in the Time of History section.


The prize was for the director "tracking the personal trajectory of a victim of the horrors of the Second World War – from her native Poland to Siberia and on to Persia, Rhodesia and Australia – with exemplary courage and restraint. “

This is the third international award for the feature documentary produced by Rod Freedman, following the audience award at the Krakow Film Festival and a special award at a film festival in Gdynia, Poland.

Turkiewicz said, “We are delighted by the ongoing recognition for this essentially Australian film and acknowledgement of the story of nearly two million Poles who were exiled to Gulag camps under Stalin.”

Once My Mother tells the story of Sophia’s mother Helen, who arrived in Australia in 1950 as a single mother with her daughter, who was born in a refugee camp in Africa.

The ABC screened the film at 10.20 pm on Sunday after rejecting pleas from the producers and other filmmakers for an earlier, more audience-friendly timeslot.  It was watched by 81,000 people in the five metro cities, according to OzTAM.

The ABC estimates there were 150,000 viewers nationwide, excluding those who recorded the program for viewing later or who watch on iview.