Oscar for Polish Composer

Oscar recognized the Polish composer Jan A. P. Kaczmarek this year for his music to the film, „Finding Neverland”.

Jan A. P. Kaczmarek, who has lived for many years in Hollywood, has written the music for many important films. In his opinion, there appear only two or three really good films each year, among the hundreds of mediocrities.
„Finding Neverland” includes many of the elements of a first-rate film. It tells the emotional history of the life of the Scottish writer, James Barrie (1860-1939). Marc Foster, a well-known director with many Oscars already to his name, adopted this theme and engaged many of the greatest Hollywood stars in both leading and supporting roles.Many well-known and established film composers, the elite in this field, were interested in this film. The fight for permission from the film’s producers to write the music was a tough one. James Horner, for example, offered to write the music for the film for one dollar. But he was not chosen for the honor.

In Kaczmarek’s own words: „Not everything is so simple. We have certain remnants of our behavior from our homes – listening to concert music, mainly on Polish radio. We take a lot from the culture that surrounds us. That culture builds in us both good and bad taste, what makes us laugh, and what moves us.

(…) In childhood I never read Peter Pan, but this film is not about him, but about the writer. I tried to find previous films of the book, I saw something in them and remembered it. I encountered a new area of literature and culture, which I did not know before. But I had an excellent feeling about it. It seemed to me that I found myself in a secret garden where I could play. Thanks to this I wrote the music with great ease. Its essence is unusually simple. I tried to use everything I could from my own childhood. (…) I like what I do very much, I feel that I have learned a lot, that I have mastered a craft, that I have elaborated my position. The best things are still before me…”

Małgorzata Feckanin and Elżbieta Ulanowaska
Translated by  Sean Martin

Forum, 3/2005