Beata Poźniak

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Beata Poźniak
Beata Poźniak by Kris Seklecki.tiff
Beata Poźniak in 2013
Born
Beata Poźniak

(1960-04-30) 30 April 1960 (age 60)
EducationMaster's Degree (High Honors)
Alma materŁódź Film School
OccupationActress, director, producer, writer, artist, activist
Children1
AwardsEarphones Award

Beata Poźniak (Polish pronunciation: [bɛˈat̪a pɔʑˈɲak]; born 30 April 1960) is a Polish award-winning actress, film director, published poet, painter and an Earphones Award-winning narrator. She is also a human rights activist who introduced the first bill in the history of US Congress to officially recognize International Women's Day in the United States.

Early life[edit]

Poźniak was born in Gdańsk, Poland. Her mother was born in Wilno, Lithuania and from her father's side, family is from the Ukraine. She passed her entrance exam to the National Film School in Łódź PWSFTViT with the highest score in the country, and received a Master's of Fine Arts degree with High Honors at age 22.

Her very first film role, while still in high school, was as an extra in the Academy Award winning film The Tin Drum which happened to be filming near her home. She later made many film appearances and worked as a fashion model and was the calendar girl for Poland's national soccer team.

Career[edit]

Film and television work[edit]

Poźniak was discovered by the U.S. audiences when Oliver Stone cast her in JFK as Marina Oswald. This memorable role in an Academy Award-nominated film was her U.S. feature debut and it led to her appearances in over 30 film and TV projects worldwide. After playing the first female President of the World, Earth Alliance President Susanna Luchenko in Babylon 5, and a fiery young revolutionary in George Lucas' The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, as well as a sharp scientist Ludmilla in Dark Skies or Eva in Pensacola she becomes known for playing badass female characters. Other powerful roles have included Paramount’s JAG where she appeared as an exotic Israeli spy, a double agent working for the Mossad and CIA. In the television series Melrose Place, she created a ground-breaking character, Dr. Katya Fielding, a "straight" woman and mother who decides to marry a gay man - the role that is still very much talked about, making Poźniak one of the show's most popular former cast members. Her other diverse roles include Masha in Mad About You, Raisa on The Drew Carey Show and Tambor, the Japanese nanny in Oliver Stone's Wild Palms miniseries. In the CBS movie of the week A Mother's Gift, she was seen as a character that aged thirty years, whereas in a World War II drama entitled “Miriam” she played a Catholic woman who risks her life to save a Jewish girl from the Nazis. She also stars as Laina in the interactive movie/video game Psychic Detective, premiered at Sundance Film Festival as the first video game in the New Media category. An experimental film "All These Voices" where she stars as Beata, a World War II Survivor wins a Student Academy Award.

Voiceover work[edit]

Poźniak narrated the bestseller, The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great,[1] a 19-hour audiobook[2] for Random House, where she made use of her European background in bringing to life the 78 characters and their colorful accents. After embodying one of the most intriguing women in history, she read another 19 hour story of the Empress of the Night: A Novel of Catherine the Great.[3] This was followed by a teen romance/adventure/sci-fi thriller, "The Illuminae Files", by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, which won an Audie Award. After that, she co-narrated "The Tsar of Love and Techno" by Anthony Marra which was selected in the Top 5 Best Audiobooks[4] of the year by The Washington Post. As a producer and narrator she takes on "Libretto for the Desert – Poetry Dedicated to the Victims of Genocide and War" a project that acknowledges the universality of loss, persecution, and intolerance. Poźniak received the 2019 Earphones Award[5] for the best read audiobook Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead written by Nobel Prize Winner Olga Tokarczuk. In the video game world, she voiced Skarlet, the Blood Queen in Mortal Kombat 11, which turned out to be the highest-grossing video game of the last decade.[6] She also narrated documentaries such as, "The Officer's Wife" about the mass murder of Polish officers in the Katyn forest and co-narrated Freedom from Despair, a film about communism, which won several Awards and received an honorable mention in the US Congress.

Theatre and performance art[edit]

Seeking a new voice for herself in a uniquely contemporary style that declares "anything is possible," she founded Theater Discordia. Creating performance-art pieces that have been part of the L.A. Theatre Festival, and the L.A. Poetry Festival, she directed and wrote "Poeticus Umbilicus", "Poetry Discordia", "Return of Umbilicus", "We & They" and "Changing Flags."[7] Her Theater Discordia evolved, with the participation of Peter Sellars, into a celebrated venue for experimental theater works.

Visual Arts[edit]

Poźniak is also a painter, and continues to work in film, often appearing in experimental and independent productions, several of which she has also directed. In her directorial debut, which was a short film, "Mnemosyne", she used several art pieces made by herself. Praised by F.X. Feeney LA Weekly: "the multitalented Pozniak rapidly intercuts news footage of violence with live models and her own sensual sculptures to express a fierce moral sense." Through her art, Poźniak often explores what it is to be a woman in today’s world with recurring themes of women's rights, social justice and women's history. Her artworks combine the choreographic traditions of theater with symbolic and surreal imagery of painting and sculpture. In her early mask series, Poźniak connects an ancient and mythological theatrical device with the surrealism of Man Ray to produce a stunning range of fantastical masks made from feathers and other found objects. Her more recent paintings and sculptures explore the collision of ancient myths and the modern world. By combining imagery reminiscent of surrealist dreamscapes with found objects, these works challenge our notions of continuity between past and present. Poźniak says: "Surrealism is a lens through which I view many of the events and circumstances occurring in the world today. Whether it is the horrors of war or inspirational insights found in ancient mythology, I am constantly exploring fantastical juxtapositions that express something about the experience of being a woman. That is why my paintings and sculptures are often surreal and full of symbolism. Feministic, poetical, and political."[8]

Charity and causes[edit]

Poźniak's art is often auctioned off for charity and support different causes including Children's Hospital[9] and Looking Above & Beyond, an organization dedicated to creating awareness and the enrichment of children with special needs or Our House, an organization providing grief support services, education, resources, and hope. She also hosted Domestic Violence Prevention Awards, National Women's Political Caucus's - Women's Leadership Awards.

International Women's Day[edit]

Mnemosyne - International Women's Day

Beginning in the late 1980s, soon after her arrival in America, Poźniak began a campaign to get the US Government to recognize International Women's Day. She was very successful, and she accomplished the introduction of the first bill[10] in the history of the U.S. Congress for national recognition of the holiday (H.J. Res. 316) designating March 8 as International Women's Day occurred on 8 March 1994.[11] She made the headlines of the Los Angeles Times, who hailed her as "Taking the Banner For Women Everywhere".[12] Furthermore, Poźniak established an educational organization Women's Day USA,[13] which aims to raise a public awareness of women's inspirational achievements all over the world. She also works on projects that help bring awareness to third world issues with a special emphasis on the representation of women's voices and their untold stories.

She received official recognition from the Los Angeles City Council, which commended her for her efforts in establishing International Women's Day as a day to be celebrated in the United States and from Mayor Richard Riordan for her vision in creating International Women's Day, and from Mayor Tom Bradley for bringing the idea to Los Angeles. Poźniak has been acknowledged for her ability to work across both political parties in seeking greater recognition for women's rights. In 1995, at a public awards event, a women's rights attorney, Gloria Allred acknowledged Poźniak for her contributions to human rights and to women's history and also named Poźniak as being her personal hero.[14] Furthermore, Poźniak established an educational organization Women's Day USA,.[13]

In 1994, to commemorate the introduction of the first bill in the history of the U.S. Congress (H.J. Res. 316) to recognize International Women's Day in the United States, Poźniak created a painting "Mnemosyne - International Women's Day", the Mother of Memory which celebrates the many contributions to human rights by women from all over the world. A symbol of International Women's Day, the work depicts a community of all races of the world in a female form. It evokes the achievements of women along their struggle for peace and equality in the face of discrimination and war.

Awards and honors[edit]

bronze handprint at Festiwal Gwiazd
  • Recognized by Congresswoman Maxine Waters for "bringing International Women's Day to the forefront and for initiating an official bill and for making this day a larger part of our nation's support of women here and around the world".
  • Recognized by Senator Dianne Feinstein for seeing that "International Women's Day would not go by unnoticed" in the United States (1993)
  • Presented and acknowledged by Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg for Poźniak's commitment for International Women's Day and creating Women's Day USA (1998)
  • Awarded with a star, a bronze handprint at Festiwal Gwiazd, Poland's "Hollywood Walk of Fame." Past honorees include: Volker Schlöndorff, Peter Greenaway, David Lynch, Faye Dunaway, Ian Gillan, Anna Paquin among others (2017)
  • Recognized by the Mayors of Los Angeles: Tom Bradley (1993) and Richard Riordan (1997) for her "vision in creating International Women's Day"
  • Awarded a "Lifetime Achievement Award" - Presented by Osobowosci i Sukcesy Magazine (2018)
  • Voice Arts Awards Nominee - "Outstanding Video Game Character - Best Voiceover" Category for Skarlet (voice) in Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros (2019)
  • International Maria Konopnicka Prize – "For Outstanding Achievements in the Arts and for Championing Women's Rights Around the World". Presented at the GRAMMY LA Live (2019)
  • The Ianicius Klemens Janicki Award – "For Artistic and Literary Achievements (2019)
  • Voice Arts Awards Nominee - "Outstanding Spoken Word or Storytelling - Best Performance" Category for "Libretto for the Desert: Poetry Dedicated to the Victims of Genocide and War" (2019)
  • The Earphones Award Winner (2019) – for narrating Penguin Random House Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, written by Nobel Prize winner, Olga Tokarczuk (2019)
  • The Earphones Award Winner (2020) – for narrating "The Light in Hidden Places" audiobook for Scholastic (2020)

Filmography[edit]

List of acting credits in film and television
Year Title Role Notes
2019 Mr. Jones Rhea Clyman Based on a true story of Gareth Jones
2018 Scenes in a Mind Katrina Farnwald Based on a true story
2016 All These Voices Beata Won, Student Academy Awards
2015 An Unknown Country co-producer, documentary Nominated, 2018 Emmy Award
2014 People on the Bridge portrayed poet Wislawa Szymborska Also directed
2010 The Officer's Wife Officer's Wife (Cecylia) Documentary, Narrator
2010 Ojciec Mateusz Ewa Pol Episode: "Spa"
2009 On Profiles in Courage Host Also directed
2007 Zlotopolscy Helena TV series (46 episodes)
2006 Cyxork 7 Jacey Anderson Sci-Fi
2006 Miriam Margritas Based on a WW2 true story
2004 Freedom from Despair Narrator Award-winning documentary
2002 The Drew Carey Show Raisa Episode: "What Women Don't Want"
2002 Philly Thomas Jury Forewoman Episode: "Ripley, Believe It or Not"
2002 Mnemosyne Mnemosyne Also directed
2001 Family Law Mary Kobish Episode: "Obligations"
2001 Mixed Signals Erica Chamberlain played an artist
1999 The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Adventures in the Secret Service Irene Prod. George Lucas
1999 Enemy Action Fatima A Roger Corman action film
1999 Klasa na obcasach Betty TV series
1998 Women's Day: The Making of a Bill Host Doc. first International Women's Day US bill
1997 Pensacola: Wings of Gold Eva Terenco Episode: "Road Warriors"
1997 Babylon 5 President Susanna Luchenko Episode: "Rising Star"
1997 Dark Skies Ludmila Episode: "Strangers in the Night"
1997 JAG Malka Dayan Episode: "Secrets"
1995 War & Love Ingrid Steiner aka "Heaven's Tears"
1995 A Mother's Gift Kristine Reinmuller Based on a western Bess Streeter Aldrich book
1993 Melrose Place Dr. Katya Petrova Fielding 7 episodes
1993 Wild Palms Tambor ABC, 3 episodes
1993 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Irene "Petrograd, July 1917"
1993 Mad About You Masha Episode: "Maid About You"
1992 At Night the Sun Shines Anabelle Supervising prod. Robert Wise
1991 Ferdydurke Flora Gente Dir. Jerzy Skolimowski
1991 Ramona! Ms. White
1991 JFK Marina Oswald 8 Nominations Oscars, 2 Wins
1989 Stan wewnętrzny Woman in Black plays the symbol of Solidarność
1989 White in Bad Light Narrator spiritual and shamanic journeys
1987 Vie en Images Alicja Eber Based on a true story
1986 A Chronicle of Amorous Accidents Zosia Dir. Andrzej Wajda
1985 Hamlet in the Middle of Nowhere Ophelia Inspired by William Shakespeare play
1985 Rozrywka po staropolsku Córka musical taking place in the Middle Ages
1984 Królowa śniegu"Snow White Princess musical for National Polish TV
1984 Deszcz Beata music: Marek Grechuta Andrzej Szpilman
1993 Szczęśliwy brzeg Pola Played a girl that wants to be the first female sea Captain
1983 Życie Kamila Kuranta Todzia filming interrupted by Martial Law in Poland
1982 Kłamczucha uczennica Based on a teens novel
1981 Man of Iron Solidarity Supporter Dir. Andrzej Wajda
1980 Pierścień w świńskim ryju Barbel Based on a Thomas Mann story
1980 Tango ptaka Karolinka filmed while being in college
1979 The Tin Drum Dir. Volker Schlöndorff

Video Games[edit]

List of video games
Year Title Character Notes
2019 Mortal Kombat 11 Skarlet (voice) Warner Bros games - 2019 Voice Arts Awards Nominee - "Outstanding Video Game Character - Best Voiceover"
1995 Psychic Detective Laina Pozok game screened as a feature at several film festivals, including Sundance Film Festival

Audiobooks[edit]

List of audiobooks
Year Title Notes
2020 The Light in Hidden Places by Scholastic, a true story about the heroic Podgórski sisters The 2020 Earphones Award Winner Won
2020 Droga do nieba by Blackstone Publishing
2019 Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead - written by Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk - Penguin Random House (12-hour audiobook) The 2019 Earphones Award Winner Won
2019 Libretto for the Desert by Sona Van. Poems Dedicated to all the Victims of Genocide and War - Blackstone Audio Voice Arts Awards Nominee - "Outstanding Spoken Word or Storytelling - Best Performance" Nominated
2015 Illuminae (as Dr. Shteyngart) - Penguin Random House Audie Award Winner Won
2015 The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra, Penguin Random House Washington Post "Best Audiobook of the Year" Won
2014 Empress of the Night: A Novel of Catherine the Great (19-hour audiobook) published by Random House
2012 The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great (19-hour audiobook) published by Random House

Further reading[edit]

  • "Before the Camera Rolled", a book about the craft of acting by Jason Norman. Poźniak is one of the studies for her portrayal of Marina Oswald in Oliver Stone's JFK, ISBN 1629331228
  • "Die Nacht der Zeitlosen" by Patrick Roth. Poźniak appears in the title-story of a cycle of 5 tales as an actress at a Hollywood party who played Marina Oswald in Oliver Stone's JFK, ISBN 3518456822
  • "Portraits: Polish Artists in America" by Czeslaw Czaplinski, Rosikon Press ISBN 83-903459-1-9
  • "The Official Melrose Place Companion" by David Wild, Harper Collins Poźniak is one of the cast members, plays Dr. Katya Petrova Fielding.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great". www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  2. ^ Penguin Random House Audio (3 January 2012). "IN THE STUDIO: Beata Pozniak reads Eve Stachniak's THE WINTER PALACE". YouTube. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Empress of the Night: A Novel of Catherine the Great". AudioFile (magazine). Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  4. ^ Powers, Katherine A. (18 November 2015). "Best audiobooks of 2015". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  5. ^ "Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead". AudioFile magazine. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  6. ^ Webb, Kevin (22 May 2019). "'Mortal Kombat 11' is selling so well, it just achieved a rare feat that no other game has accomplished in over a decade". Business Insider. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Beata Pozniak". Beata.com. Retrieved 13 January 2019.[dead link]
  8. ^ "Featured Artist: Rennaisance Woman". Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Children hospital". 17 October 2019. Retrieved 17 October 2019.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Where We Have Been and What We Can Become - Celebrating International Women's Day". HuffPost. 7 March 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  11. ^ http://www.beata.com/newpage/givingback/womensday.html[dead link]
  12. ^ "Taking the Banner For Women Everywhere". Los Angeles Times. 30 August 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  13. ^ a b About Women's Day USA. www.womensday.org. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Gloria Allred about International Women's Day". YouTube. 1 January 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2019.

External links[edit]