Beata Poźniak in 2013
30 April 1960
|Education||Master's Degree (High Honors)|
|Alma mater||Łódź Film School|
|Occupation||Actress, director, producer, writer, artist, activist|
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.
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.
Film and television work
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.
Poźniak narrated the bestseller, The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great, a 19-hour audiobook 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. 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 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 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. 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
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." Her Theater Discordia evolved, with the participation of Peter Sellars, into a celebrated venue for experimental theater works.
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."
Charity and causes
Poźniak's art is often auctioned off for charity and support different causes including Children's Hospital 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
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 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. She made the headlines of the Los Angeles Times, who hailed her as "Taking the Banner For Women Everywhere". Furthermore, Poźniak established an educational organization Women's Day USA, 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. Furthermore, Poźniak established an educational organization Women's Day USA,.
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
- 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)
|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"|
|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||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|
|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|
|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|
- "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.
- "The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great". www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
- Penguin Random House Audio (3 January 2012). "IN THE STUDIO: Beata Pozniak reads Eve Stachniak's THE WINTER PALACE". YouTube. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- "Empress of the Night: A Novel of Catherine the Great". AudioFile (magazine). Retrieved 13 October 2019.
- Powers, Katherine A. (18 November 2015). "Best audiobooks of 2015". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- "Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead". AudioFile magazine. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- 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.
- "Beata Pozniak". Beata.com. Retrieved 13 January 2019.[dead link]
- "Featured Artist: Rennaisance Woman". Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
- "Children hospital". 17 October 2019. Retrieved 17 October 2019.[dead link]
- "Where We Have Been and What We Can Become - Celebrating International Women's Day". HuffPost. 7 March 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- http://www.beata.com/newpage/givingback/womensday.html[dead link]
- "Taking the Banner For Women Everywhere". Los Angeles Times. 30 August 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
- About Women's Day USA. www.womensday.org. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- "Gloria Allred about International Women's Day". YouTube. 1 January 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
- Beata Pozniak on IMDb
- Beata Poźniak. beata.com.
- About Women's Day USA. womensday.org.
- Noriyuki, Duane (8 March 1996). "Taking the Banner for Women Everywhere". Los Angeles Times.
- Beata Poźniak. Huffington Post.
- McCabe, Maureen (29 April 2014). Beata Poźniak: Empress of the AudioBook. The Hollywood Times.
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