Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner to receive lifetime achievement award at Haifa Film Festival
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Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner to receive lifetime achievement award at Haifa Film Festival

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner will receive an award for lifetime achievement during the 34th International Haifa Film Festival.

A speech in honor of the composer was to be delivered at the festival, which runs through Oct. 1, by the Polish ambassador, Marek Magierowski, but was opposed by Preisner. Magierowski resigned from the speech, and the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv withdrew from financing the concert in honor of Preisner scheduled for Saturday night.

Magierowski on Twitter posted a congratulatory letter addressed to Zbigniew Preisner. “You are undoubtedly one of the most outstanding contemporary film composers. I am convinced that many cinema lovers in Poland, Israel and all over the world remember and appreciate the music you’ve been composing for films by Krzysztof Kieślowski and Agnieszka Holland,” wrote Magierowski.

The Polish ambassador had been asked to deliver the speech by the festival’s organizers, and the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv had agreed to finance a concert in honor of Preisner and invite the festival artists to a gala dinner. However, the composer’s manager was said in a statement that  “we are surprised that the Institute has some connections with the concert,” and “as long as the current party rules in Poland, Mr. Preisner will not meet representatives of the current government.”

“I invariably think that (…) every outstanding Polish artist deserves the support of the Polish State as part of the promotion of our culture abroad,” wrote Magierowski in his letter posted on Twitter. “However, respecting your political choices, I decided to give up my speech, about which I sadly told the festival organizers, because I would not like you to feel any discomfort, listening to the words of the representative of the Polish Republic. To not make this discomfort even worse, the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv also withdrew from the financing of the concert. ”

The concert will take place in the Haifa Auditorium on September 29.