Bartek Konopka, Warsaw, November 17, 2009, photo: VIPHOTO/East News
Konopka graduated from Jagieloński University in film studies. In 2002, he graduated from the Silesian University in Katowice in the Radio and Television faculty. He went on to study journalism at the Warsaw University. He worked for television and took part in the documentary film course at the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing. In 2003, his film won in the Planete competition for best documentary screenplay, this honor opened many doors for him, later showing his films on several TV networks, including Planete.
His debut feature film Trójka do wzięcia (2006) won numerous awards. The film is a story about a sixteen year-old girl and the new challenges in life she has to face. With her mother terminally ill she now has to take care of her younger siblings. The film portrays the children as they make their way through life desperately trying to escape being taken to an orphanage.
In 2006-2007, Konopka directed episodes 8-13 of a TV series Królowie śródmieścia. Konopka is an author of documentary films, his first documentary being Niebo nad Europą / Sky over Europe (2003). Konopka wrote the screenplay, directed and edited the film. His next films brought forth much acclaim. Ballada o kozie (2004) written and directed by Konopka, tells a story of a small, decrepit village in Lubuskie region, where once a state-owned farm was located. The story is shown from the perspective of a social experiment where goats are given to needy families instead of financial benefits as part of the help they receive from social wealthcare. His film Rabbit à la Berlin (2009) carries a similar theme. In an interview with filmweb.pl the director recalls how he got the inspiration for the film:
In one of the classes at Andrzej Wajda's film school, Marcel Łoziński was telling us about the projects he had conceived but which he never managed to accomplish; Łoziński was talking about those rabbits as if it was a sci-fi movie. As far as he knew, there were two walls and between these walls there was green grass with thousands of white rabbits running around. This story brings to mind a certain image - an image that is very evocative and a bit surreal. And my first thought was, what a brilliant idea! And then, in 1989, when the wall came down everyone was interested in people, all the cameras looked up, while on the ground a very different, unnoticed exodus was taking place. For Łoziński, this too was interesting, and who knows, maybe even more significant...
The film was screened in a number of countries, both at festivals and through mainstream distribution. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in the Short Documentary category in 2010.
Bartek Konopka is also a co-screenwriter and co-director, along with Maciej Górski, Kinga Lewińska, Agnieszka Smoczyńska, Natalia Surmiak, of a play Sceny z powstania (2004), an experimental performance for TV Theatre in Polish TV made under the artistic guidance of Leszek Wosiewicz.
He was the cinematographer for the documentary footage in Trzech kumpli, a documentary by Ewa Stankiewicz i Anna Ferens (2008) about the tragic fates of three friends studying Polish Literature in the 70s at Jagielloński University in Kraków, Staszek Pyjas, Leszek Maleszka and Bronisław Wildstein.
In 2011 the Munk Studio released Konopka's latest project, his first feature film. Fear of Falling / Lęk Wysokości is an intimate portrait of a family whose perfect life is rattled by a grandfather's illness, only to fall back into place thanks to courage and risk. Tomek (30) has made a life for himself in the big city and has a successful career as a TV reporter and a happy family. His ordered life is disrupted when his estranged father arrives and Tomek decides to reach out to his father, although they haven’t seen each other for years. It turns out his father is ill. The relationship spans highs and lows that impact Tomek's life permanently. The film was presented at a number of festivals over 2011 and 2012, including the Denver Film Festival, European Film Festival Segovia, Hong Kong International Film Festival and the Montreal World Film Festival.
- 2003 - Niebo nad Europą" / "Sky over Europe, documentary: screenplay, directed, edited by Konopka;
- 2004 - Ballada o kozie, documentary: screenplay and directed by Konopka;
- 2006 - Trójka do wzięcia, feature film: written and directed by Konopka;
- 2006-2007 - Królowie śródmieścia (episodes 8-13), directed by Konopka;
- 2008 - Trzech kumpli, documentary: documentary cinematography
- 2009 - Rabbit à la Berlin, documentary: written and directed by Bartek Konopka
2011 - Fear of Falling / Lęk Wysokości. Director, co-screenwriter / feature film / 90’ / in postproduction / Screenplay Award at the Hartley-Merrill competition, 2009
2011 - Art of Disappearing. Together with Piotr Rosolowski.
- Ballada o kozie (2004):
2004 - Neubrandenburg-Szczecin (European Film Festival Dokument ART), audience award;
Toruń (Toruń Off Film Festival), audience award;
Wrocław (Multimedia Festiwal Filmów Optymistycznych Happy End), honorable mention;
Września (Ogólnopolski Festiwal Sztuki Filmowej Prowincjonalia), award for best documentary;
2005 - Cieszyn (Festival Era New Horizons), award in the Polish documentary section
- Trójka do wzięcia (2006):
2007 - Brest (European Short Film Festival), Grand Prix;
Gdynia (Polish Feature Film Festival), Special Award SFP in the competition Young Polish Cinema
Koszalin (Koszalin Debut Films Festival "Młodzi i Film"), "Mały Jantar" Award for best feature film in the Short Film Competition;
Kraków (Festival Slamdance on The Road), Main Award;
New York (New York Polish Film Festival), Krzysztof Kieślowski Award Ponad Granicami in the short film section;
Saint Petersburg (Short, Documentary and Animated Film Festival Message to Man), Best Debut Award;
Toruń (Toruń Film Festival TOFFI), Grand Prix for the film and Honorable Mention for Best Screenplay in Best Short Film competition;
Warsaw (Short Film Festival), Main Award and audience award
2008 - Seattle (Seattle Polish Film Festival), best short film (2008)
- Rabbit à la Berlin (2009)
- 2009 - Chicago (Polish Film Festival), Golden Teeth - audience award
- Neubrandenburg-Szczecin (European Film Festival Dokument ART), audience award;
- Jihlava (International Documentary Film Festival), Silver Eye Award for best medium-length film
- Canada (Canadian International Documentary Festival "Hotdocs"), award for best medium-length film;
- Kraków (Kraków Film Festival), Grand Prix Złoty Lajkonik
- Warsaw (Film Festival Planete Doc Review), Main Award in the competition Nagroda Magicznej Godziny
- 2010 - Września (Prowincjonalia Film Festival), award for best documentary;Oscars (American Film Academy Award), nomination for best documentary.
Martin Scorsese Presents
Probably as a break from the hard-partying, money-wasting, morality-shunning corporate traders he put on screen in The Wolf of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio, Scorsese fields his 21 restored Polish classics that have been a source of "inspiration and influence" for the great director.