A film director and screenwriter, graphic artist and cartoonist born in Warsaw in 1972.
A film director and screenwriter, graphic artist and cartoonist; he presently lives in San Francisco where he works at George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic.
A 1997 Honours Graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts Department of Graphic Art. The success of his debut film Mantis (2000) resulted in a collaboration with Platige Image - one of the best animation and special effects studios in Poland, where he worked between 2000-2003. Subsequently, he started working in the USA, becoming the chief animator at the CafeFX studio. Presently living in San Francisco, he works at George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic, where he designs special effects and animation for the high budget Hollywood productions.
Produced during a nine - month period, Jonkajtys' debut film entitled Mantis is a version of a Pygmalion myth transported to the indefinite future. It tells the story of a lonely robot striving to construct a partner for himself in his home workshop. After numerous unsuccessful trials he finds fragments of a robot in a trash heap, puts them together and brings to life. The unfortunate constructor is ungratefully ruined by the new Galatea, which turns out to be a real, "mantis" and he ends up in a garbage container. Jonkajtys creates strong contrasts in his 3D world (warmth of the light in the robot's room and the chill of the desolate street) and introduces disturbing analogies (the electric discharge at the workshop and the raging storm outside).The tension is accentuated by the music and sound effects.
Numerous prizes awarded during the Imagina festival, resulted in the artist's collaboration with the Warsaw Platige Image studio, where he worked as the leading animator on - on such films as The Art of Falling by Tomasz Bagiński. Having moved to the USA, Greg Jonkajtys participated in numerous film productions working as a graphic artist, an animator and a vfx author. These projects include: Sin City (2005), Pan's Labirynth (2006) and Star Trek (2009). At the same time, his most famous movie entitled The Ark (2007) was being produced with support of the producer Marcin Kobyłecki and the Platige Image Studio. The picture won the main prize at the animation and special effects Siggraph Festival and was awarded a Golden Palm nomination at the Cannes Film Festival in the category of Best Short Film. The picture, filled with biblical and historical references tells the story a lethal virus causing the humanity's exodus on giant tankers. The realistic set design based on hand-made models, inspired by the Roman catacombs, where the first Christians were being buried, contrasts with the deformed, surreal figures characterized by animal-like physiognomy. The film's soundtrack is characterised by a strong dichotomy; the subdued music is accompanied by unnaturally distinct sounds of buzz, breathing or steps. The parallel ambiguity in the area of the storyline calls for an individual interpretation of the film.
The subsequent Legacy produced for a CHChallenge XXII "Uplift Universe" competition is a two-minute long post-apocalyptical drama taking part in the year 2030. A strong wave of terrestrial origin observed in the space causes the "aliens" to travel to the "blue planet" to investigate the reasons for radiation and to take a closer look at its inhabitants - searching for the "legacy" left behind after a nuclear blast has left little of humanity.
Despite Jonkajtys' evident development in the area of character animation the film is not as impressive as The Ark. The storyline along with the overly simplified background are a result of participating in a competition and the limited time of preparation of the film.
His latest work is a fifteen-minute film entitled The 3rd Letter (2010). The work demonstrates a significant stage in Jonkajtys' creative development, being the first time he works with a cast of real actors as a director. The plot is once again placed in the indefinite future, and the protagonist finds himself in quite Kafkian circumstances: human life depends on biomechanical transplantation, the earth is troubled by the polluted atmosphere and he has to fight for his life with the impersonal health insurance system. Impressive stage set and special effects accompanying this Orwellian anti-utopia, along with the rich sociological background linked in time to a real-life insurance discussion in the USA have potential to make the movie a really successful one. The picture won some acclaim at the Hollyshorts Festival, indicating a strong possibility that Jonkajtys' future efforts will be met with a considerable degree of interest on both continents.
- 2000 - Mantis (prize: 2001 - Imagina, BAF);
- 2007 - Arka (prizes: 2007 – the Cannes Festival Golden Palm Nomination, Budapest, KFF Kraków, SIGGRAPH, Teheran, Prix Electronica, 2008 - Tokyo);
- 2008 - Legacy (prize: 2008 - CG Society);
- 2010 - The 3rd Letter (prizes: 2010 - Hollyshorts, Nevada City).
Author: Mariusz Frukacz, November 2010. Translated by Agnieszka Grochowicz, February 2011.