Independent filmmaker, born 18 March 1974
Playwright, screenwriter, film and theatre director.
He studied journalism and Polish literature but debuted as a film director with Kill Them All in 1999 and quickly became a leading representative of Polish independent cinema, opening his own distribution company in 2001 and launching a Polish counterpart of the Sundance spin-off with the annual Slamdance Poland for independent and fringe filmmakers. His feature film Louder Than Bombs was presented at the 2002 International Film Festival in Mannheim-Heidelberg and was honored at the Slamdance Film Festival (Park City, UT). His third movie The Perfect Afternoon, shown at the Forum of Berlinale 2006, was also honored at "The Love Screens" Film Festival in Verona (Italy) and the New York Polish Film Festival. In 2004 Wojcieszek was named Best Director at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia for Down The Colorful Hill. The author of his own screenplays, Wojcieszek won the prestigious 2005 "Polityka" Passport award in film, honored by the weekly magazine for
his unconventional work as a manifesto of those born in the 1970s who are trying to find a place for themselves in today's reality.
His next film The Perfect Afternoon (2005), as the author states:
is an outlook on modern Poland from the perspective of both 50 year olds and people in their twenties. It's an outlook that is both critical and full of understanding.
In 2010 he directed Secret, a film awarded at the Gdynia Film Festival for its courage in asking uncomfortable questions. It's a story of a young gay man, a drag queen, who discoveres his grandfather's dark secret from the times of war. The film was appreciated for its intransingence, but also criticised:
Looking at all the scattered elements of the film, one can come to the conclusion that the story is completely non compatible, and that the rebelliousness and taboo-breaking becomes a game for immature kids from the big city. The manifesto of forgotten, hidden issues becomes fake, not authentic and, most of all, seems to have no purpose - wrote Joanna Ostrowska for Filmweb.
Wojcieszek confirmed his need for radical findings with his next film: How to disappear completely is an impression about two girls in Berlin, their intriguing relation and journey through the city. The film, with almost no dialogue and no plot, is hipnotising on the aesthetic and musical level (the original soundtrack was composed by Julia Marcell).
In 2004 Wojcieszek had already begun working in theater, exploring themes of tolerance, personal identity, and being Polish. Made in Poland, about a rebellious young man from the outer-city housing projects, marked Wojcieszek's debut both as playwright and as theatrical director at the Helena Modrzejewska Theatre in Legnica. An absolute hit with audiences and critics alike, the play was regarded as the best in Poland in the 2004/2005 season by theatrical critics and was filmed in 2010. Wojcieszek then directed 3 hits in Warsaw - Whatever Happens, I Love You and Darkroom, his own plays, and Dorota Maslowska's A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians - before returning to Legnica as author and director of Personal Jesus in 2006. His production I Am the Resurrection, was staged in the Dramatyczny Theatre in Wałbrzych in 2007. In 2008 Wojcieszek started his collaboration with Polonia Theatre, where he directed two popular plays, dedicated to a wider audience: Miłość ci wszystko wybaczy (Love will forgive you everything, 2008) and Jeszcze będzie przepięknie (It's going to be beautiful, 2010). In 2010 he also directed Królowe Brytanii (Queens of Britain) in the Jan Kochanowski Theatre in Radom - a dark drama, inspired by Shakespeare and Tarantino.
Wojcieszek often gives his plays and films titles drawn from famous pop hits - Louder than Bombs is a song by The Smiths, How to disappear completely - by Radiohead, Personal Jesus - by Depeche Mode. As Łukasz Drewniak wrote:
He knows that slogans from famous pop songs can bewitch reality. In a messed up life they are the only thing that truly belongs to us (Dziennik. Gazeta Prawna vol. 207, 22.10.2010).
An author consistent in his choices or a stubborn buffoon? Wojcieszek is a controversial persona in the Polish artistic world. But in the last 15 years he succeeded in following his own path, avoiding compromise and creating his own world.
I suppose there is no divide between film and theatre in his head. Wojcieszek is an integral artist. His plays have had their beginning in screenplays, regular dramas were turned into cinema - wrote Łukasz Drewniak (Dziennik. Gazeta Prawna nr 207, 22.10.2010).
Film screenplays and film direction:
- Kill Them All (Zabij ich wszystkich, 1999);
- Louder Than Bombs (Głośniej od bomb, 2001);
- Down The Colorful Hill (W dół kolorowym wzgórzem, 2004);
- The Perfect Afternoon (Doskonałe popołudnie, 2005)
- Made in Poland (2010)
- Sekret (Secret, 2012)
- How to disappear completely (Jak całkowicie zniknąć, 2014)
Theatrical scripts and direction:
- Made in Poland - Helena Modrzejewska Theatre in Legnica (2004);
- Whatever Happens, I Love You - TR Warszawa Theatre in Warsaw (2005);
- Darkroom based on a novel by Rujana Jeger - Polonia Theatre in Warsaw (2006);
- Personal Jesus - Helena Modrzejewska Theatre in Legnica (2006);
- A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians, based on a play by Dorota Masłowska - TR Warszawa Theatre in Warsaw (2006);
- I am the Resurrection - Dramatyczny Theatre in Wałbrzych (2007)
- Sleep Now in the Fire - Polski Theatre in Wrocław (2007)
- Love will forgive you everything - Polonia Theatre in Warsaw (2008)
- Queens of Britain - Jan Kochanowski Theatre in Radom (2010)
- It's going to be beautiful - Polonia Theatre in Warsaw (2010)
Selected film and theatre awards:
1998 - Kinga Preiss, Best Supporting Actress, Polish Film Festival (Gdynia); 1999 - Grand Prix, International Debut Film Festival "Youth and Cinema" (Koszalin)
Louder Than Bombs
2001 - Magdalena Schejbal, Best Debut Actress, Polish Film Festival (Gdynia); 2001 - Krzysztof Czeczot, Best Actor, International Debut Film Festival "Youth and Cinema" (Koszalin), 2002 - Jolanta Dylewska, Kodak Vision Award For Best Cinematography, Slamdance Film Festival (Park City, UT, US), 2002 - Przemysław Wojcieszek, Nomination for Grand Jury Prize, Slamdance Film Festival (Park City, UT, US)
Down the Colorful Hill
2004 - Przemysław Wojcieszek, Best Director, Polish Film Festival (Gdynia), 2004 - Przemyslaw Bluszcz, Best Debut Actor, Polish Film Festival (Gdynia)
The Perfect Afteroon
2005 - Association of Foreign Organizers of Polish Film Festivals Award, Polish Film Festival (Gdynia), 2005 - Przemysław Wojcieszek, the President of Warsaw Award for his "social awareness", 2006 - Przemyslaw Wojcieszek, Youth Jury Award, The Love Screens Film Festival (Verona, Italy), 2006 - Przemyslaw Wojcieszek, the Krzysztof Kieślowski "Beyond Borders" Award, New York Polish Film Festival, (New York, NY, US)
Made in Poland (theatre play)
2005 - Przemyslaw Wojcieszek, Best Performance (first prize) and Best Director (second prize) in National Competition in Staging a Polish Contemporary Play, 2005 - Przemyslaw Wojcieszek, the Konrad Laurel Award For Best Direction, Festival of the Art of Theatre Directing (Katowice, Poland)In 2005 Przemyslaw Wojcieszek received the prestigious "Polityka" Passport Award in film, honored by the Polityka weekly for "his unconventional work as a manifesto of those born in the 1970s who are trying to find a place for themselves in today's reality".
2012 - Gdynia Film Festival, special mention for "courage in raising subjects that have not as yet been mentioned in Polish cinema, while being very important".
Information provided by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York, updated by NMR, May 2016.