I was born and raised in Cracow. I carry it in my heart. Backyard was my first training ground, we lived on Kozłówek. Insiders know what that means.
Later, I remember times of elementary sports school nr 61 and first attempts at football in KS Cracovia, on the position of a defender, even though my temperament was way more offense – focused. Next athletics came into my life and I met an excellent trainer and tutor, Edward Miś, under whose tutelage I achieved my first real medal for sports.
My achievements in sports imbued me with faith in my own possibilities. During my time in XVth high school I further developed my passion playing in KS “Korona”. We were led by an unforgettable trainer and tutor, Ryszard Litwin. Yet again we achieved successes – as a junior team we played matches with seniors on equal footing. In high school I was taught by unforgettable teachers: prof. Doniec teaching Polish, prof. Herodt teaching French and famous mr. Hil – the principal and maths teacher, who could make the bravest man’s legs yield in fear…
After that, came the time of PWST in Cracow. There I met many more outstanding pedagogues: Krzysztof Globisz, Jan Peszka, Krystian Lupa and many more. Cracow’s cultural and social life led through “Jaszczury”, “Piwnica pod Baranami”, “Teatr Stary”, “Maska”, “Krzysztofory” – first vodka, first hangover…
And first love.
Year 1993… I finished PWST gaining my diploma with a show directed by Krystian Lupa titled “Maciej Korbowa i Bellatrix”. From Łódź, from Festival of Diploma Performances of Drama Schools we came back happy, almost all prizes were awarded to our class.
This begun my adult adventure.
Year was still 1993 and it brought first role in a feature film, and a main role at that. Hungarian film “Death in shallow water” directed by Imere Gongossa. I was overcome by emotion – it was my first professional experience.
In my private life most important events of year 1993 were the birth of my son, Paweł Jr., getting the first car (Fiat Uno) and my first rented flat.
From there, life only gained steam – role in Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” and unexpected relocation to Warsaw. First theatrical roles in Teatr Powszechny alongside Krystyna Janda and in Teatr Prezentacje. Artistically, Warsaw was fascinating – excellent theatres: Powszechny, Dramatyczny, Współczesny, Ateneum – on the floors of those theatres one could watch Zapasiewicz, Fronczewski, aforementioned Janda, Pszoniak, Hanuszkiewicz, Budzisz-Krzyżanowska, Kolberg and many, many more excellent artists.
In the world of the film, I met the greats of our cinema – Żuławski, Wajda, Kawalerowicz, Kutz, Majewski, Morgenstern to name a few. People to imitate and learn from were plentiful.
My first Polish feature film was “Młode Wilki” directed by Jarosław Żamojda. How was it? Well, colourful. Next one was “Ciemna strona Wensu” by Radosław Piwowarski.
After that came “Młode Wilki ½” and – at the same time – meeting with the amazing Andrzej Żuławski during the filming of “Szamanka”. It was an intensive meeting. This adventure turned out very valuable.
Unforgettable Jerzy Gruza and the “Tigers of Europe” and Janusz Rewiński – masters of improvisation with Jerzy Gruza. I never knew how the scene will end but most of all – who will deliver the point! After that, Juliusz Machulski, Janusz Majewski and other meetings with amazing actors. Grażyna Szapołowska, Anna Dymna, Marek Kondrat, Wiktor Zborowski, Bogusław Linda, Piotr Machalica – to name just a few.
And „Quo Vadis” – film that became a turning point in my biography and filmography.
Mr. Jerzy Kawalerowicz once said that he lived 17 lives and produced 17 films. Those words made me realize something important and, in a way, became my personal motto.
On the way was – of course – “Chłopaki nie płaczą” by Olaf Lubaszenko, who said to me “If You take this role, you will gain my lifelong respect”. Till this day I’m not sure how this turned out, but never again did I play in another of his films. In this time, I also played in “Zróbmy sobie wnuka” by Piotr Wereśniak. Great cast: Andrzej Grabowski, Joasia Żółkowska, Małgosia Kożuchowska, Kasia Bujakiewicz and Bartek Topa. We still await a sequel.
And, well – film production in Poland in years 2001 – 2004 was brought to a standstill. One had to wait until year 2004 for the creation of Comitee of Polish Cinematography (currently Polish Film Institute), no propositions and a decision – time to test my luck outside the country. Direction – France.
I packed my bags, took my car and left for Paris. First casting and first role in “Les Femmes d’abord” by P. Kassovitaz. Marseille, Provence, excellent actors: C. Celarie, Bernard le Coq. Next film was “Nous nous sommes tant hais” directed by Frank Apprederis with Sarha Biasini and Bernard Pierre Donadieu. Film was produced to commemorate a round anniversary of creation of the European Union.
Are we in year 2007 already?
In France we worked on more films – “Le Destin de Rome” with Fabrice Hourlier and Romi Hourlier who became my close friends, and another joint project: “La glace et le feu”.
After my return to Poland, I took part in “Twierdza szyfrów” by Adek Drabiński. One day I received a call from Paweł Lolo, a Russian producer which started my great adventure with Russian cinema – or, more precisely, Russian-speaking, since I participated in creation of Russian, Belarussian and Ukrainian films. First project was “Czerwiec 1941” with Siergiej Bezrukowy, where I played the antagonist, repulsive captain of German Wehrmacht, Regener. Film was directed by Aleksander Laje, with whom I have collaborated many times since (“Black Dog”, “Kaspij 24”, “Oddział SRRR”). The series was a success and my career continued on a new route.
I ended up working many times with producers of “Czerwiec 1941” (on “Snajper”, “Ułańska ballada”, “Black Dog”, “Pokuszenie”) and we ended up as close friends.
Next films and series were “Wiking”, “Żony oficerów”, “Hotel Ostatniej Nadzei”, “Salsa”, “Dwoje przeciwko śmierci”. Sometimes filming took me to faraway countries like Thailand („Klucz Salamandry” with R. Hauer and M. Medson and the best of Russian actors including MMA champion Fiedia Emealianka) or Vietnam (“Wyjątkowy mężczyzna”). Those films were true adventures, both artistic-cinematic and social. It was a great time to have a closer look at local cultures.
Meanwhile I had the opportunity to work with an excellent coach, John Strasberg and gain new professional experience.
Bohemian cinema also became a part of my cinematography: “Wszystko albo nic” and “Daria”. Those productions became a source of great professional joy and also new challenges coming from the roles of co-producer and the director of dubbing (as was the case with “Wszystko albo nic”). Undoubtedly, Prague after Warsaw, Paris, Moscow, Petersburg, Minsk and Kiev became another important city in my professional map.
Among the more recent projects, series “Legenda Ferrari” became important to me. It is a 12-episode long series directed by Kosti Maksimow, produced by excellent Olga Pogodina. Behind my belt is also a production with Ed Westick and John Hannah – “Za linią wroga”.
A list of short films, such as “Makbet”, “Wieża Babel”, “Dzień lata” was an opportunity to meet with young creators.
And, of course, theatre…
Year 20215 – intensive artistic meeting after years with Krystian Lupa reconstructing our diploma performance from year 1993 – with the same cast from my studies!
“Być jak Elizabeth Taylor” is the newest theatrical performance.
I had the opportunity to work in Wrocław in Teatr Współczesny (“Cud na Greeponcie”), Teatr Prezentacje and Teatr Powszechny.
I was also involved in things that are very close to my heart – protecting our planet. In this vein films were produced – „Pm 2.5” and „Piękna robota”.
After years of work, I finally came to stand in front of the camera. This experience was a great personal development for me as a creator.
The movie „Zrodzeni do szabli” was produced in 2018 and is a great cesura in my professional work. Thanks to History Channel it was emitted in 34 countries and met with great reception.
I am continuously working in this direction, so in December of 2020 there I directed another movie – „Pani Basia” – premiere soon.
I started to test my skills as a producer and it turned out to be another important area for me. New challenge „Pani Basia” came into existence in my studio – Cienrgyfilms. Currently, new films are being produced: “Renegaci”, “Sen Nocy Sylwestrowej” and “Kawa z Kardamonem”
Dear friends, until new meetings!
I wish you all the best. Remember – we all have both the right and a duty to develop our potential on all levels: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, familial and professional. I hope for you to become the best versions of yourselves, to reach full satisfaction, to feel joy and gratitude for the gift, which is life itself.