Ryszard Czekała was a director of both full feature and animated films, a visual artist, and a screenwriter. He was born on 5th March 1941, in Bydgoszcz. He won over twenty film awards and some of his most popular film productions included „Apel”/„The Roll Call”, or „Zofia”/„Sophia”.
In 1996, he graduated from the Faculty of Painting and Graphic Arts of the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, where he studied at the Film Drawing Studio under the tutelage of Master Kazimierz Urbański, founder of Studio Filmów Animowanych (Animated Films Studio) in Cracow. His film début came in 1968 with „Ptak”/„Bird” produced for Studio Filmów Animowanych (Animated Films Studio). The film was a story about a man saving money to buy a caged bird to set it free. In 1970, he directed two films, namely „Syn”/„The Son” – telling a story about a difficult relationship between the parents and their child, and „Apel”/„The Roll Call”, a film depicting the reality of concentration camps, now considered to be the best film in his career. Both of the films gained publicity and made the director a recognised figure all around the world. Later on, Ryszard Czekała made „Wypadek”/„Accident” (1971), „Sekcja zwłok”/„The Autopsy” (1972), „Dzień”/„Day” (1973), and „Woda”/„Water” (1975).
Then, he made another step in his career by graduating from the Faculty of Directing at the Film School in Łódź, in 1976, which brought fruit in the form of „Zofia”/„Sophia”, his first film with live actors. The film cemented the directing talent of Ryszard Czekała and featured such luminaries of acting as Ryszarda Hanin or Zdzisław Mrożewski, the latter of who was born in Włocławek. „Zofia”/„Sophia” was appreciated both in Poland and abroad, and won numerous film awards. In 1985, after making a number of other feature films, including „Płomienie”/„Flames” (1978), „Przeklęta ziemia/„Damned Earth” (1982), and „Piętno” (1983), Ryszard Czekała returned to Cracow and resumed his career in animated films. His last film, „Nowy dzwon”/„A New Bell”, saw the light of day in 2002.
Ryszard Czekała died on 30th October 2010, in Cracow.
MFF Mannheim-Heidelberg: the Gold Ducat Award for the film „Son”; the Krakow Film Festival: the Warsaw Mermaid Award for the film „Son; an award of the „Film” magazine for the best Polish short film released in cinemas in 1970; the Golden Duck Award for the film „Son”; the Annecy International Animation Film Festival – Grand Prix (shared) for the film „The Roll Call”; the New York Animated Film Festival: the Gold Praxinoscope for the film „The Roll Call in the community-oriented film category; the Figueira da Foz IFF: an award given by the Jury of the Film Discussion Club for the film „Sophia”; the Andrzej Munk Award (given by the Film School in Łódź) for the film „Sophia”; Ogólnopolski Festiwal Autorskich Filmów Animowanych (OFAFA/All-Poland Festival of Animated Films) in Cracow: the Silver Line Award for the film „A New Bell”.