Tomasz Wasilewski

Tomasz Wasilewski is one of the most-talented Polish film Directors of the young generation. He was born in 1980, in Toruń, but grew up in Inowrocław. He is a graduate of the Film School in Łódź and the Academy of Film & Television in Warsaw. He is a film Director, screenwriter, and producer. He gained recognition for his full-length début “In the Bedroom.” In 2013, his next full-feature film “Floating Skyscrapers” was released in cinemas, which won awards at many film festivals, for example in Karlovy Vary IFF.

Film critics see him as “the hope for Polish cinema,” which Tomasz Wasilewski confirmed with his triumph at Berlinale.  In 2016, he won one of the most-prestigious film awards in the world – the Silver Bear Award for the Best Script in “United States of Love.” He was also awarded the Thorunium Medal given by the President of Toruń.

He lived in Inowrocław until he was 17, where he studied at the Jan Kasprowicz Secondary School.  During that time, he already started dreaming about becoming an actor, which manifested itself in many appearances on local independent theatre stages. In many of his interviews, he mentioned his Polish teacher Elżbieta Piniewska, saying that he owed her a lot, as she was the one to have involved him in an avant-garde theatre group called “Sto”.

“Nawiść”, his first film made during studies at the Academy of Film & Television in Warsaw brought him an award for directing at the “FeFe Felliniada” Film Festival in Warsaw. He also received awards for the short documentary “Show jednego człowieka/One Man Show” produced independently, in 2008.  The film portrays his mother, Małgi Kubiak, struggling with a disease. The film was awarded at the “OFF jak gorąco” Film Festival in Łódź and at the “RePeFeNe” FF in Rybnik.

In 2012, Tomasz Wasilewski made his big screen début with “In the Bedroom,” featuring Katarzyna Herman as the leading character, who anaesthetises men she meets on dating websites.  This is her unique method of getting into their apartments to sleep free.  The début film by Tomasz Wasilewski was screened at dozens of film festivals all around the world, including Mannheim-Heidelberg, Thessaloniki, Busan, Karlovy Vary, Brisbane, and Zurich.  For her performance in the film, Katarzyna Herman was awarded in Toronto, Koszalin, and Września.

In 2013, Tomasz Wasilewski celebrated another success with “Floating Skyscrapers.” The film was awarded at the Karlovy Vary IFF, and won the Audience Award at the New Horizons International Film Festival in Wrocław, the Special Award of the Young Jury, and the Individual Jury Award for a young directing talent at the Gdynia Film Festival.  The film was also recognised as the best European drama during the Tribeca IFF in New York. The film is set in contemporary Poland and tells the story of a love affair between two boys.

“United States of Love,” the third full-length film by Tomasz Wasilewski, won him international recognition.  The film is about four women who would like to change their lives significantly, faced with the new political status quo in the country.  The film was nominated, inter alia, for the European Film Awards, and received the Silver Bear Award for the script at Berlinale. Tomasz Wasilewski was also awarded for directing the film, at the Valletta Film Festival and Gdynia Film Festival.  The latter of the festivals also recognised the excellent performances by Dorota Kolak (as a supporting female character) and Łukasz Simlat (as a supporting male character). In addition, the film also received awards for editing and costumes.

Currently, Tomasz Wasilewski is working on his next full-length projects, and the same time writing scripts for new episodes of the TV series “Barwy szczęścia” (his cooperation with the producers of the series started in 2007).

Selected filmography

2001 – „Nawiść”
2008 – „Show jednego człowieka”/„One Man Show”
2012 – „W sypialni”/„In the Bedroom”
2013 – „Płynące wieżowce”/„Floating Skyscrapers”
2016 – „Zjednoczone stany miłości”/„United States of Love”

Selected awards

Valletta Film Festival – an award for the Best Film Director; “Polityka” Passports; the “Vistula” Polish Film Festival in Moscow – Special Mention; Gdynia Film Festival – an award for directing; European Film Awards – nomination for the best script; Brasilia IFF – Grand Prix; Berlin IFF – The Silver Bear Award for the script; Sopot Film Festival – Audience Award; Tranylvania IFF – an award for best directing; The “BAP CINE” Festival of Polish Films in Buenos Aires – Grand Prix; the New Horizons International Film Festival in Wrocław – Audience Award; Karlovy Vary IFF – the Grand Prix in the “East of the West” competition; the Gdynia Film Festival – an award in the Young Directing Talent category; FeFe Felliniada FF in Warsaw – an award for directing; Mannheim – Heidelberg IFF; and others.