He is one of the most-gifted Polish young actors, highly regarded by critics both in Poland and abroad, as reflected by the prestigious European Shooting Stars Award for young and talented actors he was presented with at the Berlin International Film Festival. He is also the winner of Flisak – the Award of the President of Toruń, given at the TOFIFEST International Film Festival, and the Golden Angel Award, granted at the same festival to the rising talents of the European cinema.
Jakub Gierszał was born in 1988 in Kraków, but emigrated to Hamburg with his parents when he was a few months old. In 1999, he returned to Poland and settled in Toruń, his mother’s home city, where he attended Junior High School No. 11 and Secondary School No. 5. He also graduated from the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Kraków.
His screen debut was in 2009, when he portrayed Kazik, a rebellious rock musician in Wszystko co kocham/All That I Love, directed by Jacek Borcuch. Two years later he earned critical acclaim and popularity after playing the role of Dominik in a blockbuster film entitled Sala samobójców/Suicide Room, directed by Jan Komasa. For his performance, Gierszał received an award at the Ekran Toronto Polish Film Festival, the Golden Duck Award given by the Film magazine, as well as the Audience Award, one of the Zbyszek Cybulski Awards.
His next success was the portrayal of Michał in the next film by Borcuch entitled Nieulotne/Lasting. In 2015, he played interesting supporting roles in Hiszpanka/Influence by Łukasz Barczyk and Córki dancingu/The Lure by Agnieszka Smoczyńska, which became incredibly successful in the United States.
2017 was a very-busy year for Gierszał. He played in four films: Zgoda/The Reconciliation by Maciej Sobieszczański – a story about the fortunes of the inmates of the Zgoda camp in Jaworzno in 1945, Najlepszy/Breaking the Limits by Łukasz Palkowski, Pokot/Spoor by Agnieszka Holland and Między słowami/Beyond Words, by Urszula Antoniak.
Gierszał also starred in numerous foreign pictures, such as a German comedy film entitled Der Liebling des Himmels, directed by Dani Levy, a thriller film The Fold by John Jencks, a German television fantasy film entitled Der Teufel mit den drei goldenen Haaren by Maria von Heland, a series entitled Przekraczając granice/Crossing Lines with Donald Sutherland, and a drama film entitled Mroczny świat/Finsterworld by Frauke Finsterwalder. In a Gary Shore film, hailed by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films of USA, as the best horror picture of the year, Gierszał played the role of Acemi, and in Morris from America, an ourstanding film by Chad Hartigan, he played a school star and a ruthless bully. Harting’s picture received positive reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Special Jury Award and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.
Currently, preparations for a Polish-German co-production entitled Przygody matematyka/Adventures of a Mathematician, are under way. It is intended to be a biography of Stanisław Ulam – a genius Polish mathematician from the pre-War Lwów School of Mathematics, who also significantly contributed to the construction of the American hydrogen bomb after the War. The title role in the film will be played by Jakub Gierszał.
Selected awards and distinctions
The Zbyszek Cybulski Award – the Audience Award for his role in Sala Samobójców/Suicide Room; the Golden Duck Award (given by the Film periodical) for Best Actor for his role in Sala Samobójców/Suicide Room; Polish Film Awards: Eagle – nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Sala Samobójców/Suicide Room; the Award for Best Actor for Sala Samobójców/Suicide Room – the Ekran Toronto Polish Film Festival; the Golden Kangaroo – the Award of the Australian Distributors for the role in Najlepszy/Breaking the Limits at the Gdynia Film Festival; the Golden Kangaroo – the Award of the Australian Distributors for the role in Zgoda/The Reconciliation at the Gdynia Film Festival; the Golden Kangaroo – the Award of the Australian Distributors for the role in Pokot/Spoor at the Gdynia Film Festival; the Jańcio Wodnik Award for Best Actor in Najlepszy/Breaking the Limits at the Prowincjonalia Film Art Festival in Września; Polish Film Awards: Eagle – nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Najlepszy/Breaking the Limits; Flisak – the Award of the President of Toruń, and others.