Jarosław Żamojda was born on 17 April 1960 in Bydgoszcz. He is a film Director, a cinematographer and a scriptwriter. In 1985, he graduated from the Direction of Photography Department at the Leon Schiller State Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź. Initially, he worked only as a cinematographer. His feature-length directorial debut was Młode wilki/Fast Lane, for which he received an award at the Gdynia Film Festival. Two years later, he filmed a prequel entitled Młode wilki ½/Fast Lane ½. In 1995, he completed an action-film-directing course, Time for Action, taught by Jan de Bont.
For many years, Żamojda cooperated with Krzysztof Zanussi. Together they created a documentary film entitled Witold Lutosławski w rozmowie z Krzysztofem Zanussim/Witold Lutosławski in Conversation with Krzysztof Zanussi, the documentation for which was prepared by Paweł Pawlikowski – winner of an Academy Award, the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival (1990) and many other accolades, a European co-production entitled Dotknięcie ręki/The Silent Touch (1992) and Cwał/In Full Gallop (1995) – a comedy film based on the Director’s biography.
For his cinematographic debut, co-created with Jan Jakub Kolski, and entitled Najpiękniejsza jaskinia świata/The Most Beautiful Cave in the World, Żamojda received an award of the Hungarian Film Academy and the French Television Award, as well as an award at the International Sports Film Festival in Budapest. This short documentary étude was a poetic and philosophical impression about loneliness, namelessness, in a big-city crowd, and a search for the way to reach another human being.
Pożegnanie jesieni/Farewell to Autumn (1990), directed by Mariusz Treliński, was the first feature-length cinema-released film on which Żamojda worked as the cinematographer. Its creators received the Andrzej Munk Award and the Director of Photography – the Award of the Minister of Culture and Arts and an award of the Hungarian Film Academy.
He also worked as the cinematographer on other films, including Odjazd/Departure (1991) by Magda and Piotr Łazarkiewicz, Obywatel świata/Citizen of the World (1991) by Roland Rowiński, as well as Lazarus and Pierwszy milion/The First Million by Waldemar Dziki. In 1992, he was the Director of Photography in the previously mentioned picture entitled Dotknięcie ręki/The Silent Touch by Zanussi. The cast included many international film stars, such as Max von Sydow, who became immensely popular after playing in films directed by Ingmar Bergman. His co-star was a brilliant English actress, Sarah Miles. The score was created by one of the most-outstanding film music composers, Wojciech Kilar.
1995 saw a breakthrough in Żamojda’s career. He directed Młode wilki/Fast Lane, based on his own screenplay. The film was a box-office success, and became an iconic picture for many young people. Żamojda received the Best Directorial Debut Award at the Gdynia Film Festival and the Grand Prix – the Audience Award at the Polish Film Festival in America (Chicago). In 1998, a prequel entitled Młode wilki ½/Fast Lane ½ opened in theatres and became even more successful than the original. In 1999, Żamojda directed 23 episodes of a soap opera entitled Czułość i kłamstwa/Tenderness and Lies.
2005 marked the beginning of cooperation between Żamojda and the creators of various television series – he worked as a cinematographer on Magda M., Niania/The Nanny and Ojciec Mateusz/Father Mateusz. He also participated in the filming of Teraz albo nigdy!/Now or Never!, Naznaczony/Marked and W rytmie serca/In the Rhythm of the Heart.
In 2000, he returned as the Director in 6 dni Strusia/6 Days of the Ostrich – a sci-fi picture about a young lawyer who is suddenly given supernatural powers. Four years later, he directed a Polish-American crime film entitled Rh+, starring Anna Przybylska and Katarzyna Bujakiewicz. Most recently, he directed a film and a television series entitled Skorumpowani/The Corrupted (2008). It is a story about Polish special forces, gangs, and former agents of the Soviet KGB, against the background of illegal drugs and politics. Leading roles were played by Olivier Gruner (an international karate film actor), Max Ryan, Jan Englert, Jerzy Trela and a Toruń native, Olga Bołądź.
Selected awards and distinctions
The Best Cinematography Award for Najpiękniejsza jaskinia świata/The Most Beautiful Cave in the World – the International Sports Film Festival in Budapest; the Andrzej Munk Award, given by the Leon Schiller State Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź; an award of the Hungarian Film Academy; the Award of the Minister of Culture and Arts; the Golden Teeth Award – the Polish Film Festival in America (Chicago); the Best Directorial Debut Award – the Gdynia Film Festival, etc.