Cinematographer, who has worked on such films as Aria for an Athlete / Aria dla atlety, Escape from the 'Liberty' Cinema / Ucieczka z kina Wolność and Galaxy Quest. He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). He was born on 8th January 1950.
Zieliński has served as cinematographer on a couple dozen fiction films and documentaries and is one of the most well known Polish cinematographers in the world. He graduated from the Faculty of Cinematography at the National Film School (PWSFTViT) in Łódź.
A breakthrough in his career turned out the be Filip Bajon’s film Aria for an Athlete (1979) with Krzysztof Majchrzak’s unforgettable performance. A psychological drama about a wrestler who is critically reflecting on his life brought Zieliński the award for Best Cinematographer at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia and was a gateway to other important productions. That same year, along with Wojciech Marczewski, Zieliński shot the film Housemaster / Klucznik for which he received an award at the Polish Television Production Festival in Olsztyn and in 1981 another one of his movies – ABC Book / Elementarz, directed by Wojciech Wiszniewski, earned numerous awards.
Aria for an Athlete and Housemaster’s success led both Filip Bajon and Wojciech Marczewski to make Zieliński their permanent cinematographer. With Bajon he made Inspection of the Crime Scene 1901 / Wizja lokalna 1901 (1980) and Daimler-Benz Limousine / Limuzyna Daimler-Benz (1981) and with Marczewski he made Shivers / Dreszcze (1981). Due to these films, in the 80s Zieliński became very popular amongst film directors and worked on some of the most interesting productions of the decade. He worked on Medium with Jacek Koprowicz in 1985, Flight of the Spruce Goose / Lot świerkowej gęsi with Lech Majewski in 1986 and in 1987, he worked on the set of the poetic fiction film On the Silver Globe / Na srebrnym globie directed by Andrzej Żuławski.
The 80s also mark the beginning of Zieliński’s international career. In 1984, he was the cinematographer for the film Cal - directed by Pat O’Connor starring Hellen Mirren and John Lynch - which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. This resulted in a long-lasting liaison between the Polish cinematographer and Irish director. He met with O’Connor in 1988 on the set of Stars and Bars / Anglik w Nowym Yorku starring Daniel Day-Lewis and later both artists worked on January Man (1989), Fools of Fortune (1990) with the screenplay by Michael Hirst, and Private Peaceful (2012).
In 1991, Zieliński was working in Poland once again, along with Wojciech Marczewski, on the fantastic production Escape from the 'Liberty' Cinema. However his next films were made in the US. He filmed such movies as Paradise (1991) directed by Mary Agnes Donoghue, Galaxy Quest (1999) by Dean Parisot, Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999) directed by Kevin Williamson and Powder (1995) directed by Victor Salva.
In the 90s, he worked with Agnieszka Holland three times, on the sets of: The Secret Garden (1993), Washington Square (1997) and The Third Miracle (1999). After many years in American cinema and television (known for his cinematography work on the set of the series Monk and the film The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler from 2009), Zieliński came back to Poland and along with Marek Koterski filmed Man, Chicks Are Just Different / Baby są jakieś inne, a low-key road movie, that tells the story of two men expressing their frustrations and fantasies about women.
In 2015, Jerzy Zieliński made his debut as a film director. Król życia (The King of Life) is the story of a grumpy corporate employee who learns to lead a happy life. Starring Robert Więckiewicz in the main role, the movie premiere is planned for 25th September 2015.
Author: BS., July 2015, Translated by: Zuzanna Wiśniewska
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