The post-war history of the film-bound Wrocław is linked mainly to the established in 1954 Feature Film Studio (Wytwórnia Filmów Fabularnych), where every fourth Polish film was created after World War II (all in all, nearly 500 titles). Situated in the Pavilion of Four Domes, next to the Centennial Hall, FFS was the third – beside Łódź and Warsaw – state-owned film studio in Poland. Among the film directors working in this studio in the 50’s and 60’s of the past century, we should mention Wojciech Jerzy Has, Stanisław Lenartowicz, Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polański, Sylwester Chęciński and Kazimierz Kutz. Over the years, they were joined by other directors important for Polish cinematography: Agnieszka Holland, Andrzej Żuławski, Wojciech Marczewski, Waldemar Krzystek, Wiesław Saniewski and Jan Jakub Kolski.
From the very first years of its activity, the Studio proved to be an ideal place for bold and ambitious young filmmakers – FFS is responsible for non-conventional, innovative debuts of the leading representatives of the Polish Film School. Distance from Warsaw, the centre of state authority and from the censorship and PRL propaganda, fostered the making of bold projects and creative work. In Wrocław Andrzej Wajda debuted with A Generation (1955), Stanisław Lenartowicz shot Winter Twilight (1956) and Wojciech Jerzy Has his debut The Noose (1958). It is here where Krzyż walecznych (1959) was created and Nikt nie woła (1959) by Kazimierz Kutz, as well as the first film in the history of Polish cinema nominated for an Oscar – feature debut of Roman Polański, Knife in the Water (1961).
In Wrocław Ashes and Diamonds (1958) by Andrzeja Wajdy came to light, and The Saragossa Manuscript (1964) by Wojciech J. Has, Salto (1964) by Tadeusz Konwicki alike. Here Stanisław Lenartowicz, who was also tied to Wrocław privately, made all his films (among others Winter Twilight and Giuseppe in Warsawof 1963), as well as Sylwester Chęciński, the creator of cult films Sami swoi (1966), Wielki Szu (1982) and Rozmowy kontrolowane (1991).
The Studio, which has been the place where crucial pieces of Polish Film Schoolwere created, was also the craddle of the Cinema of Moral Anxiety. The Sunday Children (1976) and Lonely Woman (1981) by Agnieszka Holland, and Dreszcze (1980) by Wojciech Marczewski were created atWystawowa Street. So where The Devil (1972) and The Silver Globe (1976-87) by Andrzej Żuławski, and Szpital Przemienienia (1978) by Edward Żebrowski. Greater than anywhere else a liberty of creation, in the 70’sWrocław, known for its openness, became a place favourable for creating innovative projects for the today acknowledged filmmakers.
In the 80’s and 90’s, the next generation of Polish cinematography artists made their movies in WFF. Wiesław Saniewski shot here, i.e., his Sezon na bażanty (1984), Waldemar Krzystek made his debut picture W zawieszeniu (1986), and the Wrocław-born Jan Jakub Kolski made his succeeding films, starting from his debut The Burial of a Potato (1990) to The History of Cinema in Popielawy (1997).
As a result of political changes and under-financing, after 1989, WFF lost its position as an important Polish film making centre, in spite of the fact that it participated in the creation of such significant films as the Dutch Karakter by Mike van Diema (1997), the Oscar winner in best foreign film category. In 2007, theWrocławatelier was used by Peter Greenaway, while shooting pictures for Nightwatching. Tens of specialists educated here, either have set up their own film businesses, or found employment in this industry, in companies opened in and outside the region. Thanks to them, “the film-boundWrocław” has tens of companies and tens of specialists, who work on the currently produced films and TV shows.
On November 9th, 2011, the Feature Film Studio in Wrocław officially finished its former activity and was transformed by Bogdan Zdrojewski, The Minister of Culture and National Heritage, into The Centre of Audiovisual Technologies, a state-owned institution of culture, which, using the attainments of the Studio, will represent an important place on the map of filmmaking in Poland.
Choice of films from Wytwórnia Filmów Fabularnych
(Feature Film Studio) in Wrocław
Historia kina w Popielawach, by Jan Jakub Kolski, 1997
Karakter, by Mike van Diem, 1997
Obcy musi fruwać, by Wiesław Saniewski, 1993
Jańcio Wodnik, by Jan Jakub Kolski, 1993
Ucieczka z kina Wolność, by Wojciech Marczewski, 1990
Pogrzeb kartofla, by Jan Jakub Kolski, 1990
Rozmowy kontrolowane, by Sylwester Chęciński, 1989/1990
Ostatni prom, by Waldemar Krzystek, 1989
Pociąg do Hollywood, by Radosław Piwowarski, 1987
W zawieszeniu, by Waldemar Krzystek, 1986
Sezon na bażanty, by Wiesław Saniewski, 1985
Yesterday, by Radosław Piwowarski, 1984
Wielki Szu, by Sylwester Chęciński, 1982
Wielki bieg, by Jerzy Domaradzki, 1981
Kobieta samotna, by Agnieszka Holland, 1981
Z biegiem lat, z biegiem dni…, by Andrzej Wajda, 1980
Dreszcze, by Wojciech Marczewski, 1980
Gdziekolwiek jesteś panie prezydencie…, by Andrzej Trzos-Rastawiecki, 1978
Szpital przemienienia, by Edward Żebrowski, 1978
Zdjęcia próbne, by Agnieszka Holland, Jerzy Domaradzki, Paweł Kędzierski, 1976/1977
Wodzirej, by Feliks Falk, 1976/1977
Przepraszam, czy tu biją?, by Marek Piwowski, 1976
The silver globe // Na srebrnym globie, by Andrzej Żuławski, 1976
Niedzielne dzieci, by Agnieszka Holland, 1976
Partita na instrument drewniany, by Janusz Zaorski, 1975
Blizna, by Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1975
Personel, by Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1975
Sędziowie. Tragedya, by Konrad Swinarski, 1974
Anatomia miłości, by Roman Załuski, 1972
The Devil // Diabeł, by Andrzej Żuławski, 1971/72
Zaraza, by Roman Załuski, 1971
Lokis, by Janusz Majewski, 1970
Czerwone i złote, by Stanisław Lenartowicz, 1968
Lalka, by Wojciech Jerzy Has, 1967/68
Długa noc, by Janusz Nasfeter, 1967
Szyfry, by Wojciech Jerzy Has, 1966
Sami swoi, by Sylwester Chęciński, 1966
Salto, by Tadeusz Konwicki, 1964
The Saragossa Manuscript // Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie, by Wojciech Jerzy Has, 1964
Giuseppe w Warszawie // Giuseppe in Warsaw, by Stanisław Lenartowicz, 1963
Jak być kochaną, by Wojciech Jerzy Has, 1962
Knife in the Water // Nóż w wodzie, by Roman Polański, 1961
Nikt nie woła, by Kazimierz Kutz, 1959
Krzyż walecznych, by Kazimierz Kutz, 1959
Ashes and Diamonds // Popiół i diament, by Andrzej Wajda, 1958
Pigułki dla Aurelii, by Stanisław Lenartowicz, 1958
The Noose // Pętla, by Wojciech Jerzy Has, 1958
Winter Twillight // Zimowy zmierzch, by Stanisław Lenartowicz, 1956
A Generation // Pokolenie, by Andrzej Wajda, 1955