Film and theatre director Andrzej Wajda was born 6.03.1926 in Suwałki, Poland. His father - captain of the Polish army - was murdered in the Katyn massacre (1939). AW survived the WWII in the Nazi occupied Poland with his mother and brother.
In 1946, AW started his painting studies at Krakow's Academy of Fine Arts, specialising in the impressionist and post-impressionist stylistics. AW studied film directing at the Łódź Film School (1950-1954), and was greatly inspired by the French avant-garde - Ballet mécanique (1924) by Fernand Léger, a.o. His debut feature A Generation (1955) was followed by Kanal (1956) and Ashes and Diamonds (1958) that concluded the AW trilogy on life in Poland during the WWII. Andrzej Wajda's filmography includes the Oscar-nominated film The Promised Land (1975), Man of Marble (1977), Man of Iron (1981, awarded Palme d'Or at the Cannes IFF). In 2007, AW directed Katyn - a film about mass execution of Polish POW officers and citizens that was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film for theciation (1978-1983), participant of the Solidarity movement (1981-1989), and was elected Senator of the republic of Poland (1989-1991).
In 1994 he founded the Center of Japanese Art and Technology in Krakow, and was awarded the Order of Rising Sun in Japan (1995). All in all, AW has received 32 awards and 17 nominations at different IFF, including the honorary Oscar (2000) for his contribution to cinema, and honorary Golden Bear (2006) at the Berlin Film Festival. AW films have been included in the IFF Arsenals programmes of 1994, 1996 and 2000.