Rafal Zielinski has directed over 20 feature films ranging from award-winning independent films (where his heart truly lies) to more mainstream Hollywood projects and television.
His early years were spent in Eastern Europe. While in grade school he was lucky to travel several times around the world and gain a global perspective, an 8mm camera always at his eye. He was schooled in North America, the Middle East and the Orient.
During high school, he was fortunate to attend the prestigious Stowe School in England where he received the Duke of Edinburgh Award enabling him to make his first documentary film about the temples in southern India.
He went on to graduate from M.I.T. with a Bachelor of Science in Art and Design focusing on the new field of art and technology and studied cinéma vérité documentary filmmaking with veteran Richard Leacock.
As an independent filmmaker Rafal has always generated his own projects either by creating an original story that he was passionate about then collaborating with several screenwriters or adapting works from the theater in collaboration with the respective playwright. On most of the independent films that he directed he also served as his own producer often producing through his own company.
His first feature “HEY BABE” opened the Taormina Film Festival and showed at Toronto, Montreal and AFI Film Festival. “FUN” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival receiving two Special Jury Awards for Acting and went on to show at the Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver as well as other international film festivals including Sydney, Edinburgh, Munich, Vienna, London, Cambridge, Stockholm, Sao Paulo, Hawaii, Hamburg, Rimini, Mill Valley, San Jose, Warsaw, Oslo and Wales. The Film opened theatrically at the Film Forum in New York and received two nominations for Best Newcomer Performance and Best First Screenplay for IFP Spirit Awards.
“GINGER ALE AFTERNOON” also premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and was picked up by Skouras Pictures for domestic theatrical release in the United States. “DOWNTOWN: a street tale”, filmed in New York City, stars Genevieve Bujold, Joey Dedio. And John Savage, recently received it’s world premiere at the AFI Film Festival.
His latest two indie films are “BOHEMIA”, a love story set in Prague starring Troy Garity (Fonda) (“Bandits”, “Soldier’s Tale”, “Barbershop”) and upcoming Czech star Klara Issova and “AGE OF KALI”, written by Los Angeles playwright John Steppling, as dark psychological study of decadence and illumination set in Los Angeles.
In the mainstream arena he has directed numerous popular genre projects ranging from the highly successful Roger Corman financed “Screwballs” (which generated three sequels which Rafal directed as well), to Fox Searchlight’s Frank Peretti written “Hangman’s Curse” in which he gave Leighton Meester (“Gossip Girl”) her first starring role, as well as numerous TV shows such as “Highlander” and “Poltergeist”.
Rafal’s dream has been to make films that can reach a wide audience, be entertaining, deep and consciousness expanding – he is convinced that this project has the potential to achieve this goal.
Buddhist masters believe that in forgiving we have to just as much forgive ourselves as others – in the act of forgiveness, we carry pain, the past and in the act – it is a form of unburdening ourselves from the pain, from the past – and we are able to be light and free and to move on…
I feel that the theme of this film relates globally and timelessly more today than ever as the world seems to be in an increasingly precarious state…
Rafal Zielinski, filmmaker
GLOBE AND MAIL “ZEN OF FILMMAKING”