The Wajda School is a key institute to highlight for many reasons. At this year’s 50th Krakow Film Festival, the school was awarded the Best Polish Producer for Shorts and Documentaries for the second time. Sitting on a quiet, tidy campus in the middle of Warsaw, the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing is a postgraduate institute for film professionals working in both narrative and nonfiction.
The foundation of the curriculum is project development. According to Adam Slesicki, coordinator of the documentary program, the school’s basic credo is “from idea to film.” Participants prepare and produce films with intense feedback from colleagues and steady mentorship by master tutors every step of the way. In a very direct and intimate structure, exchanges happen in an intensive workshop environment where all students evaluate one another’s work. From these dynamic conversations and work-in-progress screenings, films are born. This set-up is obviously not for those without the conviction and authenticity of vision. Students are partnered with a tutorial staff that is made up of some of the most renowned and professionally active Polish and European filmmakers of today, enabling the school to maintain a close working relationship with the film industry. Trained filmmakers come for the one-year courses to hone their craft, but more importantly, to make their first professional films. Students come from disciplines as diverse as journalism, screenwriting, or the visual arts, as well as from film schools. As with any professional school with merit, the Wajda School looks for candidates who have a certain amount of life experience.