03. 02. 2014.
The funeral of prof. Jerzy Wozniak will take place this Friday, February 7, starting with a mass at St. Teresa Church at noon. Prof. Jerzy Wozniak was the rector of the Lodz Film School (2002-2008).
Tha mass at St. Teresa Church (1/3, Kopcinskiego St.) will be followed by moving the urn with the ashes to the Doly Cemetery in Smutna St., where the urn will be buried in the Avenue of Honour.
Prof. Jerzy Woźniak, a TV cameraman, director and TV producer, theatre director, academic teacher, Lodz Film School rector 2002-08, died on the morning of January 28, 2014. Jerzy Woźniak was born on 29 May, 1938 in Lodz. He graduated from the Cinematography Dept of the Lodz Film School in 1960. In the years 1961-62 he worked as a cameraman at the Small Film Forms Studio "Se-Ma -For". In the years 1962-1998 worked for the Polish Television, initially as a TV cameraman, director and producer at the Lodz TV Centre, then in the years 1979-89 the head of the Centre’s TV Production Dept., to finally become the Head of the TV Centre itself in the years 1994-98.
Since 1962 he has been a Lodz Film School lecturer, starting as prof. Jerzy Bossak’s assistant, from 1964 an independent lecturer of the subject "television production", and since1991 holding the degree of a professor. In the years 1987-93 and 1999-2002 the Dean of the Cinematography Dept, in the years 1993-94 vice rector in charge of international relations, in the years 2002-08 the rector of the Lodz Film School. The initiator of the International Film and TV Schools’ Festival “Mediaschool” organized by the Lodz Film School in the years 1993-2011. Had contacts with Film Schools in Yugoslavia and France.
As a theatre director worked with the Lodz Opera House.
Wrote professional essays on television for "Folia Filmologica" and a monthly periodical "TvSat Magazine".
On 29 May, 2013, on the occasion of prof. Wozniak’s 75th birthday, the school organized a jubilee for him, which had been kept secret until the last moment. Some students from the acting department sang hits from the 70ties and 80ties, the guests told anecdotes, some photos and fragments of films and programs appeared on the screen, and the whole event was recorded by cameras. The guests handed the presents, sang „Long live” and the huge chocolate birthday cake was shared while paper snow was falling on the heads of the participants.
- Long live must mean more than a hundred, my mum already being 105! – remarked Jerzy Wozniak. – I have divided my life into 18 year long stages. When I was eighteen I smoked my first cigarette. At the end of the second eighteen year long stage I started being successful in television, at the end of the third stage I became the head of television in Lodz, and Warsaw. Eighteen years later I quit smoking...
Among the jubilee guests there were: Feridun Erol, Wojciech Król, Elżbieta Starostecka, Barbara Dziekan, Włodzimierz Korcz, Zbigniew Wodecki, Ryszard Czubaczyński, Stefan Friedmann and the Lodz Film School professors: Stefan Czyżewski, Elżbieta Protakiewicz, Ryszard Lenczewski, Edward Zajićek, Jacek Bławut, Wanda Mirowska, Sławomir Kryński, Zygmunt Machwitz, Michał Staszczak, Józef Robakowski.
The present Lodz Film School rector prof. Mariusz Grzegorzek said on the Łódź Television: - Jerzy, as the rector, gave us the sense of security, we could indulge ourselves in doing what interested us most, for which we are really grateful to him today.
As professor’s wife said, on 23rd January in Kalisz Jerzy Woźniak slipped on unprotected icy pavement, fell over and hit his head against the concrete. Due to the injuries occurred he died in hospital on the morning of January, 28th.
That’s how his friends and colleagues recall prof. Jerzy Woźniak:
Prof. Mariusz Grzegorzek, Lodz Film School rector:
- The most important seems to be the fact that Jerzy Woźniak was a kind and friendly person. Although he was not my tutor I remember, still being a student myself, that one could count on his help no matter if in need of some camera suggestion or medical connections. He was a good-hearted, fatherly figure, eager to help. He was a part of the school, he belonged to this place, to his home town. He was always around, not just occasionally.
Prof. Elżbieta Protakiewicz, head of Lodz Film School Cinematography Dept.:
- He was always warm-hearted and smiley, with a great sense of humour, a good story-teller, demanding but devoted to his students, curious of the world and people, an artist devoted to television, film and theatre, sometimes angry with surrounding reality but always friendly... a sailor and hunter. Our professor. It is hard to believe he has passed away, it was so sudden, so unexpected. Talking about you in the past tense is inappropriate. See you, Jerzy.
Prof. Andrzej Bednarek, Lodz Film School vice rector in charge of international relations, 1996-2012:
- Jerzy Wozniak was one of few people who had a “good ear for music”. At the start of his career he produced TV broadcasts from Song Contests in Sopot, he knew how to do it well having a sense of rhythm and a feel for a music structure. He introduced concerts to the Film School organized in the school’s television studio. When Jerzy Wozniak was the rector of the school the construction of the building Z, whose originator was prof Henryk Kluba, was finished. Woźniak would say in a joking kind of way: It’s my job to go around and raise money for this building, which is now the heart of school’s life. From a start, he was a „television animal”, he had a great feel for television, he liked television and television liked him. In a way, he introduced television to the school and was a real specialist on television in the school. It was him who had an idea to start Mediaschool Festival of Film and TV Schools in 1993. In those days it was the first international student film festival in Poland. Not many people then believed it would be successful, I was one of them. There was no former experience to base the organization of the festival on, neither there were financial sources. Apart from faith and obvious enthusiasm the festival, in fact, came to life out of nothing. The Mediaschool festival was held each year for 18 consecutive years. In those years it was great to have visitors at the school, professors and students, from all over the world.
Prof. Zofia Uzelac, Dean of Acting Dept.:
- For teachers and students of our department working with prof Wozniak was great because he was very fond of actors and our department was dear to him. He would help us record the diploma plays, or suggest mutual classes for students of acting and cinematography. He was a good man.
Prof. Ryszard Lenczewski, vice-dean Cinematography Dept:
- Remembering Jerzy Woźniak I have four situations on my mind. The first one – when I was a second or third year student we were taken by him to a real, professional television studio. He was the king of the place, the host who felt there at home and made the atmosphere of the class fantastic, and full of energy, which I’ve remembered until now. The second one – in the year of a great flood, in winter time, we were making together a music video for the song "Gwiazda dnia" sung by the band Dwa plus Jeden on a frozen Vistula river pool near Płock. Jerzy gave me total freedom to shoot. To be able to shoot at all on the ice I tied the camera to two hockey sticks. I remember his laughter - he was happy like a child to see me skate and shoot. Afterwards we had a reception together in Nowa Gdynia, the first and last time, like two pals, two filmmakers. The third one – at the turn of the 20th and 21st century – , at a car park in Lodz somebody tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and saw Jerzy, who asked me how I was and whether I would be willing to run a workshop at the Film School. So, I ran a workshop on the subject “How to express emotions through the camera”, which Jerzy liked, then I ran another workshop, and eventually I became a lecturer of cinematography at the Lodz Film School. And the last one: Jerzy’s 75th birthday jubilee. I had been wondering what sort of present I should give him and I turned out with a newspaper "Głos Robotniczy" from the times of making the video "Gwiazda dnia" and a bottle of Russian champagne from those days. This is my last fine memory of him which I will cherish.
Andrzej Sołtysik, a film producer:
- I cannot believe he is dead. Not many people remember that Jerzy taught film and television production management in the years 1968-69. We worked together a lot in television and at the school. He was very supportive and dear to me.
Mariusz Wilczyński, animation artist, Lodz Film School lecturer:
- I liked Jerzy Wozniak very much. A few years ago I was a jury member at the Koszalin Festival Młodzi & Film and I have this memory from the banquet after the festival closing, which looked a bit like a scene from the film “La Grande buffet”, when well past midnight I noticed a Turkish pasha with huge moustache surrounded by beautiful women, who called me using his finger as if I were some sort of page: He said: - I’ll give you a job.
I replied to this jokingly: - You can’t afford me – Who are you?
He said: - I am the rector of the Lodz Film School and I employ you.
I thought he was joking but a few days later his secretary called me to put the rector through. It turned out that prof. Jerzy Woźniak had been watching me for some time and decided I would be useful at the Film School, for which I am very grateful to him. I have worked with the students for the past 7 years and I am happy to be contributing to the animation department. I had been always happy to bump into him at the School. … I’d always call him "Mr Rector", and he would tap me on the shoulder and say: "Stop fooling around, big bear, call me Jerzy…". Farewell, Mr Rector.