Since its founding in 1948, the Film School in Lodz fulfilled a dream of a place which would serve the purpose of education, as well as the center of film life.
Lodz was chosen as the location for the school because Lodz also housed the first center of film production in Poland, which in time transformed into the Fiction Film Production Studios. At the same time, the Acting School came into existence, and both schools gained from the co-operation. Post-war Lodz, with its theaters, opera, newspapers and media became the cultural center of Poland.
The first instructors were: Jerzy Bossak, Jerzy Toeplitz, Wanda Jakubowska, Stanisław Wohl and Antonii Bohdziewicz who were all connected to pre-war artistic cinema. They decided to create the first program with two main departments, directing and cinematography. Emphasizing the connection of the humanities, such as history of art and literature, with practical film exercises. From the beginning the school could offer its students professional equipment and 35mm film to work on, thanks to the co-operation with the Film Production Studios. Among the directing students who began their education here were: Andrzej Munk, Andrzej Wajda, Janusz Morgerstern, Kazimierz Kutz, Kazimierz Karabasz and Andrzej Brzozowski. The cinematography students were: Jerzy Wójcik, Witold Sobociński, Mieczysław Jahoda and Wiesław Zdort. This generation went down in history as the most creatively expressive group in post-war Polish cinema, known as the `Polish film School´. The Acting School was headed by Kazimierz Dejmek , and produced such fine talents as: Jadwiga Barańska, Jerzy Antczak and Jan Machulski.
1956 brought noticeable changes to the school. A certain amount of political freedom allowed for the creation of modern educational programs which took into consideration the accomplishments of world cinema- without focusing on`proper´political ideology. The Film School prided itself with its projection theater in which many films, that were not available for official distribution, were shown (thanks to the personal contacts of the teachers). American and Western European films triumphed. The Film School became the center of film life in Poland. Stefania Skwarczyńska, Bolesław Lewicki and president Jerzy Toeplitz, due to their authority in the field and their personal charisma, created and supported an intellectual atmosphere of development and openness within all spheres of life at the school. The Film School was becoming modern, and its students were recognizable by the the easy-going style and non-chalance in their behavior and film-making. On the wave of popularity of jazz music, a jazz band was formed by cinematography students made up of Witold Sobociński and Jerzy Matuszkiewicz. Significant in this period was the award received by Roman Polański at the World Film Expo in 1958- for the film `Two Men and a Wardrobe´. It was during this period that the school´s steps, which led up to the projection theater, became famous as a place of never-ending debates and discussions.
The 60´s was a period of stabilizing the reputation of the School. Some of the directing students at the time were: Jerzy Skolimowski, Krzysztof Zanussi, Edward Żebrowski , Krzysztof Kieślowski, Marek Piwowski, Witold Leszczyński, Grzegorz Królikiewicz, Wojciech Marczewski and Marcel Łoziński. In the cinematography department: Adam Holender, Sławomir Idziak, Andrzej Jaroszewicz and Edward Kłosiński. This new generation of fimmakers was known as the group `film of moral unrest´, and as opposed to their predecessors, they paid attention to contemporary issues and were interested in painting a deeper portrait of their characters.
Graduates of the Lodz Film School started to gain notoriety in the world. A few such as Polański, Skolimowski and Holender emigrated to and started work in the West. The acting department, which became an intergral part of the school in 1958, could be proud of such graduates as: Janusz Gajos, Zygmunt Malanowicz and Barbara Brylska.
1968 was a disturbing year for the school, due to political interrogation Jerzy Toeplitz was forced to step down from his post as president and left the school, many respected teachers left along with him. The 70´s brought a certain level of stability back to the school and some of the `founding members´ of the school returned, such as Jakubowska and Bossak. Wojciech Jerzy Has was first an instructor and then the president, and with his authority in the feild he brought a feeling of independence to the school. The next generation of students were educated among them: Ryszard Bugajski, Feliks Falk, Filip Bajon, Piotr Szulkin, Wojciech Wiszniewski, Juliusz Machulski, Janusz Kijowski, Zbigniew Rybczyński, Krzysztof Ptak, Bronisław Wrocławski, Mariusz Benoit and Krzysztof Stroiński.During this period the school started to take part in numerous prestigious international film festivals. Students films were shown at: Cannes, Munich, New York, Oberhausen, Mannheim and Poitiers.
Between the late 70´s and early 80´s there were such talented students as: Robert Gliński, Piotr Sobociński, Jan Jakub Kolski, Dorota Kędzierzawska, Władysław Pasikowski, Mariusz Grzegorzek and Paweł Edelman, but it was not until the fall of Communism that the Film School was able to really spread its wings and fly - that’s when the school started to expand and invest in the modern film equipment. The acting department also reinvented itself in order to keep up with the changing times and new media. Actors were concurrently taught to work in theater, film and television. Some of the acting graduates were: Zbigniew Zamachowski, Cezary Pazura, Wojciech Malajkat, Edyta Olszówka and Gabriela Muskała.
Progress continued with the creation of new departments such as production, editing, script writing, photography, digital technology and tv journalism, which clearly show how much the school has changed. The Lodz Film School tries to continually remain at the forefront of these changes and answers the demands of the evolving media market.