Polish Documentary Filmmakers Every Film Buff Should Know

Film roll
Film roll | © Travis Rigel Lukas Hornung / Flickr
Weronika Jurkiewicz

From Andrzej Wajda and Roman Polański to Agnieszka Holland and Krzysztof Zanussi, film aficionados usually have no problem naming at least a few Polish fiction directors, but when asked about documentary makers their minds usually go blank. This is why we present you with this list of highly acclaimed documentary filmmakers you should know.

Krzysztof Kieślowski

Even though he may be mostly associated with metaphysical fiction features, Krzysztof Kieślowski was also an accomplished documentary filmmaker who had a great influence over the Polish Documentary School. His early works focus on portraying the collective conscientious. Films such as Fabryka (Factory, 1970), Refren (Refrain, 1972), Robotnicy ’71: nic o nas bez nas (Workers ’71: Nothing About Us Without Us, 1972) and later, Szpital (Hospital, 1976) and Gadające głowy (Talking Heads, 1980) provide a thorough examination of the communist society by focusing on individual institutions. Kieślowski’s non-fiction works often feature the “collective hero” which battles the communist state through daily struggles and hardships.

Kieślowski’s “Z miasta Łodzi”

Marcel Łoziński

One of the most influential and internationally acclaimed Polish documentary filmmakers, Marcel Łoziński won prizes at some of the most prestigious film festivals both in Poland and abroad, most notably Oberhausen, Kraków, San Francisco and Leipzig. In 1994, he was also nominated for an Academy Award for his short documentary 89 mm From Europe. The eponymous 89 millimetres represents the difference in track gauge between Soviet Union’s and European railroads, acting as a metaphor for relations between the two regions. His films focus on mundane, everyday life of ordinary citizens, which makes them a great window to the consciousness of previous generations.

Paweł Łoziński

Son of Marcel Łozińki, Paweł Łoziński, just like his father, is interested in developing intimate relations with his subjects. His films usually feature human stories that are emblematic of greater socio-political phenomena. His most recent feature, You Have No Idea How Much I Love You is a recording of numerous therapy sessions between a mother and a daughter. Despite no spectacular visual effects, the film keeps its audience captivated due to extreme emotional charge the characters bring to the table.

Maciej Drygas

Maciej Drygas’ debut film “Usłyszcie mój krzyk / Hear My Cry” from 1991 tells a story of Ryszard Siwiec who set himself on fire during a large harvest festival at the Warsaw stadium in 1968 to protest the military invasion of Czechoslovakia, an act that was almost completely erased from public records. The film won many international prizes, including European Film Award. His later films also try to unpack the societal repercussions of communism. Drygas is known for his extremely lengthy pre-production processes during which he thoroughly researches his subjects. The research for his debut feature took him a year and a half.

Michał Marczak

Michał Marczak gained international recognition with his documentary Fuck For Forest which tells a story of modern-day hippies who have sex to rise money for the Amazon Rain Forest. The film which debuted at SXSW, was named as one of 10 most innovative documentaries in the recent years by Dazed and Confused magazine. Marczak’s latest project, All This Sleepless Nights, which blurs the line between fiction and nonfiction and follows two art students as they party the night away won the Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival.

All the Sleepless Nights
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.