Zbigniew Rybczyński

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Born 1949 in Lodz. Experimental film director, cameraman and lecturer. Having completed his secondary education at the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw, he worked for a period of time at the Studio Miniatur Filmowych [the Miniature Film Study]. In 1969 he enrolled at the Lodz Film School, where he was active in the Workshop of Film Form, the leading Polish avant-garde group. All his major animated films, including Tango – for which he won an Oscar in 1983, the first ever awarded to a Pole – were produced at the Se-Ma-For Study in Lodz. After moving to the United States, he turned to video and High Definition techniques.

He gained great popularity – as well as the nickname “Big Zbig” – thanks to his music videos for artists including Simple Minds, Mick Jagger and John Lennon, and films such as Steps (1986), The Fourth Dimension (1988) and The Orchestra (1990), acclaimed for their striking virtuosity by critics and audiences around the world. From 1987 to 1994 he ran his own studio, which he outfitted with the most advanced HDTV equipment available.

In addition to the Oscar, Zbig has received numerous prestigious awards, including an Emmy, a Golden Gate Award at San Francisco Film Festival, Electronic Cinema Festival Awards in Tokyo and Montreaux, MTV and American Video Awards, Monitor Awards and a Billboard Music Video Award. His Orchestra received a Prix Italia, an award which is granted to TV productions for outstanding artistic value.

He has taught at numerous universities: the Film School of Lodz, Columbia University New York, the Academy of Media Art (KHM) in Cologne. Presently, he holds a position of a visiting professor at Joshibi University of Art and Design in Tokyo.

Along with pursuing his artistic and academic career, he has been conducting research on the visual image and special effects, which has led him to develop his own solutions in the field of electronic visualization. His applications have been employed in the film and TV industry and received several technical US patents.


The Square (Kwadrat)

35mm, 3'30", PWSTiF Łódź, 1972. Download (WEBM)

"It was a mix of photography and animation and it took up my whole vacation - sixteen hours a day. I analysed, through a film camera, a loop of thirty-six squarish black-and-white photographs representing a human being moving in a circle. What was the logic of my analysis? I decided to photograph the loop on film and repeat it thirty-six times. During every new repetition I divided the film window ® which I made in the shape of a square ® so that in every circle there was an increasing number of subdivisions; today I would say different resolutions. I put a white square of paper in the subdivisions where in the photograph there was a part of a figure; where there was not, I put a black square. I had to rearrange the white and black squares at least a hundred thousand times. On the lens I put a color filter, and then rotated it - but I donêt want to bore you. What is most important about this is that not being aware of computer imaging - it was 1970, in Poland - I manufactured my own 'digital' processing on film. Strange that I needed twenty-six years of work - including my work during all my next twenty five vacations - to come back to Kwadrat with full awareness and understanding of why."
Source: Zbigniew Rybczynski: "Looking to the Future - Imagining the Truth", in Francois Penz, Maureen Thomas (eds.), Cinema and Architecture: From Historical to Digital. British Film Institute, BFI, London, 1997.


35mm, 1'36", SMFF Se-Ma-For Łódź, 1980. Download (WEBM)


  • "The State of Image. Die Medienpioniere Zbigniew Rybczyński und Gábor Bódy. Interview mit Zbigniew Rybczyński", 2012. (English) [1]

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