Lukasz Zal

Łukasz Żal had never worked on a feature film before landing the role of director of photography on Pawel Pawlikowski's "Ida" (2013). With only short films and documentaries on his résumé, Żal likely seemed a risky choice to share cinematographic responsibilities with industry veteran Ryszard Lenczewski. But the Polish-language drama's stellar aesthetic, not to mention its Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography, spoke for themselves, testifying to the tremendous talent of the young filmmaker. Łukasz Żal was born in Koszalin, Poland, on June 24, 1981. He directed his first short feature, whose Polish title "Mistrz swiata" (2006) translates alternatively to "World Champion" and "Master of the World," shortly before graduating from the National Film School in Łódź in 2007. After this, Żal focused chiefly on documentary work, both short-form, as in the case of "Paparazzi" (2011), and longer, as with "Joanna" (2013). Although Żal did gain attention for his variety of projects, it was with his narrative feature debut that he first truly laid claim to critical success. Żal was hired by filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski to direct photography alongside veteran cinematographer Ryszard Lenczewski on "Ida" (2013), a drama about a young orphan reconnecting with her estranged aunt in 1960s Poland. As "Ida" gained international attention, so did Żal, earning awards and nominations for his work on the film. Among the organizations to recognize Żal's and Lenczewski's cinematography were the European Film Awards, the BAFTA Awards, and the Academy Awards, which granted the pair a nomination for Best Cinematography in 2015.