Marek Probosz

May 9, 2013


When the American Cinemateque first introduced young Polish actor/writer/director Marek Probosz to a special symposium for the film community in the United States in 1987, they presented him as “one of the foremost Polish actors and an idol of the younger generation.”

A preeminent figure in European Stage, television and film, Marek Probosz has starred in over 50 films competing at key international festivals including Cannes and Karlovy Vary (Jiri Svoboda’s award-winning Fall of the Lonely Castle) Venice (Jerzy Skolimowski’s 30 Door Key) San Sebastian (Frantisek Vlacil’s The Fern’s Shadow). Probosz’s theatrical adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Salome, which he wrote, directed and starred in, was cited by the Czech National Critics Poll as the number two artistic event of 1986, right behind Sir Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi well ahead of such other contenders as Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander.

The grandson of Polish poet laureate Jerzy Probosz – a young writer whose career ended with his death in the Dachau concentration camp – and son of architect father and a schoolteacher mother, Marek’s first audition as a young boy for a local production of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess and the Pea landed him the part of the Fool. “I didn’t know how to read yet, so my mom read me my lines,” recalls Probosz of his start at the Fairy Tale Theater in Zory, Poland – a tenure which lasted seven years.

Probosz created his own theatrical troupe.  After just two successfully-received plays, he was licensed by the Polish Department of Culture as a professional theater director – one of the youngest in the country. This was unprecedented in a nation still steeped in its turbulent past and reflects upon Probosz’ universal talent: a man for all seasons, while still a mere teenager.     Five years and twelve films later, Probosz was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from the prestigious Polish National Film, TV and Theater School in Lódz in 1983.  Since then he has completed an astonishing roster of over thirty Polish, Czech, German, French, Italian and American productions and co-productions, most of which he has starred in. Thus began his intimacy with the art of directing, for many of these productions relied upon his experience in many languages and cultures both before and behind the camera.

Today, across Eastern Europe, he is often likened to the “De Niro of Poland”.     Probosz first directed and starred at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles in AUM or Tormenting of Actors an original theatrical production from his own script.  After directing 6 short films based on his own scripts Marek Probosz obtained his Certificate in  Film Directing at the American Film Institute in 1993.  In 1998 he received his MFA in Drama.

He is, not unlike the young Billy Wilder, a true “international.”  Since his time at AFI, he has directed a full-length documentary film Jan Kott: Still Alive and wrote six feature film screenplays.  His short film Rebel, a psychological thriller on teen suicide, was a calling card for YMI, an unflinching portrait of the dark forces lurking in the lives of our teenagers today worldwide.  YMI Probosz’s feature debut in the U.S., which he also wrote, directed, starred in and produced, had its world premiere at The Other Venice Film Festival 2004, where it won The Audience Choice ABBOT Award.

One of Probosz’s films, Krzystof Zanussi’s Brother of Our God, was based on the play of John Paul II.  He has guest- starred in JAG, Monk and Numbers.  He was plucked from a Who’s Who of contender to play the timely and difficult role of Roman Polanski in the Warner Bros. TV miniseries, Helter Skelter for CBS, for which he was praised by the Hollywood press.      In a riveting performance that many thought would become Poland’s first Oscar for Best Actor, Probosz starred as the Polish WWII hero, Witold Pilecki, the only known person in history to volunteer to become imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp so he could liberate its prisoners from within, in the feature film, The Death of Captain Pilecki.  Many have likened his performance to that of Liam Neeson’s Schindler. The film, extraordinarily controversial within Poland, garnered The Special Jury REMI Award at IFF, Houston ‘07.  It had screenings at consulates, universities and embassies throughout the world and has become a cult classic, a precursor to such films as The Reader, and The Boy in Striped Pajamas.

Probosz is a regular on the longest-running Polish TV series Clan and the most successful Polish TV series of all time, L Like Love, in which he plays the first homosexual character ever featured on Polish National TV. Aside from its controversy, it has made him a film idol in his homeland where he is mobbed for autographs wherever he goes. His most recent credits are 8 Horizontal, winner of the Grand Prix, Gdynia FF’09 in which he portrays a Polish Arab Mustafa, Revers, Golden Lion Award, Gdynia ’09; FIPRESCI Award, Warsaw FF; and the Polish nominee for the 2010 Oscars.

Most recently, he plays the role of Satora in the new epic film by world acclaimed film director Agnieszka Holland, The True Story of Janosik.

His role of Odysseus with illustrious British star Henry Goodman in the Getty Villa theater production, Philoktetes, brought him into directing a Greek play Socrates Now scheduled for the Getty Villa in Malibu, Los Angeles in 2012.

Probosz’s first book Eldorado, was published with a great success by Stentor Publishing House in Poland last year.  His second book of short stories Call Me When They Kill You, is due to be published in Poland in 2011.

Probosz has been a much sought-after Professor of Theater Acting in The Warsaw Theater Academy; taught (when not acting or directing) on and off for four years as Full Professor of Advanced Film and TV Acting at The Emerson College in LA and a Visiting Professor of Theater and Film Acting at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). He also gave numerous lectures in screenwriting at a myriad of international film events and has been a Distinguished Jury Member at many international film festivals all over Eastern Europe as well as in the coveted Moscow Film Festival.

He just finished a lead in a movie based on a true story of a world kick-boxing champion, Przemyslaw Saleta, The Boxer, 2011 Accolade Film, Television – Award of Merit and an ABC pilot, Scandal. His upcoming projects are the lead part of Captain LUX in a historical film The Soul of the Murdered Kingdom and a leading role of an American TV reporter in a feature film Gaza.

Probosz was awarded The Gold Medal Of Humanity – Witold Pilecki in Auschwitz 2011 and Mortui Sunt Ut Liberi Vivamus Medal in Londdon 2011.

Now he is busy preparing to Direct his next feature film, the Da Vinci Code-meets Jurassic Park thriller, Chateau Beyond Time, written by award-winning and prolific author/producer/director, Michael Tobias, to be shot throughout some of the most magnificent locations in Probosz’s homeland of Poland, as well as in Paris, Burgundy, London and Antwerp. This thriller promises to deliver an entertainment package that combines state-of-the-art digital compositing, with a classic archetypal drama both timely and powerful. Some of the locations in Poland (inside scientific reserves heretofore off-limits to the public) will be seen for the first time ever, not unlike many of the locations in New Zealand that enabled Peter Jackson to create within his own country a true “middle-earth”. In fact, the same master shot/compositor for the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy will work on Chateau Beyond Time, as will the team that got the Oscar for special effects on such films as Total Recall.

He is also preparing to direct a criminal drama based on a true story, written by himself, American Family, a shocking tale about a teenage boy who while incarcerated for murder reminisces about his childhood in a dysfunctional home and struggles to free himself to become a writer.

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