Maciej Kowalewski: From Waiting Room to Film Director

Maciej Kowalewski: From Waiting Room to Film Director

This year, exactly three decades have passed since the day when Maciej Kowalewski, then 24, received his diploma in acting from the Krakow theater school.

However, he had to wait several years to gain recognition in his profession and gain the sympathy of the audience. It is true that he played in “Schindler’s List”, which won several Oscars, and in a few Television Theater productions, but at the beginning of his career he was not lucky with memorable roles.

It was only in 1999, when he was invited to participate in “Tenants”, that the sun shone over his head. Thanks to the role of Jacek Przypadek’s friend (played by Michał Lesień), Maciej gained not only recognition, but also popularity that he could only dream of before.


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“The Tenants” made Kowalewski a star, but it did not guarantee him further roles. Maciej actually constantly played supporting and episodic roles in films and series. After his role in Polański’s famous “The Pianist”, he was not even mentioned in the end credits, but he didn’t care about it, because – as he said – he pursued his professional ambitions in the theater, not only as an actor, but also as a director and… .author. He wrote excellent plays, we can remember him from “The Ballad of Zakaczawie”.


Maciej Kowalewski and Patrycja Szczepanowska /KFP

In 2003, Maciej Kowalewski directed his own “Waiting Room” on the stage of the Warsaw Theater Company MM Awakening and achieved his first great success as a director. He learned how to produce theater performances from the best. His master was Adam Hanuszkiewicz, with whom he collaborated for several years and thanks to whom he created many highly praised by critics performances in the performances of the National Theater.

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“I became a director out of necessity. It was just cheaper that way. Now I know that it was a good thing, because my performances are simply mine – from the idea to the premiere,” he told “Gazeta Studencka”.

At some point, Maciej Kowalewski went into “directors”. In 2007, he won the competition for the general and artistic director of the Teatr na Woli in Warsaw.

Maciej Kowalewski directed three performances at the Teatr na Woli, but when his term as director was coming to an end, he learned that the then mayor of the city did not intend to extend the contract with him and, moreover, would not allow him to take part in a new competition. A scandal broke out, involving many famous artists.

The letter in defense of Kowalewski to Hanna Gronkiewicz was signed by, among others: Paweł Królikowski, Małgorzata Braunek, Izabela Kuna, Edward Linde-Lubaszenko and Agnieszka Holland. Unfortunately, it didn’t help.

In 2010, Maciej Kowalewski said goodbye to the stage at ul. Kasprzak, and a year later… he made his debut as a film director with the feature film “Three Sisters of T.”, for which he wrote the script based on his own play and which he produced.

In January 2022, Kowalewski won the competition for the director of the Komedia Theater, but the mayor of the capital, Rafał Trzaskowski, did not appoint him to this position, citing the “lack of agreement on the concept of the facility’s operation.”

Today, Maciej directs on many stages throughout Poland – his performances can be seen, among others, in the Polonia and Ateneum theaters in Warsaw, in Jelenia Góra and Łódź. He also writes scripts for single episodes of “Colors of Happiness” and “Leśniczówka”, and from time to time he stands in front of the camera and reminds us about himself with guest episodes in popular series (in recent years he appeared in “Na dobre i na bad”, “Ojcu Mateuszu “, “Colors of Happiness” and “Deep Water”).

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Today, Maciej Kowalewski, as he jokes, fulfills his role primarily as a grandfather.

“Overall happiness. I’m flying up into the sky. There is nothing to write about it, it has to be experienced. Being a grandfather is like being a father, only even deeper,” he wrote on Instagram under a photo with little Ignacy and his mother, and his daughter – actress Marianna Gierszewska.


Marianna Gierszewska’s father is Maciej Kowalewski /German /AKPA

Marianna – known from the TV series “Pułapka” and the movie “Baptism” – is not Maciej’s only child. Her sister, Zofia Kowalewska, also followed in her father’s footsteps and became a director (her film “Ties” won dozens of awards at international festivals a few years ago and was on the shortlist for the Oscar in the Best Short Documentary Film category). Marianna and Zofia’s half-brother, Gabriel, is still a high school student, but he does not rule out that he will connect his future with film and theater.

“My children are children who grew up behind the scenes of theaters and on photo sets. When you are a child of artists, you are naturally soaked in this atmosphere. Inevitably, we often took them with us to work because we couldn’t always have a babysitter,” Kowalewski said in an interview for

Maciej Kowalewski was married twice. His first wife (mother of both of his daughters) was actress Edyta Torhan, his second wife (he has a son with her) is Ewa Dominika Kowalewska.

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Maciej Kowalewski /Photo. Paweł Wodzyński


Michał Lesień, Andżelika Piechowiak and Maciej Kowalewski /KFP

2023-09-26 03:55:00
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