Agnieszka Holland

Sandra Szymańska
Young Talent Management

The Most Famous Polish Female Film Director



Agnieszka Holland is without doubt one of the most famous Polish directors and screenwriters. Not only has she been nominated for the Academy Award three times, but she also received the Golden Globe Award in 1992.


Agnieszka Holland was born on 28 November 1948 in Warsaw, Poland as a daughter of journalists Irena and Henryk Holland. When she was thirteen her father died as a result of a communist militia interrogation. Holland attended the Stefan Batory High School in Warsaw. She studied at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. In 1971, after graduating, Holland came back to Poland and became an assistant director on Krzysztof Zanussi's film “Illumination” and on Stanisław Latałło's “Letters from our Readers”. She also worked with the legendary director Andrzej Wajda.


Holland’s first production was “An Evening at Abdon’s”, which debuted on television in 1975. In 1978 she created her first feature film “Provincial Actors” that was awarded the International Critics’ Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980. One year later, her movie “A Lonely Woman” was banned by the Polish authorities, as it was showing the depressing portrait of the late Polish People's Republic. It was her last film before emigrating to France, after the martial law was declared in Poland.


The emigration did not stop Holland from directing . In 1985 her German production “Angry Harvest” was nominated the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Later she directed “To Kill a Priest” and “Olivier, Olivier”. Holland also wrote screenplays to Andrzej Wajda’s films: “Danton”, “A Love in Germany” and “Korczak”. In 1991 she created one of her most well-known movies “Europa Europa”. The film received an Academy Award nomination and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was also named the best foreign film by the National Board of Review. In the 1990s Holland began working with Krzysztof Kieślowski on the screenplay of his film, “Three Colours: Blue”. In 1999 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the second annual CineVegas Film Festival.


Holland created her later films, such as “Washington Square”, “The Third Miracle”, “Shot in the Heart”, and “Copying Beethoven”, mostly in the USA. In 2001 she was rewarded the Order of Polonia Restituta and in 2008 the Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis. In 2004 Holland directed episode eight of the third season of the HBO series, “The Wire”. She also directed two more episodes in 2006 and 2008. Holland received her third Academy Award nomination for her 2011 piece entitled “In the darkness”. Three years later she took over the chairmanship of the European Film Academy board. In 2015 and 2017 Holland directed four episodes of the famous series, “House of Cards”.