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ROBERT TUTAK was born and raised in Poland.

The performing arts were his passion from early childhood. He was actively involved in the theater, first as a teenage puppeteer, then, in high school, as a member of a well known avant-garde group, Gong 2, which brought him an acting award at the Spring Theater Festival of 1969. Growing up in the 60s and 70s in communist Poland, he was fascinated by the Beat Generation and other counter-cultural and political movements in the U.S. and across Europe, and experienced his theatrical awakening watching the performances of the Living Theater, the Bread and Puppet Theater, and the Grotowski’s Laboratory Theater.
Gong 2
   
Robert Tutak Dialogue

The M.A. thesis paper titled: Antonin Artaud: Theater vs. Ritual, which he wrote at
the Interdepartmental School of Contemporary Culture of the University of Wroclaw, Poland, where he studied Culture Sciences under Prof. Stanislaw Pietraszko, was greatly influenced by the experimental theater at home and abroad. It was a comparative deconstructive analysis of theater and ritual as parallel phenomena,
using the structuralist methodology of Levi Straus. It was later published in the prestigious monthly magazine Dialog (Dialogue), September 1978 issue, and is currently available in the libraries of Yale University, Harvard University, Columbia University, and Stanford University. Following graduation from Wroclaw University,
Robert worked for three years as a literary consultant and literary head at the regional theaters of Olsztyn, Lublin, and Koszalin in Poland.

 
At the age of twenty six, he passed a grueling, three week-long entry exam to a renowned film academy in Europe: the Lodz Film School of Poland (PWSFTviT), ranked by the Hollywood Reporter as one of the “Top 15 Film Schools” in the world (THR, 08/05/ 2011). (He was one of the six candidates, out of over three hundred, to be admitted.) The next four years, he spend immersed in watching the films of Bergman, Kurosawa, Fellini, Bresson, Antonioni, Coppola, Kubrick, Scorsese, Ray, and other world masters, studying filmmaking with the maters of Polish cinema: Wojciech Has, Andrzej Brzozowski, Maria Kornatowska (film criticism), Janusz Morgenstern, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, and Henryk Kluba, among others, while earning recognition for his films: PWSFTviT

Robert Tutak & Andrzej Adamczak

Pragnienie (Thirst) and Twarz (The Face), at some of the most important short film festivals in Europe: in Munich and Oberhausen, Germany, Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic, and Wroclaw and Warsaw in Poland. Pragnienie, a live-action short (shot
on 35mm), is a visual poem on thirst for water, thirst for love, and thirst for freedom
—a metaphor for life under Communism. Twarz, a documentary short (also shot on 35mm), is a story on the transience of life; it features an impoverished 82 year-old man in the gray communist Poland, who--at the age of eleven, in an opulent Venice--became an inspiration for Tadzio in the Thomas Mann’s decadent novel Death in Venice (made into a film by Luchino Visconti). Pragnienie and Twarz aired several times on public television in Germany (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen ZDF) and Poland (Telewizja Polska TVP1). They are now available for viewing here.

     
                   

Robert graduated from the Lodz Film School with honors, receiving the M.F.A. in Directing for Film and Television, and went on making his professional debut with a documentary Cisza (Silence), produced by the Educational Films Production House (WFO) in Lodz, Poland, and a made-for-TV movie Mecz (Match), produced and distributed by TVP1, Polish public television channel with the reach of 39 mil. Joanna Szczepkowska, a renowned Polish stage actress, who played the lead role (she also worked with Krzysztof Kieslowski in Decalogue), received the Best Female Award at the Festival of Young Cinema in Gdansk, Poland, 1989, for her role in the film.

Polish Television
Fulbright Foundation
In 1988, while putting finishing touches on Mecz, Robert was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Foundation Grant in Film, which took him to Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, for a summer course and then to the San Francisco Art Institute, the center of non-narrative cinema on the West Coast of the U.S., where he studied cinematic experimental forms.

Following the one-year study at SFAI, sponsored by the Fulbright Foundation Grant, he remained in the U.S., and was later naturalized and granted the U.S. Citizenship as a “prominent alien” accomplished in filmmaking, “…one of those who have risen to the top of his field of endeavor, […] has sustained national and international acclaim and that his achievements have been recognized in the field of expertise [filmmaking].”

As the graduate of the Lodz Film School, he found a fairly easy access to the film educational system in the U.S. and was offered teaching positions at several academic institutions in New York, including the Pratt Institute, the School of Visual Arts, and the City University of New York. Concurrently with teaching, he was working as a freelance producer for the Polish Television Network PTVN in NYC, directing documentaries, which aired on Channel 31 WNYC-TV, New York, and TVP1, Warsaw, Poland.
MoMA

One of the most important moments in Robert’s film career came in 1999, when he was invited by Joshua Siegel, a film curator at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC,
to participate in a Retrospective of the Lodz Film School of Poland organized by the Museum. Two of Robert's films were included in the program: Pragnienie (Thirst)
and Twarz (The Face). He was representing the Lodz Film School together with
such luminaries of Polish and world cinema as Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wajda,

Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Zanussi, and Jerzy Skolimowski. The MoMA Retrospective screened at several locations: the MoMA 53rd Street theater, the UCLA Film and Television Archives in Los Angeles, CA, the Pacific Film Archives, Berkeley, CA, the Santa Fe Cinematheque, NM, and the Cleveland Cinematheque, OH.


While he was very actively involved in film education, developing film curriculum for the Brooklyn College Department of Film and working with students, his own film career was put on hold until 2002, when he managed to raise money to write, produce, and direct an independent feature film Nobody’s Perfect, starring Leonardo Nam (The Perfect Score, The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). The film premiered at the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, where it was invited to participate, and is now in distribution through TLA Releasing, a division of TLA Entertainment Group, and available on Amazon.com.

Nobody's Perfect
Manhattan Film Academy


In 2005, the Emirates College of Management and Information Technology (ECMIT), Dubai, United Arab Emirates, invited Robert to create and run an intensive film production program. To facilitate the ECMIT program, he founded the Manhattan Film Academy, which brought together several award-winning American and European filmmakers. The success of the ECMIT programs in January of 2005 & 2006, allowed Robert to develop a working relationship with the Dubai Government and its agencies in charge of education, media, and film: Dubai Knowledge Village, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Media City, and Dubai Arts and Culture Authority.


In 2008, Robert was invited back to Dubai to organize a full semester-long Intensive Film Production Program, supported by Dubai Studio City, Dubai Arts and Culture Authority, SONY ME, and Apple ME. It was geared towards Emirati communications students as well as professionals from the Dubai media world, but attracted media professionals from all over the Middle East and beyond, including Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, India, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the UK, and the US.

As the founder and Program director, Robert designed the curriculum and brought
to Dubai a number of highly accomplished filmmakers, including the three-time
Academy Awards® nominee writer-director Agnieszka Holland (Europa, Europa,The Secret Garden, In Darkness),
Academy Awards® nominated cinematographer Slawomir Idziak (Black Hawk Down; Harry Potter; Three Colors: Blue & Red, dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski), Academy Awards® winner for Best Art Direction Allan Starski (Schindler’s List), cinema-tographer-director of the acclaimed TV series Monk Joe Pennella, and Emmy-winning and Academy Awards® nomi-nated sound designer Ira Spiegel (Ken Burns’s Baseball; Robert Altman’s Short Cuts; Milos Forman’s The People vs. Larry Flint).

MFA Dubai

In July 2008 Robert was invited to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to teach a four-day film production workshop in Jeddah
during the Jeddah Film Festival. It was the first ever such an event in the KSA, held during the first ever film festival in the country, where films are forbidden and cinemas are banned. Working in Jeddah was an extraordinary experience.

Dubai A City of Dreams While teaching in Dubai, Robert was moved by the appalling working and living conditions of thousands of immigrant workers from impoverished parts of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Risking a fine, imprisonment or deportation (speaking
on labor issues in Dubai is punishable by law), together with his students, Robert produced a feature documentary on labor exploitation and human rights abuses Dubai: A City of Dreams.

The film premiered at the Guangzhou International Film Festival GZ DOC, China, where it was invited to participate, and then screened at several festivals around
the world, including the United Nations Association Film Festival UNAFF at Stanford University and East Palo Alto and IDFA, the International Documentary Film Festival
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, the largest documentary film festival in the world. The North American distributor of the film
is 7th Art Releasing based in Los Angeles, a well established boutique distributor known for releasing award-winning documentaries, including Academy Awards®, Sundance Film Festival, and DGA winners and nominees. The worldwide distribution is handled by Upside Television, Paris, France, specializing in providing quality programming to television networks in Europe and around the world. To date, the film aired on cable and broadcast television in several countries, including Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Iran, and Poland.

Robert is currently working on two feature documentary film projects, which are intended for public television. The first one
is on one of the “forgotten Americans; footnote figures who changed American history,” the foreign volunteer, Polish military engineer Thaddeus Kosciuszko. The second one examines the influence of eugenics on the medical and mental inspection
of aliens at the Ellis Island immigration station in early 20th century.

     
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