Richard Kwietniowski

Director, Screenwriter
The son of a Polish-born violinist, Richard Kwietniowski was born and raised in England but felt very much of an outsider, in part because of his homosexuality. (He also jokes in interviews that he was often teased in ... Read more »
Born: 03/16/1957 in London, England, GB

Filmography

Director (11)

Owning Mahowny 2003 (Movie)

(Director)

Love and Death on Long Island 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

Actions Speak Louder than Words 1991 (Movie)

(Director)

Personal Best 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

Proust's Favorite Fantasy 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

The Cost of Love 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

Flames of Passion 1988 (Movie)

(Director)

Ballad of Reading Gaol 1987 (Movie)

(Director)

Alfalfa 1986 (Movie)

(Director)

Next Week's Rent 1985 (Movie)

(Director)

Out (TV Show)

Director
Writer (3)

Flames of Passion 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Ballad of Reading Gaol 1987 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Alfalfa 1986 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Producer (2)

Alfalfa 1986 (Movie)

(Producer)

Next Week's Rent 1985 (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

The son of a Polish-born violinist, Richard Kwietniowski was born and raised in England but felt very much of an outsider, in part because of his homosexuality. (He also jokes in interviews that he was often teased in school because he doesn't know how to play cricket). After studying film at the University of Kent and Berkeley, he began his career by making experimental shorts. His first, "Alfalfa" (1987), was a nine minute riff on language, offering an alternative alphabet keyed to gay slang (e.g., C is for Clone), and received attention at the 1988 Berlin Film Festival. Kwietniowski followed with "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" (1988), featuring Quentin Crisp in a modern-day rendering of Oscar Wilde's courtroom speech about "the love that dare not speak its name" and "Flames of Passion" (1989), a gay twist on David Lean's 1945 "Brief Encounter", which received much festival exposure. Other short films include "Proust's Favorite Fantasy" and "The Cost of Love" (both 1991) and the 22-minute "Actions Speak Louder Than Words" (1992), which explores the confluence of the gay and hearing-impaired communities.

Since reading Gilbert Adair's novel "Love and Death on Long Island", which echoes Thomas Mann's classic "Death in Venice", Kwietniowski had wanted to make a film based on the book. He wrote the screenplay adaptation of the first-person story about a reclusive British author who becomes obsessed with an American film star and teen heartthrob, and then spent over 18 months trying to find backing for the project. Companies in Italy, Canada and the UK out up the money and the director was able to land the two actors he wanted for the leads, John Hurt and Jason Priestley, both of whom delivered strong performances under his guidance. The modest, quirky comedy earned generally positive notices and grossed over $2.5 million at the US box-office.

Relationships

Leszek Kwietniowski

Father
Polish emigrated to England

EDUCATION

University of Kent

Kent

University of Kent

Kent

University of California at Berkeley

Berkeley , California
attended for one year on an exchange program

Milestones

1997

Wrote and directed first feature "Love and Death on Long Island"

1992

Directed short "Actions Speak Louder Than Words"

1990

Short film "Flames of Passion" (made in 1989) received festival screenings

1987

Made first short film "Alfalfa"

Helmed second film "Owning Mahowny" (lensed 2001), featuring Minnie Driver and Philip Seymour Hoffman

Born and raised in England

Bonus Trivia

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His last names is pronounced "kuh-SEE-et-nee-ahv-skee".

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"Nobody is terribly interested in me in Britain. I'm a bit of a square peg in a round hole. When we tried to get the film off the ground, we were told it was too ambitious. The British are a bit nervous about obsession and desire." --Richard Kwietniowski to The New York Times, March 13, 1998.

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"One of the problems I have, being based in Britain, (is that) most British films are based either in the past or in a gritty realism, which is very socio-economic, so it's a diagnosis of the way certain people live. I tend to come from a different, un-English tradition, which is more about people's interior lives and fantasy and desire." --Richard Kwietniowski to Daily Bruin, Monday March 9, 1998.

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