I was born in Warsaw, Poland, but didn’t stay there long. Our family left when I was 5, hardly suspecting that we wouldn’t return. First, we moved to the United States, then lived in Egypt and India, and traveled extensively around the world, which gave rise to a global outlook and adherence to universal principles. We eventually settled in Montreal, Canada, and I lived there until 2011.
Early on, I remember people always asking: What do you want to be when you grow up? I loved drawing and playing piano, but decided I would to be a concert pianist and practiced hours each day, until I came to realize I didn’t want to spend my life playing pieces composed by someone else, and visual arts became my calling.
I enrolled in a B.F.A. program initially set on being a painter, but soon gravitated towards writing and film. After graduating, I produced animated films but when a 10 minute film took 5 years to make, I said wait a minute. I was also feeling the need to be of more practical relevance.
I completed a Masters degree (Educational Technology) and was part-time professor, then began an interdisciplinary Ph.D. Humanities program. I was screenwriting at the same time, still torn between a creative or academic path. I was also a divorced single parent, getting by on a prestigious albeit meager scholarship while seeking co-producers for my films. I eventually relinquished the Ph.D. and film production goals in favor of permanent employment.
I found work as a consultant in international development, which was cherished given that my parents (Dr. Zenon A. Zielinski, engineer, and Czeslawa Bychowska, architect) were experts in low cost housing, and my father had been a Ford Foundation consultant for several years.
After a year, another opportunity came up when a respected TV producer invited me to write and direct documentary and educational TV series. Directing was a dream come true, and I was finally able to integrate all the different practices I’d accumulated.
When the production company closed 10 years later, I took a leap of faith and moved to my favorite city: the indelibly international New York. The transition was an adventure that began with producing documentary for NBC, and culminated in following a heartfelt dream of joining the non-profit sector.
So here I am today, a filmmaker and writer open to collaborations on projects of benefit to the world.