Nina Niovilla

Research output: Other contributionOther


Very little is known about Nina Niovilla, who is considered to be Poland’s first female director, and possibly the only woman in the country who worked behind the camera during the silent film era. Even the roots of her last name—most likely a pseudonym—remain unknown. (Nina is a common diminutive form of the Polish name Antonina.) While we do know her family name, it is spelled multiple ways, most commonly as Petrykiewicz, but also as Petekiewicz or Petykiewicz; none of these variants appear in the country’s census or other legal documentation that could help us learn more about her background. A newspaper column from 1972 reasoned that Niovilla changed her original name to brand herself as a foreign film professional, and perhaps to boost her status while establishing her popular acting schools in the 1920s (Szletyński 5). While a reasonable assumption to make, it seems that she was using the name “Nina Niovilla” professionally since 1908, at least ten years before promoting herself as an educator.

Original languageEnglish
Typeonline article
PublisherColumbia University Libraries
Number of pages5
Place of PublicationColumbia USA
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Film History
  • Silent film
  • Feminism
  • Stefania Zahorska

    Frymus, A., 2020, 6 p. Columbia USA : Columbia University Libraries.

    Research output: Other contributionOther

    Open Access

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