Wim Wenders

Film-Maker, United States



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Wim Wenders was born on the 14th of August, 1945, in Düsseldorf, Germany.

After high school, he began his studies in medicine (1963-64) and philosophy (1964-65) in Munich, Freiburg and Düsseldorf. However, he interrupted his education and moved to Paris in October of 1966, where he studied painting and worked as an engraver in an atelier in Montmarte. He also attended the Cinematheque Francaise regularly.

He returned to Germany in 1967, worked briefly in the Düsseldorf office of United Artists and entered the "Hochschule für Fernsehen and Film" (Graduate School of Film and Television), which had just been founded in Munich.

Between 1967 and 1970, he contributed to the film review "FilmKritik" and to the Munich daily newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung."

During the same period he finished several short films and in April of 1969, while he was shooting "Polizeifilm", he was arrested during a demonstration protesting against the assault on Rudi Dutschke. He was given a six and a half month suspended sentence for resisting arrest.

Wim Wenders graduated from the Hochschule, with his first feature film "Summer in the City", but he really began his professional career in 1971 with his next film, "The Goalkeepers Fear of the Penalty Kick", based on the book of the same name by Peter Handke.

In 1971, in collaboration with twelve other filmmakers, he began a production and distribution company called "Filmverlag der Autoren". And, in 1974, he founded Wim Wenders Produktion (which was founded in Munich and relocated to Berlin in 1978).

In 1976, he started "Road Movies Filmproduktion" in Berlin, which, since 1984, has been run exclusively by Wenders and his producer, Chris Sievernich, with whom, in 1981, he had already established "Gray City, Inc." in New York.

In 1977, he finished "The American Friend", a big international co-production which brought him to the attention of Francis Ford Coppola. In 1978, upon invitation of the later, he went to the United States to shoot Hammett, which occupied him, among other works, until 1982. During the forced interruptions in the shooting of the film, produced by Zoetrope, Wenders made "Lightning over Water" (together with his friend, director Nicholas Ray) and then "The State of Things".

Returning to Europe in August of 1982, after his difficult experiences in the United States, he directed his first play, producing "Über die Dörfer" by Peter Handke for The Salzburger Festpiele.

Wenders won the Golden Lion at the Venice Festival of 1982 for "The State of Things", the first in a series of prestigious international acknowledgments.

By that time he had become one of the cult directors of the ´80s, while his films were becoming ever more successful with the public

With the release of "Paris, Texas" in Germany, Wenders began to diverge from the Filmverlag der Autoren, deciding to end his partnership. In 1984 he became a member of the "Akademie der Künste" in Berlin.

In 1987, besides the release of his film, "Der Himmel über Berlin", winner of the prize for Best Director at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival, he also published his first book -- "Written in the West", which reflects his fascination with the American West. This collection of photographs would be followed by many other books -- collections of essays, reflections on filmmaking, other photo and art books, companion books to his movies and more.
In 1989 Wim Wenders received an honorary doctor title from the Sorbonne University in Paris.

In 1991 he completed a long-time project, "Until the End of the World" and in the same year received the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Award in Bielefeld.

He made a documentary film on fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto." Notebook on Cities and Clothes", his fourth cinematographic diary, followed by a collaboration with Michelangelo Antonioni "Beyond the Clouds" Other projects in the early - and mid nineties included the follow up to Wings of Desire -- "Far Away, So Close", "Lisbon Story" and "A Trick of the Light"

From 1991 to 1996 he was the appointed Chairman of the European Film Academy and was subsequently elected as its president. Since 1993 he has been teaching as an honorary professor at the HFF (Academy of Film and Television) in Munich. In 1995 he received another honorary doctorat - in divinity- this time from the theological faculty of the University Freiburg Switzerland.

Since then he has filmed his movies mainly in the US and in English. Most notably "The End of Violence", the award winning music documentary "Buena Vista Social Club" and most recently "The Million Dollar Hotel".

Wim Wenders currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife Donata.

His next project is tentativly titled: "In America."

Works / Projects

A volume that combines Emotion Pictures, The Logic of Images, and The Act of Seeing
2001 Faber & Faber

The Million Dollar Hotel - A Film Book
2000 Schirmer/Mosel Verlag GmBH,München

The Companion Book to the Film
1999 Schirmer/Mosel Verlag GmBH, München

1996 Goethe Institute, München,
Edition Braus Heidelberg

The Diary of an Extraordinary Experience
1995 Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main

1994 Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main
(Einmal - Bilder und Geschichten)

1993 Edizioni Socrates, Rome

1992 Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main

1988 Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main

1987 Schirmer/Mosel Verlag GmBH, München

1986 Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main


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