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Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Henckel von Donnersmarck in 2015
Florian Maria Georg Christian Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck

(1973-05-02) 2 May 1973 (age 51)
OccupationFilm director
Years active1996–present
SpouseChristiane Asschenfeldt
Children3 (including Lara Cosima)
Parent(s)Count Leo-Ferdinand Henckel von Donnersmarck
Countess Anna Maria von Berg

Florian Maria Georg Christian Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck (German: [ˈfloː.ʁi.aːnˈhɛŋ.kl̩fɔnˈdɔ.nɐsˌmaʁk] ; born 2 May 1973)[1] is a German film director. He is best known for writing and directing the 2006 dramatic thriller Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. He also wrote and directed the 2010 romantic thriller The Tourist starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, and the 2018 epic drama Never Look Away.

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    8 007
    85 068
    2 124
    5 568
  • Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck on NEVER LOOK AWAY
  • The Lives of Others (2006) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers
  • The Lives of Others (2006)
  • Never Look Away Q&A with Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
  • The Lives Of Others - Trailer


Early years

Henckel von Donnersmarck was born in 1973 in Cologne, West Germany, into the aristocratic Roman Catholic Henckel von Donnersmarck family. He grew up in New York City, Brussels, Frankfurt, and West Berlin and is fluent in English, German, French, Russian, and Italian.

After graduating at the top of his class from the German section of the European School of Brussels I, he studied Russian literature in St. Petersburg for two years and passed the State Exam for Teachers of Russian as a Foreign Language. He then read philosophy, politics, and economics at New College, Oxford, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree, later promoted to a Master of Arts degree per tradition. He also studied at the University of Television and Film in Munich, receiving a diploma in Film Directing.[2][not specific enough to verify]


The younger son of Leo-Ferdinand Henckel von Donnersmarck, a former president of the German division of the Order of Malta, and literary scout Countess Anna Maria von Berg, Henckel von Donnersmarck holds German and Austrian citizenships. His father's only brother, Gregor Henckel Donnersmarck, is the emeritus abbot at Heiligenkreuz Abbey, a Cistercian monastery in the Vienna Woods where Henckel von Donnersmarck spent a month writing the first draft of The Lives of Others (German: Das Leben der Anderen).[3] His grandfather, Count Friedrich-Carl Henckel von Donnersmarck, was a Thomist philosopher.[4] He is a distant relative of the German filmmaker Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck.[5]

Henckel von Donnersmarck is married to Christiane Asschenfeldt, the first International Executive Director of Creative Commons. They have three children, including Lara Cosima Henckel von Donnersmarck, and currently live in Los Angeles.[6] He stands 2.05 m (6 ft 9 in) tall.[7]


In 1977 (aged 4 or 5), while living as a child in New York, he saw his first movie at the Museum of Modern Art. He expected to see Doctor Dolittle but was "exposed instead to" the German melodrama Varieté. He cites this experience as the start of his interest in film.[8]

In 1996, he won a directing apprenticeship with Richard Attenborough on In Love and War, and then went to study at the Fiction Directing Class of the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München (University of Television and Film Munich), Germany, alma mater of directors as diverse as Wim Wenders, Roland Emmerich and Maren Ade, who was Donnersmarck's classmate. His first short film, Dobermann (which he wrote, produced, directed and edited), broke the school record for the number of awards won by a student production. It became an international festival sensation, and Donnersmarck traveled the festival circuit for over a year.[9][10]

His first feature film Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others), which Donnersmarck spent three years writing, directing and completing, won the European Film Award for Best Film, Best Actor and Best Screenplay in 2006. Donnersmarck won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's award for Best Foreign Film, was nominated for the Golden Globe (which went to Clint Eastwood instead), and on 25 February 2007 won the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.[11] In 2007, Donnersmarck was one of 115 new members to be invited to join AMPAS.[12]

His next film, The Tourist, was released in 2010. Donnersmarck re-wrote, directed and completed his sophomore work in under eleven months, telling Charlie Rose he had wanted a break from writing a dark screenplay about suicide. The Tourist was a thriller starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, and was nominated for three Golden Globes: Best Musical or Comedy, Depp for Actor Musical or Comedy and Jolie for Actress Musical or Comedy.[13][14] It also won three Teen Choice Awards nominations (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress) of which it won two. The film opened to middling number, but eventually ended up grossing US$278.3 million at the worldwide box office,[15] prompting The Hollywood Reporter belatedly to proclaim it an "international hit".[16]

In 2019, his third feature film Never Look Away was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 75th Venice International Film Festival, for a Golden Globe by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and for two Oscars in the Best International Feature Film and Best Cinematography categories at the 91st Academy Awards.[17] This was only the second time in history that a German language film by a German director was nominated for an Oscar in multiple categories, the other film being Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot 36 years prior. It became one of less than two dozen German language features since the end of World War II to surpass one million dollars at the North American box office.[18] Donnersmarck and Christian Petzold are the only directors to have two films in that list. In most international territories, beginning with the Netherlands, Never Look Away became the most successful German language film since The Lives of Others.[19][20]

In 2022, he was set to direct the psychological thriller Vent for Alcon Entertainment.[21]


Short film

Year Title Director Writer Producer Editor Notes
1997 Mitternacht Yes Yes Yes Yes Co-directed with Sebastian Henckel-Donnersmarck
1998 Das Datum Yes Yes Yes Yes
1999 Dobermann Yes Yes No Yes
2002 Der Templer Yes No No No Co-directed with Sebastian Henckel-Donnersmarck


Year Title Notes
2004 Petits mythes urbains Episode "Témoin à charge"

Feature film

Year Title Director Writer Producer
2006 The Lives of Others Yes Yes Co-producer
2010 The Tourist Yes Yes No
2018 Never Look Away Yes Yes Yes


In a 2010 interview with The Guardian, director Howard Davies named Donnersmarck as the artist he most admired.[22]

René Pollesch wrote a play, L'Affaire Martin!, which poked fun at von Donnersmarck. According to Pollesch, the director's parents attended a performance and came backstage to say they liked it.[23]

After meeting him at the Davos World Economic Forum, Jay Nordlinger, writing for National Review, described Donnersmarck as "one of the most impressive people on the planet".[24]

The Europe List, a largest survey on European culture, named Donnersmarck's The Lives of Others second on a list of the best films in European culture, after Roberto Benigni's Life Is Beautiful and followed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amélie.[25]

Kyle Smith writing for National Review ranked Donnersmarck's Never Look Away as the No. 1 Best Film of the Decade 2010–2019.[26]


In 2011, Donnersmarck was honoured by the University of Oxford, his alma mater, as one of its 100 most distinguished members from 10 centuries. The university named 100 streets in Oxford's historical centre after these graduates, with Upper Oxpens Road renamed for Donnersmarck.[27]

Selected awards and nominations


  1. ^ O'Neill, Phelim (7 April 2007). "First sight: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 30 August 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  2. ^ "Startseite – HFF München". University of Television and Film Munich. Archived from the original on 20 April 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  3. ^ McNamee, Dardis (April 2008). "Singing Monks Of Heiligenkreuz". The Vienna Review. Archived from the original on 13 January 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  4. ^ Goodyear, Dana (14 January 2019). "An Artist's Life, Refracted in Film". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 21 October 2020. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Levy, Shawn (19 February 2007). "Interview: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck of The Lives of Others". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on 2 November 2007. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  7. ^ Rottenberg, Josh (7 February 2019). "Never Look Away puts director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck back in the Oscar race". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 14 April 2021. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  8. ^ Rother, Larry (8 December 2010). "German Director Plunges Beyond His Comfort Zone". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 December 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
  9. ^ "Donnersmarcks Dobermann". Stern. 15 March 2007. Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  10. ^ "Dobermann". University of Television and Film Munich. Archived from the original on 25 September 2023. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  11. ^ "German Stasi Drama Wins Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film". Deutsche Welle. 26 February 2007. Archived from the original on 1 April 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  12. ^ "Academy Invites 115 to Become Members". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 18 June 2007. Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  13. ^ "The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards Nominations". Golden Globes. 14 December 2010. Archived from the original on 5 May 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  14. ^ "HFPA – Nominations and Winners 2010". Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  15. ^ "The Tourist (2010)". Box Office Mojo. 24 April 2011. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  16. ^ McClintock, Pamela (2 June 2011). "Box Office Shocker: The Tourist has Become an International Hit". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  17. ^ "Foreign Language Film Nominations 2019 Oscars". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 22 January 2019. Archived from the original on 23 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Foreign Language Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 3 April 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  19. ^ "2019 Netherlands Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  20. ^ "2007 Netherlands Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  21. ^ Grobar, Matt (5 April 2022). "The Lives Of Others Helmer Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck To Direct Psychological Thriller Vent, From Scribe Steven Karczynski, For Alcon Entertainment". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2 February 2024. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  22. ^ Laura Barnett (18 October 2010). "Portrait of the artist: Howard Davies, director". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 February 2023. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  23. ^ J. S. Marcus (17 August 2007). "Theater With a Biting View of Society". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  24. ^ Jay Nordlinger (23 January 2008). "Davos Journal, Part I". National Review. Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  25. ^ "The self-perception of Europeans in comparison with the perception of other countries". Goethe-Institut. Archived from the original on 22 May 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  26. ^ Smith, Kyle (31 December 2019). "The Ten Best Movies of the 2010s". National Review. Archived from the original on 4 June 2023. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  27. ^ "Los Angeles Reception". New College, Oxford. Archived from the original on 23 March 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2024.

Further reading

  • Cooke, Paul (2013). The Lives of Others and Contemporary German Film: A Companion. Walter De Gruyter Incorporated. ISBN 978-3-11-026810-2.
  • von Donnersmarck, Florian Henckel (2006). Das Leben der anderen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. ISBN 3-518-45786-1.
  • von Donnersmarck, Florian Henckel (2007). Das Leben der anderen. Geschwärzte Ausgabe. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. ISBN 978-3-518-45908-9.
  • Nagel, Daniela (2008). Das Drehbuch - ein Drama für die Leinwand? Drehbuchanalyse am Beispiel von Florian Henckel von Donnersmarcks "Das Leben der anderen". Tectum Verlag. ISBN 978-3-8288-9724-3.
  • A list of publications, including many articles

External links

This page was last edited on 25 May 2024, at 16:36
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