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Tom Tykwer

Tom Tykwer was born in Wuppertal in 1965 and made his first Super-8 film when he was eleven years old. From 1980 on he worked in various independent arthouse cinemas as a projectionist. In 1988 he became the programmer at Berlin's Moviemento cinema, as well as by doing some script analyzing and shooting TV profiles of a number of different directors to make ends meet. Around this time he also met cameraman Frank Griebe, who has worked on nearly all Tykwer's film projects right up to the present day.

Following short films Because (1990) and Epilogue (1992), Tykwer made Deadly Maria in 1993, his first full-length feature. The film premiered at the 1993 Hof Film Festival, and thereafter screened at over 60 different film festivals around the world. Actors included Nina Petri, Sepp Bierbichler and Joachim Król, as well as a number of others who would come to work regularly with Tykwer.

Together with Stefan Arndt, Wolfgang Becker und Dani Levy, Tykwer founded the production company X Filme Creative Pool in 1994. Arndt, one of the producers on Deadly Maria, would eventually build up a long-standing production team for Tykwer – in conjunction with co-managing director, Maria Köpf.

Tykwer wrote the screenplay for Life is All You Get together with Wolfgang Becker in 1995-96, before going on to direct his own second full-length feature, Winter Sleepers (1997). One of the most important new contacts made during the course of this film was with sound designer and sound mixer Matthias Lempert, who since that time has done the sound for all of Tykwer's films.

In 1998 Tykwer made Run Lola Run, the film that gave X Filme their first international hit. In spite of, or perhaps because of, its unusual narrative structure, the film went on to become the most successful German film of that year. It has won over 30 prizes and awards around the world.

Tykwer's fourth film, The Princess and the Warrior (2000), in which Tykwer worked once again with Franka Potente – who played the character of Lola in the previous film – resulted in the successful debut of the Tykwer's new distribution company, X Verleih AG. The film also marked the first time the director worked with both editor Mathilde Bonnefoy and set designer Uli Hanisch, the beginning of a highly fruitful creative relationship that has endured until today.

In 2002 came Heaven, Tykwer's first English language film, based on a script by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski. Produced in co-production by X Filme and Miramax with Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi in the leading roles, the film opened the 2002 International Berlin Film Festival.

In August 2002 Tykwer made the short film True with Natalie Portman and Melchior Beslon for Paris, Je T'aime, a compilation film project in which very different international directors were asked to film a short love story set in one of Paris' 20 arrondissements.

After almost four years of work Tykwer's most elaborate film to date, Perfume, was released in cinemas on 14 September 2006. While the film received some controversial comments in the press, the film version of Patrick Süsskind's bestseller, produced by Bernd Eichinger and with actors such as Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman and Rachel Hurd-Wood in the leads, gave Tykwer his biggest box-office success to date. The film remained in the international cinema charts for several weeks, achieving blockbuster success particularly in Europe, Asia and South America.

In September 2008, Tykwer directed the short film The Inside of Things, part of Alexander Kluges' compendium DVD project of Karl Marx's Capital.

In October shooting began on the short film Feierlich Travels, Tykwer's contribution to the compilation film project Germany 09, in which more than a dozen German filmmakers gave their take on the current social, cultural and political situation in Germany.

In November 2008 Tykwer oversaw the shooting of the Kenyan-German low budget production Soul Boy, a film shot almost exclusively in Africa's largest slum, Kibera (Nairobi). Tykwer and young female Ghanian-Kenyan director Hawa Essuman, made the film based on a script Tykwer wrote together with the Nairobi-based writer Billy Kahora.

The projects on which Tom Tykwer has worked as producer for X Filme include Gigantic (1999, director Sebastian Schipper), Soundless (2004, director Mennan Yapo), A Friend of Mine (2006, director Sebastian Schipper) and The Heart is a Dark Forest (2007, director Nicolette Krebitz).

Note: This profile was written in or before 2009.
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Tom Tykwer Facts

OccupationDirector, Composer
BirthdayMay 23, 1965 (56)
BirthplaceWuppertal, Germany
Height6' 2" (1m88)  How tall is Tom Tykwer compared to you?

Selected Filmography

The International
Cloud Atlas
Run Lola Run
A Hologram For The King
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Cloud Atlas +Bonus Features
Paris Je T'aime
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