Wim Wenders
Photo: Beata Siewicz

Wim Wenders

Profile

Wim Wenders is considered one of the most important representatives of contemporary cinema. In addition to multi-award-winning feature films, such as Paris, Texas and Wings of Desire, he has also created several innovative documentaries, among them the Oscar-nominated Buena Vista Social Club, PINA or The Salt of the Earth. His works in Japan include Tokyo-Ga, Notebook on Cities and Clothes and the photo project Journey to Onomichi. Wenders is a director, producer, photographer and author; his photographic work has been exhibited in museums around the world. He has published numerous photography books and collections of essays. He and his wife Donata Wenders live in Berlin. In 2012, they founded the non-profit Wim Wenders Foundation that brings together his life’s work by making it permanently accessible to the public and by helping young filmmakers with the Wim Wenders Grant for innovative storytelling. He is currently working on a feature film in conjunction with THE TOKYO TOILET, a highly awarded design and art project that features public facilities designed by the most renowned architects, part of the city's ongoing renewal process.

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Wim Wenders came to international prominence as one of the pioneers of the New German Cinema during the 1970’s and is now considered to be one of the most important representatives of contemporary cinema. In addition to his many feature films, his work as a scriptwriter, director, producer, photographer and author also encompasses an abundance of innovative documentary films, international photo exhibitions and numerous monographs, film books and essay collections.
His career as a filmmaker began with his debut feature The Goalies’ Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (1971), after which Wenders turned to shooting his “road movie trilogy”, Alice in the Cities (1974), Wrong Move (1975) and King of the Road (1975), in which the protagonists try to come to terms, among other things, with their rootlessness in post-war Germany.
His international breakthrough came with The American Friend (1977). Since then Wenders has continued to work both in Europe and the USA as well as in Latin America and Asia and has been honored with countless awards at festivals around the world, including: the Golden Palm and the British Film Academy Award for Paris, Texas (1984); the Director’s Prize in Cannes for Wings of Desire (1987); the Golden Lion in Venice for The State of Things (1982); and the Silver Bear for The Million Dollar Hotel (2000) at the Berlin International Film Festival. His documentary films Buena Vista Social Club (1999), PINA (2011), and The Salt of the Earth (2014) have all been nominated for an Oscar.
Wenders’ works in Japan include Tokyo-Ga, Notebook on Cities and Clothes and the photo project Journey to Onomichi.
The medium of photography has accompanied Wenders’ artistic work from the beginning. The starting point for the pursuit of an independent body of photographic work was the photo series Written in the West. It came into being during the preparations for his film Paris, Texas (1984), on Wenders’ journey crisscrossing the American West. His second large photo exhibition Pictures from the Search of the Earth lead Wenders to countries such as Australia, Cuba, Israel, Armenia, and Japan – always in search of images that seek to capture the essence of a place. Wenders’ photographs have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the entire world since 1986.
In 2019, Wenders presented a monumental cinematographic installation based on his film work titled (E)Motion, projected onto the interior structure of the Nave of the Grand Palais in Paris. Two or Three Things I Know about Edward Hopper, a 3D film installation by Wim Wenders premiered in the beginning of 2020 as part of the exhibition Edward Hopper in the Fondation Beyeler. His 3D installation Présence about French artist Claudine Drai premiered at the Venice Art Biennale in April 2022.
Among other awards and positions, Wenders holds honorary doctorates from the Sorbonne in Paris, the Faculty of Theology at the University of Fribourg, the University of Louvain, the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Catania and a doctor of letters of the University of Oxford. Wim Wenders and his wife Donata Wenders live in Berlin. In 2012, they founded the non-profit Wim Wenders Foundation that brings together his life’s work by making it permanently accessible to the public and by helping young filmmakers with the Wim Wenders Grant for innovative storytelling.
He is currently working on a feature film in conjunction with THE TOKYO TOILET, a highly awarded design and art project that features public facilities designed by the most renowned architects, part of the city's ongoing renewal process. The leading character will be played by Koji Yakusho.

Biography

  1945 Born in Düsseldorf, Germany
  1966 Moved to Paris with the aim of becoming a painter and encountered movies
  1967 Entered the Munich University of Television and Film after returning to Germany, and began his career as film director
  1970 Feature directorial debut with Summer in the City
  1972 FIPRESCI-Prize at Venice International Film Festival: The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (1971)
  1976 Established the production company, Road Movies
  1982 Golden Lion in Venice International Film Festival: The State of Things
  1984 Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival: Paris, Texas
Member of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin
  1987 Best Director in Cannes Film Festival: Wing of Desire
  1989 Honorary doctorate from the University Sorbonne
  1991 Special Invitational Screening of the Tokyo International Film Festival: Until the End of the World
  1993 Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et des Letters, France
  1995 Honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Theology Iniversity of Fribourg, Switzerland
  1996-2020 President of The European Film Academy
  2000 First Nominated for Best Feature Documentary at Academy Awards: Buena Vista Social Club (1999)
Jury Prize Silver Bear at the International Film festival Berlin: The Million Dollar Hotel
  2003 The Culture Prize of the German Society of Photography (DGPh)
  2004-17 Professor of Narrative Film, University of Fine Arts Hamburg (HFBK)
  2005 Honorary doctorate from Catholic University Leuven, Belgium
  2006 Order Pour le Mérite, Order of Merit of the Federal Republic, Germany
  2008 Established Wenders Images (photo studio of Wim and Donata Wenders)
  2011 Best Documentary at European Film Awards, and nominated for Best Feature Documentary at Academy Awards: PINA
  2012 Established Wim Wenders Foundation
  2014 Un Certain Regard Special Prize in Cannes Film Festival, and nominated for Best Feature Documentary at Academy Awards: The Salt of the Earth
  2015 Honorary Golden Bear at Berlin International Film Festival
  2017 Debut as an opera stage director with Georges Bizet’s Pêcheurs de Perles at the Berlin State Opera
  2021 Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award at Sarajevo Film Festival
  2022 Honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford