Biografie Thomas Heise

    geboren 1955 in Berlin (DDR)
    Allgemeinbildende Polytechnische Oberschule 1961-1971
    Lehre, Facharbeiter für Drucktechnik 1971-1973
    18 Monate Wehrdienst, NVA Luftstreitkräfte Peenemünde 1974-1975
    Regieassistent, DEFA Studio für Spielfilme 1975-1978
    Volkshochschule / Abitur 1976-1978
    Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen Potsdam Babelsberg 1978-1982 (abgebrochen im Ergebnis operativer Bearbeitung durch das MfS 1976-1988)
    Seit 1982 freiberuflich Autor und Regisseur
    Meisterschüler der Akademie der Künste 1987-1990 auf Initiative Heiner Müllers und Gerhard Scheumanns
    Mitglied des Berliner Ensembles 1990-1997, fester Regiemitarbeiter Fritz Marquardts, div. eigene Inszenierungen
    Seit 1997 wieder freiberuflich Autor und Regisseur für Film und Theater
    Seit 2001 Mitglied der Akademie der Künste Berlin-Brandenburg
    Seit 2007 Professor für Film an der Staatlichen Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe

    Biography Thomas Heise

    Thomas Heise was born in Berlin, capital of the German Democratic Republic, in 1955. After school he trained as a printer – ‘in the GDR printer was the profession of choice of social failures’. (Heise in a talk with Erika Richter). After his military service in the East German armed forces he began to work as an assistant director at the DEFA – Studio for Feature Films in Potsdam Babelsberg in 1975. Parallel to his work at the studio he resumed his studies and completed his secondary education. Between 1978 and 1983 Heise studied at the Academy of Film & Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg (HFF/B). His first film, the documentary ‘Wozu denn über diese Leute einen Film’ (‘Why a Film About These People’) – produced entirely with materials bought on the black market – was banned from public screening. Heise broke off his studies. Since 1983 he has worked as a free-lance writer and director in the areas of theatre, audio drama and documentary. Until the end of the GDR all his documentary efforts were however either blocked by what was – in official jargon – called ‘operative means’ or destroyed or confiscated. He started conducting preliminary research for his later films, such as Eisenzeit (‘Iron Age’) or Vaterland (‘Fatherland’) around the same time. Heise found an artistic home at the theatre, where he cooperated closely with author and director Heiner Müller. Between 1987 and 1990 Heise acquired his MA at the Berlin Academy of Fine Art. He was a member of the Berlin Ensemble until 1997, where acted as contributing director for a number of productions. Since the beginning of the 1990s Heise’s documentaries have attracted national and international attention. Since 2007 he is teaching as a Professor for Film and Media Art at Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe.

    Thomas Heise’s earlier films dealt with social phenomena in the GDR and the country’s bureaucratic apparatus. From the late 80s his focus has moved to the changes individuals, families and regional communities have had to undergo in the aftermath of the German reunification. The works of the filmmaker encompass a wide range of contemporary socially relevant topics such as privatisation, the re-organisation of the formerly industrial sphere, unemployment and rightwing radicalism to name but a few.

    Heise’s documentary works are characterised by his precise and insistent way of looking at things. Rather than exploiting or misrepresenting his characters, he takes the time necessary to build up a relationship with them, but stops short of over-identification. ‘Wozu denn über diese Leute einen Film’ (‘Why a Film About These People’) the title of his first completed short documentary has also become a guiding principle of his work.

    Heise’s films show people that have been marginalized by society, yet their lives are the site where historical developments converge – the East German neo-Nazis out of the Stau (Jammed) films, the spy out of Barluschke, the rebellious East German teenagers out of Eisenzeit or the little village, marked by traces of German history in Vaterland. Heise brings the multiple social, political and historical undercurrents of life in today’s Germany to light.

    Works (assortement)

    DIE LAGE / CONDITION, documentary-film, 73′, b-w, HDCAM, scipt, director
    camera: Peter Badel, Robert Nickolaus, Maxim Wolfram

    SONNENSYSTEM / SOLAR SYSTEM, documentary-film, 100’, HDCAM, DVD, script, director, producer
    camera: Robert Nickolaus, Jutta Tränkle, René Frölke

    IM GARTEN / IN THE GARDEN, short-documentary, 14’ , HDCAM, DVD, script, director
    camera: Peter Badel, Till Vielrose

    MATERIAL / MATERIAL, documentary-film, 164’ color / b-w, HDCAM, DIGIBETA, DVD, script, director, partly camera
    camera: Sebastian Richter, Peter Badel, Thomas Heise, Jutta Tränkle, Börres Weiffenbach

    KINDER. WIE DIE ZEIT VERGEHT. / CHILDRENS. AS TIME FLIES., documentary-film, 35mm, DVD, 86′, script, director
    camera: Börres Weiffenbach

    IM GLÜCK (NEGER) / LUCKY. NIGGERS., documentary-film, 35 mm, DVD, 90′, script and director,
    camera: Peter Badel

    MEIN BRUDER / MY BROTHER, documentary-film 35 mm, DVD 60′, script and director
    camera: Peter Badel

    DER AUSLÄNDER / THE FOREIGNER, documentary-film, Digi BETA, DVD, 37′, script, production, director, camera

    PLAY VISCONTI (LA CADUTA DEGLI DEI), video-choreography, installation, Digi BETA, 9 Laptops, 9 x 11′, conzept, arrangement, shown in filmmuseum Berlin

    VATERLAND / FATHERLAND, documentary-film, 35 mm, 100′, script and director
    camera: Peter Badel

    MEINE KNEIPE / MY DRINKING HOLE, documentary-film, TV , Digi Beta, 60′, script and director
    camera: Peter Badel

    NEUSTADT (STAU – DER STAND DER DINGE) / NEWTOWN (JAM –STATE OF THINGS), documentary-film, Digi Beta, 35 mm, 90′, script and director
    camera: Peter Badel

    BARLUSCHKE, documentary-film, 16 mm, 90′, script and director
    camera: Peter Badel

    STAU – JETZT GEHT’S LOS / JAM – LET’S GET MOVING, documentary-film, 16 mm, 90′, script and director
    camera: Sebastian Richter

    EISENZEIT / IRONAGE, documentary-film, 16 / 35 mm, Digibeta, 90′, script and director
    camera: Sebastian Richter

    IMBISS – SPEZIAL / SNACK BAR – SPECIAL, documentary-film, 35 mm, 30′, script and director
    camera: Sebastian Richter

    ARILA SIEGERT BACHPRÄLUDIEN / ARILA SIEGERT BACH-PRELUDES, dance-documentation, Beta SP, 40′, conzept, director, academy of arts/dance-archive
    camera: Peter Badel

    VOLKSPOLIZEI – 1985 / POLICE DEPARTMENT – 1985, documentary-film 16 mm, Digibeta and Beta-SP, 58′, no filmprint, script and director (banned in East-Germany till 1990, Reconstruction on Digibeta 2001)
    camera: Peter Badel

    DAS HAUS – 1984 / THE HOUSE – 1984, documentary-film 16 mm, 56′, Digibeta and Beta-SP, no filmprint, script and director (banned in East-Germany till 1990, Reconstruction on Digibeta 2001)
    camera: Peter Badel

    ERFINDER 82 / INVENTOR 82, documentary-film 35 mm, 20′, script and director (destroyed by the DEFA-studio for documentaryfilm)
    camera: Peter Badel

    WOZU DENN ÜBER DIESE LEUTE EINEN FILM? / WHY A FILM ABOUT SUCH PEOPLE?, documentary-film, 16 mm, 30′ script and director (forbidden for public screening in East germany till 1990)
    camera: Dagmar Mandt

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