Walter Heynowski

Walter Heynowski

Director, Writer


Walter Heynowski (1929-2017) was a German film director, writer and producer who was best known for his documentary films about the history of the German Democratic Republic.

Heynowski was born in Berlin in 1929 and began studying at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin in 1947. After graduating, he worked for the DEFA Studio for Documentary Films in East Berlin. Heynowski directed, wrote and produced a number of award-winning documentary films about the history of the GDR, including "The Red Letter" (1959) and "The Wall" (1961).

In the 1960s and 1970s, Heynowski began to direct and produce feature films, including "The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum" (1974) and "The Bread of Life" (1976). He also wrote and directed "The German Doctors" (1984), a documentary about the medical experiments conducted by Nazi doctors on concentration camp prisoners.

Heynowski's films have been praised for their attention to detail and their strong political messages. He was known for his use of slow and precise editing, as well as his ability to draw out the emotional impact of a scene.

In addition to his work as a filmmaker, Heynowski was a professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin and a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He received numerous awards, including the Berlinale Camera Award, the National Film Award of the GDR, and the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. He also served as a jury member at numerous film festivals, including the Berlin International Film Festival and the Munich International Film Festival.

Heynowski's films have been shown at festivals around the world and are considered classics of German cinema. He is remembered for his commitment to social justice and his ability to tell stories that bring out the humanity in his subjects. Heynowski passed away in 2017, leaving behind a legacy of powerful and thought-provoking films.

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