Sönke Wortmann

Sönke Wortmann

Darsteller, Regie, Regie-Assistenz, Drehbuch, Kamera, Schnitt, Produzent
*25.08.1959 Marl

Biography

Sönke Wortmann was born August 25, 1959, in Marl. After his graduation from high school, he initially aimed for a career as a professional football player but ended his career after three years despite promising results for the lack of lasting ambition. He then started to study sociology but soon realized that this was not his vocation, either. Thus, he successfully applied at Munich's Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen (HFF) in 1983/84. At HFF, Wortmann finished several short films, including "Nachtfahrer" (1985) that won a special award at London's Royal College of Art where Wortmann studied for one year, and the 50-minute long film "Drei D" (1988), an ironic-reflexive film within a film about a film student who shoots his graduation film about a film student who shoots his graduation film, that was nominated for the Student Academy Awards.

After his graduation in 1988, Wortmann kept afloat with occasional jobs, for instance as a cab driver, and was seen as an actor in the TV series "Eine glückliche Familie".

In 1990, Sönke Wortmann made his feature-length debut with the award-winning TV comedy "Eine Wahnsinnsehe", starring Barbara Auer and Thomas Heinze. One year later, he directed the comedy "Allein unter Frauen" ("Alone Among Women"). Originally produced as a TV broadcast, the film about a macho who by necessity has to find accommodation in a women's flat share found a distributor and turned out to be a box-office hit.

His second film for the movie screen, "Kleine Haie" ("Acting It Out"), about the adventures of three penniless drama students, also turned out to be a box-office hit and garnered a certain cult following: In several German movie theatres, the film was shown for a whole year. Furthermore, leading actors Jürgen Vogel, Kai Wiesinger, and Gedeon Burkhard, as well as Armin Rohde in a supporting role, shot to fame because of their appearances in the film.

Yet, Wortmann did not do himself a favor with his next film. Although the road movie "Mr. Bluesman" (1993) featured an international cast, it hurt Wortmann's reputation as Germany's new prodigal director, received mainly negative reviews and even flopped at the box office.

But already one year later, Wortmann landed one of the greatest box-office hits of post-war German cinema: "Der bewegte Mann" ("Maybe, Maybe Not"), produced by Bernd Eichinger and based on a comic by Ralf König, picked up the basic principle of "Allein unter Frauen" and put a Munich super macho in a gays' flat share. The amiable and quirky comedy attracted more than 6.5 million viewers to German movie theatres and won the 1995 Ernst Lubitsch award.

Wortmann's next film, the star-studded film version of Hera Lind's novel "Das Superweib" ("The Super-Wife", 1996), also turned out to be a box-office hit despite receiving fairly negative reviews. However, his film version of "Der Campus" ("Campus") written by Dietrich Schwanitz, a satire about a university professor (Heiner Lauterbach) who is wrongly accused of raping a female student and is in danger of drowning in the undertow of "political correctness" and his spotlight seeking colleagues, did not meet the success of its predecessors.

Furthermore, Wortmann's ambitious ensemble tragicomedy "St. Pauli Nacht" (1998) flopped at the box office despite receiving positive reviews. Wortmann then directed the comedy "Der Himmel von Hollywood" ("The Hollywood Sign", 2001) in the United States. Although the film featured a cast of veteran Hollywood performers including Tom Berenger, Rod Steiger, and Burt Reynolds, it received devastating reviews and did not enter the movie screen until mid-2004 after Wortmann had celebrated another box-office hit with "Das Wunder von Bern" ("The Miracle of Bern", 2003) – however, the film still did not turn out as a success.

In contrast, Wortmann's epic about the fictitious surrounding circumstances of the unexpected world cup victory of the German national football team in Bern in 1954 received positive feedback from critics and movie goers alike. The film won the Film Award in Silver as "Best film" at the 2004 German Film Awards. Furthermore, Sönke Wortmann won the 2004 Bavarian Film Award as "Best director".

This film (as well as his beginnings as a football player) turned Wortmann into Germany's "soccer film" expert. Thus, he was authorized to accompany the German national football team with his camera during the entire tournament of the 2006 Football World Cup in Germany. The documentary film "Deutschland. Ein Sommermärchen" ("Germany: A Summer's Fairytale", 2006) that besides its look "behind the scenes" also captures the atmosphere among the fans turned out to be an enormous box-office hit with more than four million viewers. Furthermore, the film won the Grimme Award in the category "Documentary/Cultural".

For this next project, Sönke Wortmann turned to a completely different topic – although he got around to the project rather by accident: After the production company Constantin-Film had removed the original director Volker Schlöndorff from the film version of the best-selling novel "Die Päpstin" ("Pope Joan") by Donna Woolfolk Cross because of differences, Wortmann was put in charge of directing the historical drama. In "Die Päpstin" (2009), Johanna Wokalek embodies the legendary woman who disguised as a man was believed to be elected pope in the 9th century. The film turned out to be a box-office success and was nominated for four German film Awards.

Wortmann directed the comedy "Hochzeitsvideo" (2012) before helming the much-anticipated adaptation of Charlotte Roche's bestselling novel "Schoßgebete" ("Wrecked", 2014). His next project was "Frau Müller muss weg" ("Ms. Mueller Must Go", 2014), a comedy about a parent-teacher meeting which spins out of control.

Wortmann's next project was the documentary "Deutschland. Dein Selbstporträt" (2016), which was entirely made from amateur footage submitted by German citizens. After helming the TV miniseries "Charité" (2017) about the famous Berlin hospital of the same name, Wortmann directed "Sommerfest" (2017), an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Frank Goosen.

Filmography

2017/2018 Der Vorname
Director
 
2016/2017 Sommerfest
Director, Screenplay
 
2016/2017 Lommbock
Producer
 
2015/2016 Deutschland. Dein Selbstporträt
Director
 
2015-2017 Charité
Director
 
2014/2015 Frau Müller muss weg
Director
 
2014 Die Mannschaft
Co-Producer
 
2013/2014 Schoßgebete
Director, Screenplay
 
2011/2012 Das Hochzeitsvideo
Director
 
2010/2011 Ruhm
Producer
 
2010/2011 Eine Insel namens Udo
Co-Producer
 
2008/2009 Die Päpstin
Director, Screenplay
 
2008/2009 Hangtime
Producer
 
2007/2008 Hardcover
Producer
 
2007 Die besten Frauen der Welt
Producer
 
2007 Münchner (Filmfest-) Geschichten
Participation
 
2006 Deutschland. Ein Sommermärchen
Director, Screenplay, Director of photography
 
2005/2006 Freunde für immer - Das Leben ist rund
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
2005 Arnies Welt
Producer
 
2005 Stoppt Gewalt und Randale
Director
 
2004/2005 Der Schatz der weißen Falken
Producer
 
2002/2003 Das Wunder von Bern
Director, Screenplay, Producer
 
2000/2001 Der Himmel von Hollywood
Director
 
2000/2001 Lammbock
Producer
 
2000 Bernd Eichinger. Wenn das Leben zum Kino wird
Participation
 
1999/2000 Auf der Couch
Producer
 
1998/1999 St. Pauli Nacht
Director
 
1998 Kai Rabe gegen die Vatikankiller
Cast
 
1997/1998 Der Campus
Director, Screenplay
 
1996/1997 Knockin' On Heaven's Door
Cast
 
1996 Charleys Tante
Director
 
1996 Hollywood, Germany - Die amerikanische Herausforderung
Participation
 
1996 Harald
Cast
 
1995/1996 Das Superweib
Director
 
1994 Der bewegte Mann
Director, Screenplay
 
1992/1993 Mr. Bluesman
Director
 
1991/1992 Kleine Haie
Director, Screenplay
 
1990/1991 Allein unter Frauen
Director
 
1990/1991 Moving
Cast
 
1990 Unter Freunden
Producer
 
1989/1990 Eine Wahnsinnsehe
Director
 
1989 With Love from Winston
Line producer
 
1988 Drei D
Director, Screenplay, Co-Producer
 
1988 Die Hochzeit des Figaro
Director
 
1987-1993 Eine glückliche Familie
Cast
 
1987 Noblesse Oblige
Assistant director, Producer
 
1986 Fotofinish
Director, Screenplay
 
1986 Reise für den blassen Mann
Director
 
1985 Nachtfahrer
Director, Screenplay, Editing
 
1984 Anderthalb (Gelsenkirchen Mon Amour)
Director, Screenplay