Carsten Rau was born in Hamburg in 1967. While studying political science and history, he already began to work freelance for the NDR TV network. Form 1993 until 2006, he was employed as author, director and reporter in the news and documentary departments. In 2006, Carsten Rau and Hauke Wendler founded their production company Pier 53 Filmproduktion in Hamburg. Together, the filmmakers created numerous award-winning TV documentaries and features, focusing on stories on migration and the refugee situation.
Their first theatrical release was the 2011 documentary "Wadim", which chronicled the tragic fate of a boy from Latvia who came to Germany as a child, and was deported at the age of 18. Ultimately, he took his own life after a desperate odyssey through Europe. "Wadim" was nominated for the German Documentary Award, and it won the Katholische Medienpreis and the Otto-Brenner-Preis "Spezial". Wendler and Rau tackled the topic again in "Tod nach Abschiebung" (2013), which won the 2014 DRK Medienpreis. In 2013, they founded Pier 53 media, which is based in Lower-Saxony.
Their second theatrical release "Willkommen auf Deutsch" premiered at the 2014 DOK-Fest Leipzig. The film explores the consequences that the sheltering of traumatized refugees in rural German towns has on all involved parties. At the Preis der deutschen Filmkritik, "Willkommen auf Deutsch" was nominated in the category Best Screenplay.
The following TV feature "Protokoll einer Abschiebung" (2016) won a "Sehstern" for "Best Documentary and also a Grimme-Award.
Through their company Pier 53, Wendler and Rau next produced Pia Lenz' feature documentary "Alles gut". The film, for which the director accompanied two refugee children during their first year in Germany, premiered at the 2016 Nordische Filmtage Lübeck.
At the same festival, Wendler and Rau also presented their new documentary "Deportation Class", for which they used and expanded upon material from "Protokoll einer Abschiebung". Following several actual cases, the film harrowingly depicts the deportation procedure in Germany. "Deportation Class" won the documentary award at the 2017 Filmfest Schleswig-Holstein and was released theatrically in June 2017.