Weitere Namen
Michael Alexander (Weiterer Name)
Cast, Director, Screenplay, Director of photography, Editing, Producer, Unit production manager
Berlin Berlin

Biography

Michael Ballhaus was born on August the 5th 1935 in Berlin as the son of two actors. After a two-year apperenticeship, he first worked as a stage photographer, before he started his carrer as a cinematographer for German network television in 1959.

In 1970, after shooting numerous TV-productions and some feature films, Ballhaus teamed up with cinema prodigy Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Their immensely productive professional relationship, which lasted for eight years, spawned 15 feature-length films, among them seminal works like "Whity", "Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant" ("The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant"), "Despair" and "Die Ehe der Maria Braun" ("The Marriage of Maria Braun").

In the early 1980s, Ballhaus started working on English-language productions, including films by John Sayles and James Foley as well as Volker Schlöndorff's adaptation of Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman".

Most importantly, it was his camerawork for Martin Scorsese (who collaborated with Ballhaus on almost all of his movies from 1984 on) which established Ballhaus as one of the most respected and sought-after directors of photography in Hollywood. Consequently, he moved with his family to the United States, and has yet never worked as DoP on a German feature film again.

Although being in constant demand by directors like Wolfgang Petersen, Robert Redford, Mike Nichols and Barry Levinson, Ballhaus still found the time to teach film courses at the University of Hamburg in the mid-1990s. Ballhaus to this day is one of the most prolific and respected German artists in Hollywood.

At the beginning of 2007, Michael Ballhaus announced his retirement from the DoP chair : At the age of 72, he declared that he would like to focus more on teaching and producing in the future. The same year, he incepted the "Ballhaus-Projekt", an environmentalist initiative campaigning for the responsible use of energy resources and the protection of the world's climate.

In October 2009, Ballhaus, who over the years has taught at several film schools, and Achim Poulheim became co-heads of the camera department at the Hamburg Media School. He continued his teaching engagements: Since 2010, Ballhaus has been head of the cinematography department at the HFF Munich, and in 2015, he was a guest professor at Leuphana University.

Ballhaus presented his documentary "In Berlin" (co-directed by Ciro Cappellari) at the 2009 Berlin IFF. His first work as a director, it is a personal portrait of his birthplace, in which celebrities and inhabitants present their own perspective on the city. Ballhaus and his sister Ulla next made the TV documentary "Unser Franken" (2010), in which they portray Franconia and its people.

Ballhaus once more served as DoP, shooting Sherry Hormann's "3096 Tage" ("3096 Days"), a dramatized account of the kidnapping of Natascha Kampbusch, who was held captive for more than eight years.

Michael Ballhaus's second son Florian (born 1965), is also a successful cinematographer in the US.

On April 12, 2017, Michael Ballhaus died in his native city Berlin at age 81.

 

FILMOGRAFIE

2012/2013
  • Director of photography
2011
  • Participation
2010
  • Director
2009-2011
  • Associate producer
2008/2009
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
2008
  • Line producer
2004
  • Director of photography
2002/2003
  • Participation
2002-2005
  • Participation
2000
  • Director of photography
1998/1999
  • Executive producer
1997
  • Director of photography
1996/1997
  • Director of photography
1996
  • Director of photography
1994/1995
  • Director of photography
1994/1995
  • Participation
1985
  • Director of photography
1983/1984
  • Director of photography
1983/1984
  • Director of photography
1982/1983
  • Director of photography
1981/1982
  • Director of photography
1981/1982
  • Director of photography
1980/1981
  • Director of photography
1980
  • Director of photography
1980
  • Director of photography
1980
  • Director of photography
1980
  • Director of photography
1980
  • Director of photography
1979/1980
  • Director of photography
1979/1980
  • Director of photography
1979/1980
  • Director of photography
  • Unit production manager
1978/1979
  • Director of photography
1978/1979
  • Director of photography
1978/1979
  • Director of photography
1978
  • Cast
  • Director of photography
1978
  • Director of photography
1977/1978
  • Cast
1977/1978
  • Director of photography
1977/1978
  • Director of photography
1977
  • Director of photography
1976/1983
  • Director of photography
1976/1977
  • Director of photography
1976-1978
  • Cast
1976
  • Director of photography
1976
  • Director of photography
1976
  • Director of photography
1976
  • Director of photography
1976
  • Director of photography
1975/1976
  • Director of photography
1975/1976
  • Director of photography
1975/1976
  • Cast
  • Director of photography
1975
  • Director of photography
1975
  • Director of photography
1975
  • Director of photography
1974/1975
  • Director of photography
1974/1975
  • Director of photography
1974
  • Director of photography
1974
  • Director of photography
1974
  • Director of photography
1974
  • Director of photography
1973/1974
  • Director of photography
1973
  • Director of photography
1973
  • Director of photography
1973
  • Director of photography
1972/1973
  • Director of photography
1972
  • Director of photography
1972
  • Director of photography
1972
  • Director of photography
1972
  • Director of photography
1972
  • Director of photography
1971/1972
  • Director of photography
1971
  • Director of photography
1971
  • Assistant camera
1971
  • Director
  • Director of photography
1970/1971
  • Director of photography
1970/1971
  • Director of photography
1970/1971
  • Director
  • Director of photography
  • Producer
1969/1970
  • Director of photography
1969
  • Director of photography
1968/1969
  • Director of photography
1968/1969
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director of photography
1966
  • Director of photography
1965/1966
  • Director of photography
1965/1966
  • Director of photography
1965
  • Director of photography
1964
  • Director of photography
1963
  • Director of photography
1961
  • Director of photography
1960/1961
  • Director of photography
1960/1961
  • Director of photography
1960
  • Director of photography
1959-1961
  • Director of photography
1959
  • Director of photography
1959
  • Director of photography
1959
  • Director of photography