Weitere Namen
Niklaus Franz Josef Schilling (Geburtsname)
Cast, Director, Assistant director, Screenplay, Director of photography, Production design, Editing, Sound, Producer
Basel, Schweiz Berlin

Biography

Niklaus Schilling, born on 23 April 1944 in Basel, Switzerland, said that he developed an enthusiasm for the staged, not least because of his Roman Catholic upbringing: from an early age, he was fascinated by the colourful church services he attended with his parents, as well as church film screenings: "My first serious film experiences took place at Sunday missionary film screenings in the early 1950s. It was not uncommon for the film to tear or burn: an incredible experience..."

After graduating from secondary school, he attended the School of Applied Arts in Basel. From 1960 to 1963, he completed an apprenticeship as a (window) decorator in a department store. At the same time, Schilling developed an irrepressible passion for the cinema, watching films ranging from French auteur films to Hollywood mainstream and finally acquiring 8 mm film equipment including a tape recorder, with which he carried out his first film experiments: for example, he made "Cosmos Action Painting" (1961), a short documentary film about his older brother Alfons and his "painting discs", and the short film "Reinigungsanlage II" (1962), which, like his first film, premiered at the Göttingen Film Festival.

Schilling finally got a job as an assistant at a film production company in Zurich specialising in industrial and advertising films. He also worked as a camera assistant and cameraman on television reports for ITN and ABC (including "100 Years of the First Ascent of the Matterhorn").

At the end of 1965, Schilling moved from Switzerland to Munich. Here he worked briefly as a production assistant at Kruse-Film (which had created the legendary "HB-Männchen", among other things) and eventually joined the so-called Munich group around Klaus Lemke and Rudolf Thome. In the following years, he worked as a cameraman on films by Lemke, Thome, Marran Gosov, May Spils and Jean-Marie Straub, among others. He worked closely with Hubs Hagen, who was responsible for the camera work, while Schilling was primarily responsible for the lighting.

In 1971, Niklaus Schilling made his debut as a feature film director with "Nachtschatten" ("Nightshade"). The film was produced by Elke Haltaufderheide without any funding with the support of a financier. Schilling took on the distribution work himself. He made his second feature-length cinema film five years later with "Die Vertreibung aus dem Paradies" ("The Expulsion from Paradise"). This film was also produced by Haltaufderheide's company Visual Film, a collaboration that lasted until Schilling's death: Haltaufderheide produced all of his works, acted in some of them and was also involved in developing the material. In 1977, Schilling's "Die Vertreibung aus dem Paradies" screened in competition at the Berlinale, and the following year his romantic drama "Rheingold" ("Rhinegold") received two German Federal Film Awards. The tragicomedy "Der Willi-Busch-Report" ("The Willi Busch Report"), about a newspaper publisher who tries to save his provincial paper from ruin with exaggerated reports, was honoured with the Max Ophüls Prize in 1980.

From 1981 onwards, Schilling experimented intensively with the possible uses of video technology for cinema feature films. In 1983, he used this technology to realise "Die Frau ohne Körper und der Projektionist"; the TV documentary "Abschied vom Zelluloid" (Farewell to Celluloid) depicted his work on this feature film. Three years later, he set up a "Studio for the Electronic Image".
After the chamber play "Dormire" (1984), the experimental drama "Der Atem" (1989) and "Deutschfieber" (1992), a sequel to the "Willi Busch Report" set against the backdrop of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Schilling directed his last cinema film with the drama "Die blinde Kuh" ("The Blind Cow", 1996).

Niklaus Schilling died unexpectedly on 6 May 2016 in Berlin at the age of 72.

Filmography

1994-1996
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
1991/1992
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Editing
1987-1989
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Set design
  • Animation
  • Editing
  • Sound editor
1986
  • Cast
  • Voice
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
1984/1985
  • Cast
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
1983/1984
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Story
  • Director of photography
  • Still photography
  • Editing
1981/1982
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Editing
1981/1982
  • Participation
  • Voice
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
  • Sound
  • Audio mixing
1979
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Editing
1977/1978
  • Director
  • Screenplay
1976/1977
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Editing
1971/1972
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Editing
1970/1971
  • Story
1970
  • Director of photography
1969
  • Director of photography
1969/1970
  • Director of photography
1969
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
  • Producer
1968
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director of photography
1968
  • Director of photography
1967
  • Cast
1967
  • Director of photography
1967
  • Director of photography
1966
  • Director of photography
1967
  • Assistant director
  • Director of photography
1967
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Dialogue
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
1967
  • Director of photography
1967
  • Director of photography
1967
  • Director of photography
1966/1967
  • Director of photography
1966
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Dialogue
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
1966
  • Assistant camera
  • Set design
1966
  • Director of photography
1965
  • Director of photography
1966
  • Director of photography
1966
  • Assistant camera
1965
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
  • Producer
1964
  • Director of photography
1962
  • Director
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
1961
  • Director
  • Director of photography
  • Editing