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Romuald Karmakar

Cast, Director, Assistant director, Screenplay, Director of photography, Editing, Sound, Producer
Wiesbaden

Biography

Romuald Karmakar was born in Wiesbaden on February 15 1965. The son of a French mother and an Iranian father lived with his parents in Athens from 1977 until 1982, and then relocated with his family to Munich, where he graduated from high school in 1984. The same year, he bought a Super 8 camera and started to make short films, including "Eine Freundschaft in Deutschland" (1985), in which he plays a young Adolf Hitler. The short documentary "Coup de boule" (1987) chronicles a bizarre ritual in a French army camp, where recruits bang their heads against the doors and lockers of their barracks. His short documentary "Demontage IX, Unternehmen Stahlglocke" won the award for Best German Short at the renowned Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen.

Karmakar returned to military surroundings for his first feature-length documentary: "Warheads" (DE/FR 1992) follows a German veteran of the foreign legion and an English mercenary during their stays in regions like French-Guyana and the battle-torn Croatia. It garnered very positive reviews.

Karmaker's final breakthrough came with his first dramatic feature "Der Totmacher", an intimate study of serial killer Fritz Haarmann, who was played in the film by Götz George. The film premiered in the competition of the Venice IFF and George won the festival's Best Actor Award. At the German Film Awards, "Der Totmacher" took home the trophies for Best Film, Best Actor and Best Direction. It was also nominated for the European Film Awards.

Karmakar presented "Das Frankfurter Kreuz" (1998), an episodic drama set in a seedy dive bar on New Year's Eve, in the Panorama section of the 1998 Berlin IFF. The film marked his first collaboration with actor Manfred Zapatka, whom Karmakar has admired since Zapatka's portrayal of a pimp in Sohrab Sahid Saless' "Utopia" (1983). He again worked with the actor on "Das Himmler-Projekt" (2000), in which Zapatka recites the infamous three hour speech Heinrich Himmler held in front of 92 SS generals in 1943. The film premiered in the Forum section of the Berlin IFF. It went on to win the 3Sat-Dokumentarfilmpreis, and Karmakar and Zapatka also received a special prize at the Grimme Awards.

Despite mixed reviews, Karmakar's next drama feature "Manila" (2000), which portrays a group of travelers stranded at the Manila airport, garnered several awards, including the Silver Leopard at the Locarno IFF and the award for Best Screenplay (for Karmakar and his co-authour Bodo Kirchhoff) at the Bavarian Film Awards.

Following the experimental music documentary "196 BPM" (2002), Karmakar premiered two new films at the 2004 Berlin IFF: His much acclaimed documentary "Land der Vernichtung" (2004), which addresses the involvement of a Hamburg police battalion in the murder of 1,7 million Jews in Poland in 1942/1943, screened in the Panorama section of the festival. Meanwhile, the romantic drama "Die Nacht singt ihre Lieder" (2004), starring Frank Giering, Anne Ratte-Polle, Manfred Zapatka and Marthe Keller, screened in the official competition, but had a lukewarm critical reception.

After releasing the music documentary "Between the Devil and the Wide Blue Sea" (2005), Karmakar re-teamed with actor Manfred Zapatka for the project "Hamburger Lektionen": Similar in form to the "Das Himmler-Projekt", the film presents a scenic reading of lectures originally held by a radical Islamic cleric in Hamburg.

Karmakar contributed the segment "Ramses", a portrait of an Iranian bar owner in Berlin's red-light district, to the omnibus film "Deutschland '09 - 13 kurze Filme zur Lage der Nation" (2009). With "Ramses", Karmakar also paid tribute to "Utopia", one of his personal favorite (which he also requested to be screened in a retrospective dedicated to him in Vienna in 2010).

"Villalobos" (2009), which focuses on DJ Ricardo Villalobos, concluded Karmakar's loose trilogy of documentaries on music and club culture. This was followed by "Die Herde des Herrn" (2011), which looks at the aftermath of the death of Pope John Paul II and the finding of his successor Pope Benedict XVI. "Angriff auf die Demokratie - Eine Intervention", an engaging look at the political and economic crisis in Europe, premiered in the Panorama section at the 2012 Berlin IFF.

During the following years, Karmakar completed several short to mid-length documentaries and film essays, including his contribution to the German pavilion at the 55. Biennale in Venice. From 2012 until 2013, Karmakar was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. In November 2014, he received the DEFA-Stiftung's award for exceptional achievements in German Cinema. The 2017 Berlin IFF saw the world premiere of Karmakar's feature-length documentary "Denk ich an Deutschland in der Nacht", in which he portrays five influential DJs of the German techno and electronic scene.

Filmografie

2018
  • Director
  • Screenplay
2015-2017
  • Director
  • Screenplay
2011/2012
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
  • Producer
2011
  • Director
  • Screenplay
2010
  • Director
2009
  • Director
  • Screenplay
2009
  • Director
  • Director of photography
  • Producer
2009
  • Director (other)
2005/2006
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Editing
  • Producer
2004/2005
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Director of photography
2003/2004
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
  • Producer
2002/2003
  • Director
  • Story
  • Director of photography
  • Sound
  • Producer
2002-2004
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Producer
2002
  • Director
  • Story
  • Director of photography
  • Sound
  • Producer
1999/2000
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Editing
  • Producer
1998-2000
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Producer
1997/1998
  • Director
  • Screenplay
1995
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Producer
1994
  • Director
  • Story
  • Producer
1991
  • Director
  • Story
  • Producer
1990
  • Director
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
  • Producer
1989-1994
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Director of photography
  • Producer
1989-1992
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Interviews
  • 2nd Camera unit
1989
  • Director
  • Story
  • Editing
  • Producer
1988/1989
  • Assistant director
  • Script supervisor
1988
  • Director
  • Story
  • Editing
  • Producer
1988
  • Director
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
  • Producer
1986/1987
  • Director
  • Story
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
  • Producer
1984/1985
  • Cast
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Director of photography
  • Editing
  • Sound
  • Producer
1984
  • Director
  • Story
  • Director of photography
  • Producer
1984
  • Director
  • Editing
  • Producer