Short Biography of Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog was born in Munich on September 5, 1942. He and two brothers were raised by his mother in the Bavarian village of Sachrang, near the Austrian border. The family moved to Munich in the 1950s, where Herzog would make his first brief encounter with the actor Klaus Kinski, who would later perform a number of the leading roles in the director’s important films. After completing his Abitur (qualification for university) and a brief study of German language and literature, history and theater studies, Werner Herzog realized his first short films as an autodidact. He founded a film production company in 1963. In 1968, Herzog was awarded the Deutscher Filmpreis, as well as the Silver Bear (special prize) at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) for his first feature film LEBENSZEICHEN (SIGNS OF LIFE, FRG, 1968).
Films like AGUIRRE, DER ZORN GOTTES (Aguirre: The Wrath of God, FRG, 1972) solidified Herzog’s reputation as an writer-filmmaker and were also internationally successful. In addition, AGUIRRE was the first of five films, which Werner Herzog made with Klaus Kinski. The ambitious project FITZCARRALDO (FRG, 1982) made headlines above all, among other reasons due to the difficult filming conditions in South America. Herzog has also filmed numerous documentaries, and moreover, he has been active as an opera director since 1986.
His documentary ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD (USA, 2007) was nominated for an Academy Award in 2008. His two films THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL – NEW ORLEANS (USA, 2008) and MY SON, MY SON, WHAT HAVE YE DONE (USA/G, 2009) were shown at the Venice Film Festival in 2009. Herzog was jury president at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2010. At the special series “Berlinale Special” in 2012, he introduced his four-part documentary DEATH ROW (USA, 2012). Werner Herzog lives in Los Angeles and Munich.

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