A Tribute To ... Tom Tykwer


Tom Tykwer is one of the few German-language directors whose productions have captivated both European and American audiences. The Zurich Film Festival honours him for his life’s work as a director. 

At the beginning of the 1980s, film buff Tom Tykwer became the programmer at Berlin’s Movimento cinema. His first feature film was 1993’s DIE TÖDLICHE MARIA. His directing breakthrough came in 1998 with LOLA RENNT, which achieved cult status not only in Germany and turned Moritz Bleibtreu and Franka Potente into overnight stars. 

Between America and Europe

Tykwer directed his first English-language film, HEAVEN, in 2002. The film came to be after Miramax offered him a screenplay from the Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski’s estate. The lead roles were played by Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi. Tykwer went on to shoot the short film TRUE for the compilation project, PARIS JE T’AIME, before joining forces with Bernd Eichinger to bring his next film, DAS PARFUM, to the big screen. The film would go on to be a box office hit. His first American film, the political thriller THE INTERNATIONAL, starred Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. The film opened the 2009 Berlinale.

Activities as a Producer

In addition to his work as a director, Tykwer is also a producer. In 1994, he founded the X Filme Creative Pool production company with Stefan Arndt, Dani Levy and Wolfgang Becker, producing such films as ABSOLUTE GIGANTEN and several of his own projects. In 2008, he and Marie Steinmann founded One Fine Day Films, which supports creative education projects in East Africa. As part of this project, Tykwer produced SOUL BOY (2009) and NAIROBI HALF LIFE (2012), which will receive its European premiere here at this year’s festival. For the last two years, Tykwer has been working as producer and co-director on CLOUD ATLAS, starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. The film will be released in November.

Tom Tykwer will accept the Golden Eye in person on September 29. The Zurich Film Festival will celebrate the director and producer with a retrospective screening of four of his most important films.