Tom Tykwer, (born Mai 23, 1965) is a German film director, screenwriter, composer and producer.
Born in Wuppertal (Germany), he moved to Berlin in the 1980s and worked as a projectionist and booker in various independent art house cinemas.
Tom Tykwer is co-founder and partner of the Berlin based film production company X Filme Creative Pool GmbH (1994). His filmography as a director includes "Deadly Maria" (1993), „Winter Sleepers“ (1997), „Run Lola Run“ (1998), "The Princess and the Warrior" (2000), „Heaven“ (2002), „Perfume – the story of a murderer“ (2006), „The International“ (2009), "Three" (2010) and "Cloud Atlas" (2012).
In 2008 he co-founded the non-profit organization One Fine Day e.V. which promotes and supports artistic education in the ghettos of Nairobi (Kenya). Associated to this project evolved One Fine Day Films, an alternative film production company which focuses on teaching and producing in the East African area and introduces young African talents to the process of filmmaking. The foundation's pilot project „Soul Boy“ (2010) premiered at Gothenburg International Film festival in January 2010.
Tom Tykwer´s work as a producer include GIGANTIC (1999, director Sebastian Schipper), SOUNDLESS (2004, director Mennan Yapo), A FRIEND OF MINE (2006, director Sebastian Schipper) and THE HEART IS A DARK FOREST (2007, director Nicolette Krebitz).
Tom Tykwer was born in Wuppertal in 1965 and made his first Super-8 film when he was eleven years old. From 1980 on he worked in various independent arthouse cinemas as a projectionist. In 1988 he became the programmer at Berlin’s Moviemento cinema, as well as by doing some script analyzing and shooting TV profiles of a number of different directors to make ends meet. Around this time he also met cameraman Frank Griebe, who has worked on nearly all Tykwer’s film projects right up to the present day.
Following short films BECAUSE (1990) and EPILOGUE (1992), Tykwer made DEADLY MARIAin 1993, his first full-length feature. The film premiered at the 1993 Hof Film Festival, and thereafter screened at over 60 different film festivals around the world. Actors included Nina Petri, Sepp Bierbichler and Joachim Król, as well as a number of others who would come to work regularly with Tykwer.
Together with Stefan Arndt, Wolfgang Becker und Dani Levy, Tykwer founded the production company X Filme Creative Pool in 1994. Arndt, one of the producers of DEADLY MARIA, would eventually build up a long-standing production team for Tykwer – in conjunction with co-managing director, Maria Köpf.
Tykwer wrote the screenplay for LIFE IS ALL YOU GET together with Wolfgang Becker in 1995-96, before going on to direct his own second full-length feature, WINTER SLEEPERS(1997). One of the most important new contacts made during the course of this film was with sound designer and sound mixer Matthias Lempert, who since that time has done the sound for all of Tykwer’s films.
In 1998 Tykwer made RUN LOLA RUN, the film that gave X Filme their first international hit. In spite of, or perhaps because of its unusual narrative structure, the film went on to become the most successful German film of that year. It has won over 30 prizes and awards around the world.
Tykwer’s fourth film, THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR (2000), in which Tykwer once again worked with Franka Potente – who played the character of Lola in the previous film – resulted in the successful debut of Tykwer’s new distribution company, X Verleih AG. The film also marked the first time the director worked with both editor Mathilde Bonnefoy and set designer Uli Hanisch, the beginning of a highly fruitful creative relationship that has endured until today.
In 2002 came HEAVEN, Tykwer’s first English language film, based on a script by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski. Co-produced by X Filme and Miramax with Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi in the leading roles, the film opened the 2002 International Berlin Film Festival.
In August 2002 Tykwer made the short film TRUE with Natalie Portman and Melchior Beslon for PARIS, JE T’AIME, a compilation film project in which very different international directors were asked to film a short love story set in one of Paris’ 20 arrondissements.
After almost four years of work Tykwer’s most elaborate film to date, PERFUME, was released in cinemas on 14 September 2006. While the film received some controversial comments in the press, the film version of Patrick Süsskind’s bestseller, produced by Bernd Eichinger and with actors such as Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman and Rachel Hurd-Wood in the leads, gave Tykwer his biggest box-office success to date. The film remained in the international cinema charts for several weeks, achieving blockbuster success particularly in Europe, Asia and South America.
In September 2007 shooting began on the political thriller THE INTERNATIONAL, the first time Tykwer worked together with a Hollywood Studio (Columbia Pictures). Clive Owen plays Interpol agent Louis Salinger, who together with a New York District Attorney (Naomi Watts) uncovers a corrupt network in the world of high finance. Filmed for the most part in Tykwer’s adopted hometown of Berlin, scenes were also shot in Istanbul, Milan and New York. THE INTERNATIONAL opened the 2009 59th International Berlin Film Festival and had its international cinema release on 12 February of the same year.
In 2008 Marie Steinmann and Tom Tykwer founded One Fine Day, a non-profit organization which initiates and supports art education projects for children and adolescents in East Africa, especially in Kenya.
The production company One Fine day Films was one of those projects; eventually Tom Tykwer helped to supervise the low-budget film production SOUL BOY, a joint Kenyan-German film project which was shot almost exclusively in East Africa’s largest slum, in Kibera (Nairobi).
In September 2008 Tykwer directed the short film DER MENSCH IM DING, part of Alexander Kluge’s compendium DVD project on Karl Marx’s CAPITAL.
In October 2008 shooting began on the short film FEIERLICH TRAVELS, Tykwer’s contribution to the compilation film project GERMANY 09, in which more than a dozen German filmmakers presented their view of the current social, cultural and political situation in Germany.
In November 2008 Tykwer oversaw the shooting of the Kenyan-German low budget production SOUL BOY, a film shot almost exclusively in Africa’s largest slum, Kibera (Nairobi). Tykwer and young female Ghanian-Kenyan director Hawa Essuman, made the film based on a script Tykwer wrote together with the Nairobi-based author Billy Kahora. SOUL BOY was first screened in January 2010 at the Göteborg Film Festival.
In late autumn 2009 Tykwer’s latest film THREE, a tragicomedy with Sophie Rois, Sebastian Schipper and Devid Striesow in the leads, was shot exclusively in Berlin, and, after Tykwer’s two affairs with other production companies, it is once again a film produced solely by X Filme Creative Pool GmbH (producer: Stefan Arndt). The film will be released in Germany by X Verleih at the end of 2010.
The projects on which Tom Tykwer has worked as a producer for X Filme include GIGANTIC(1999, director Sebastian Schipper), SOUNDLESS (2004, director Mennan Yapo), A FRIEND OF MINE (2006, director Sebastian Schipper) and THE HEART IS A DARK FOREST (2007, director Nicolette Krebitz).