What was the purpose of making up films

»Reinvent the direction«

Exceptional director Philip Gröning becomes the new professor at the ifs

Philip Gröning © ifs

With the start of the winter semester, the renowned Director and producer Philip Gröning the Professorship of staging fictional narratives in audiovisual media at the ifs international film school cologne started.

The multiple award-winning director (including "The Great Silence", "The Policeman's Wife") is an exception in the German film scene. In all of his films, Philip Gröning is responsible for production, direction, screenplay and, in some cases, for editing and camera, in the tradition of the author filmmaker. The further development of the narrative form into the future is a central concern of every one of his films. THE TIME once described him as the "great rare filmmaker of German cinema". This is certainly also due to the fact that Gröning conducts intensive research into each of his films and attests to an "insane perfectionism" of himself.

Groening founded his own production company during his studies at the HFF Munich. For the first time he aroused in 1992 with the political grotesque "The Terrorists" A planned assassination attempt on Helmut Kohl caused a sensation, the television broadcast of which the Federal Chancellor at the time tried to prevent. In 2000, Gröning received international attention for his road movie "L’amour, l’argent, l’amour", which was awarded a leopard in Locarno for the debut of the leading actress (Sabine Timoteo). His greatest success so far was in 2005 with the extraordinary film "The great silence", for which he followed the lives of Carthusian monks with his camera for half a year. Documentary contemplation won, among other things. the Sundance Film Festival's Special Jury Prize, the European Film Award, the Bavarian Film Prize and the German Film Critics' Prize. Also his parable "The Policeman's Wife" received a lot of attention in 2013 and was awarded the Special Jury Prize in Venice and was nominated for the German Film Critics' Prize in five categories. His current film "My brother Robert" is in post-production.
Gröning was also a member of various film juries (e.g. Venice, St. Petersburg) and is a member of the European Film Academy, the German Film Academy and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts. He has taught at the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy and at CalArts Film. In 2016/17 he was a scholarship holder of the German Academy - Villa Massimo in Rome.

As different as his films are - both in terms of materials and form - Gröning is always concerned with drawing the audience deep into his creation of reality and making the viewer a co-experience.
For Gröning, a fundamental question in filmmaking is how a film can achieve universal meaning: "The search for the form that corresponds to the content decides whether a film will be valid or not." He also wants his uncompromising way of filmmaking for students at the ifs convey: "My goal is to get students to tell their own stories in their own way" - and to think far ahead. So it's about making the next generation fit for the future. So it is not surprising that he appeals to the ifs students at the start of the semester: »You have to reinvent the direction«.