- born 1942
Werner Herzog is an internationally renowned filmmaker. Interested in both documentary and fictional narratives, he has moved seamlessly between the two genres and managed to create a diverse body of work that has become a major influence for many contemporary filmmakers and artists. His first video art piece, Hearsay of the Soul, was commissioned for the 2012 Whitney Biennial.
Herzog, who was born in Munich in 1942, spent his childhood in a remote area in the Bavarian mountains and began experimenting with films in his mid-teens. While still in high school, he financed his first film (produced at age 19) by working the night shift as a welder in a steel factory. He briefly studied history and literature at the University of Munich before leaving to pursue film projects.
Herzog's early work is associated with New German Cinema, a wave of avant-garde and experimental films created in West Germany from the 1960s to the 1980s. He capitalized on the thriving network of film festivals and art-house cinemas that cast international attention on new filmmakers during this period. Herzog has directed numerous masterpieces, including The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) and Fitzcarraldo (1982), as well as the innovative documentaries Grizzly Man (2005) and Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010). He has written, produced, and directed some 60 films and founded his own film school. He has also published books of prose, staged operas, and acted in films. He is based in Los Angeles.