Maren Ade

Filmmaker Maren Ade made an auspicious debut as director with her student thesis film "The Forest for the Trees" (2003) before going on to generate considerable acclaim for her next two films - the complex "Everyone Else" (2009) and the wild comedy "Toni Erdmann" (2016) - as well as for producing a number of acclaimed international films. Born December 12, 1976 in Karisruhe, Germany, she made movies with a camcorder as a teenager before deciding to study film production and direction at the University of Television and Film in Munich. There, she founded a production company, Komplizen Films, with a fellow student, Janine Jackowski, with whom she produced her thesis film, "The Forest for the Trees" (2003). A drama about a new teacher struggling to find her way with a new job, the film was screened at several major festivals, including the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, where it earned the Special Jury Award. Her next feature, "Everyone Else" (2009), about a couple whose opposing personalities are tested by their friendship with another, more compatible pair, won the Jury Grand Prize at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival, but Ade would not return to directing for another seven years, preferring instead to produce through Komplizen. Among their credits was "Sleeping Sickness" (2011), which earned the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, and the three-part "Arabian Nights" (2015) for director Miguel Gomes. In 2016, she released her third effort as director, "Toni Erdmann," a comedy about a music teacher (Peter Simonischek) who adopts an outrageous alter ego in order to break down his daughter's steely reserve. The film, inspired in part by Andy Kaufman's anarchic character Tony Clifton, won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where it also received a nomination for the Palme d'Or prize.