|Born||1931 (age 85–86)
|Known for||Documentary film making|
Manfred Kirchheimer (born 1931) is a documentary film maker and professor of film at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He previously taught at NYIT. He was born in Saarbrücken, Germany, and his family moved to New York City in 1936 to escape Nazi Germany. After receiving a B.A. from the City College of New York in 1952, he worked primarily as a film editor and he also began making his own films. A major theme in many of his documentaries is urban life. His most notable documentaries include: Stations of the Elevated, We Were So Beloved, Tall: The American Skyscraper and Louis Sullivan, and Art Is... The Permanent Revolution.
In 1936, Kirchheimer's family fled to the United States from Nazi Germany. After arriving, he attended the New York City Public Schools. Upon graduating high school, he began studying film production with Hans Richter at the Hans Richter Institute of Film Techniques at the City College of New York from 1948 to 1952, receiving a B.A.
For the next 24 years, Kirchheimer worked as an editor, director, and camera operator in the New York film industry. He edited on over 300 films for ABC, CBS, NBC, and National Educational Television. The subjects of these films ranged from cultural to biographical. During these years, he also financed his own independent films while also working with Hans Richter and Jay Leyda on films. In 1963, he was a camera operator for Leo Hurwitz.
Kirchheimer's films typically focus on aspects of urban life. His films have been described as "hopeful, yet they admonish for the future". He typically uses written commentary on screen rather than voice-over in his films. He often creates complex layerings of sound to create novel sound environments rather than the sound at the actual scene. About his audience he has said
I trust my audience. I am eager for the audience to work, and not lose themselves while they are watching my films [... they should be] able to hold on to their own integrity and insights so they don't leave their intelligence behind. When viewers leave the theater they will be walking into the same world they just left, not one unconnected to the film they've seen.
He also avoids collaborating with others in making films because
I don't have to keep appointments with anybody. I don't have to say we'll meet tomorrow. I don't have to argue with anybody. Just, you know, it's not that I'm a one man band, it's just that I like to think things through. I like the challenge of it.
According to Kirchheimer, most of the films he has made he paid for himself. His first film Colossus on the River cost about $3,500 to make. The first grant he received was $10,000 to make Stations of the Elevated, which he said paid for about half of the film. He also received grants to make We Were So Beloved, which paid for some but not all of the film making. Kirchheimer stated that he probably can make documentaries at lower cost than others because his former students help him without pay, but if he ever does make money from a film, they will get some of the proceeds. Kirchheimer stated in 2010 that he has never made back the money he has spent on his films.
|1963||Colossus on the River||The documentary attempts to capture the passing of an era by filming the docking of a large ocean liner.||Director, producer, writer, editor, Camera|
|1965||Haiku||The documentary captures dances by Jane Dudley.||Director|
|1967||Leroy Douglas||The documentary captures the reactions of workers in New York's Garment District to the death of their black colleague in Vietnam.||Co-filmmaker with Peter Eliscu|
|1968||Claw||The central theme of this documentary is that contemporary urban development subordinates human values to economic values.||Co-director (with Walter Hess), producer, editor, cinematographer (with Walter Hess)|
|1973||Short Circuit||This documentary focuses on the reaction of a white, middle-class male, during the peak of the Black Power movement, to the movement of black people and culture into his neighborhood.||Director, producer, writer, cinematographer|
|1975||Bridge High||The documentary is a choreographed song of praise to a suspension bridge filmed in black and white.||Director (with Walter Hess), producer, writer, cinematographer (With Walter Hess), editor|
|1980||Stations of the Elevated||The documentary focuses on the graffiti on elevated trains and their symbolism in modern society.||Director, editor, cinematographer, producer, writer, sound|
|1986||We Were So Beloved||A documentary film about Jews who talk about Germans who helped them escape the Holocaust.||Director, producer, writer, editor, cinematographer (James Calanan and Steve Juliano)|
|2004||Tall: The American Skyscraper and Louis Sullivan||The documentary tells the story of how Louis Sullivan designed skyscrapers.||Director, producer, writer, editor, cinematographer|
|2007||Spraymasters||This documentary focuses on four ex-graffiti artists (now in their 40s) who earlier in their lives crept into the rail yards in the New York City Subway, and painted subway cars in these yards. Spraymasters is a follow up to Stations of the Elevated.||Director|
|2012||Art Is... The Permanent Revolution||This documentary explores how politics and how artists of the past have influenced four artists.||Director, editor, producer, sound|
Awards and Grants
Kirchheimer has received a number of awards and grants for his documentary films including awards from: Athens International Film Festival, Yale Film Festival, American Film Festival, RiverRun International Film Festival, Ciné Golden Eagle, American Film Institute, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and New York State Council on the Arts.
- Hynes, Eric (15 October 2014). "Want to Make a Film? Stand on a Corner: A New Look at Manfred Kirchheimer’s Documentaries". New York Times. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
- Aitke, Ian (2013). "Kirchheimer, Manfred". The Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film: 491–493.
- "Manfred Kirchheimer". School of Visual Arts. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- 13Bit (18 June 2010). "13Bit Interview With Manny Kirchheimer Part 3". Low Budget Legends. Archived from the original on 30 June 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- 13Bit (18 June 2010). "13Bit Interview With Manny Kirchheimer Part 2". Low Budget Legends. Archived from the original on 30 June 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- 13Bit (18 June 2010). "13Bit Interview With Manny Kirchheimer Part 4". Low Budget Legends. Archived from the original on 30 June 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "Manfred Kirchheimer: Filmography". MSNBC. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- Rose, Joel (26 June 2014). "After Decades on VHS, Graffiti's Golden Age Returns To Big Screen". NPR. Archived from the original on 27 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- Staff. "Stations of the Elevated (1980)". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- Scherstuhl, Alan (25 June 2014). "The Paint-Bombed Stations of the Elevated Is a Masterpiece of Train- and Tag-Spotting". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 27 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- Canby, Vincent (27 August 1986). "We Were So Beloved (1985)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- Thomas, Kevin (31 January 1987). "Movie Review : Poignant Look-back at Holocaust In 'Beloved'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 29 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- Denby, David (22 September 1986). "Fighting Back". New York Magazine: 157.
- Camper, Fred. "Tall: The American Skyscraper and Louis Sullivan". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- Williams, Kevin (31 May 2008). "Tall: The American Skyscraper and Louis Sullivan". The Daily Page. Archived from the original on 29 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- "SPRAYMASTERS". UnionDocs Inc. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- Scheib, Ronnie (29 February 2012). "Review: 'Art Is ... the Permanent Revolution'". Variety. Archived from the original on 29 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- Webster, Andy (1 March 2012). "Making a Print and Making a Statement". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 27 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- Noh, David (1 March 2012). "Film Review: Art Is...The Permanent Revolution". Film Journal International. Archived from the original on 29 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- Insdorf, Annette (2002). Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust. Cambridge University Press. p. 432. ISBN 978-0521016308.
- Barnouw, Erik (1990). Tube of Plenty: The Evolution of American Television. Oxford University Press. p. 624. ISBN 978-0195064841.
- Kirchheimer, Gloria DeVidas; Kirsheimer, Manfred (1997). We Were So Beloved: Autobiography of a German Jewish Community. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 440. ISBN 978-0822939979.