In recognition of his contribution to the world of film, the European Film Academy will present Werner Herzog with the Life Achievement Award for his outstanding body of work at the 32nd European Film Awards (EFAs) on December 7, 2019 in Berlin.
Born in Munich in 1942, Werner Herzog grew up in a remote valley in the Bavarian mountains. Until age 11, he did not even know of the existence of cinema. He started to develop film projects from age 15 on, and since no one was willing to finance them, he worked the night shift as a welder in a steel factory during the last years of high school. He also started to travel on foot. He made his first phone call at age 17 and his first film at 19. He dropped out of college where he studied history and literature.
Since then, Werner Herzog has produced, written, and directed more than seventy feature and documentary films. His 1968 debut film SIGNS OF LIFE immediately won not only a Special Berlinale Silver Bear but also the German Film Award in Silver for an Outstanding Feature Film.
In some of his most known films the main part was played by Klaus Kinski, among these the epic AGUIRRE, WRATH OF GOD (1972), the horror film NOSFERATU, THE VAMPYRE (1979) and the adventure drama FITZCARRALDO (1982) which received the Director Award in Cannes.
The often difficult relationship between actor and director was the focus of Herzog’s documentary MY BEST FIEND (1999) for which he received an EFA nomination.
His impressive work includes EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF AND GOD AGAINST ALL (1974) which received the Grand Prize of the Cannes Jury, LESSONS OF DARKNESS (1992), LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY (1997), INVINCIBLE (2001), GRIZZLY MAN (2005), ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD (2009), BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL – NEW ORLEANS (2009) and CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS (2010).
In addition, Herzog also acted himself, with notable roles including the father in Harmony Korine’s experimental drama JULIEN DONKEY-BOY (1999) and a criminal mastermind in the action film JACK REACHER (2012).
Werner Herzog has published more than a dozen books of prose, and directed as many operas. He has also founded his own Rogue Film School.