Thomas Heise was born in East Berlin in 1955 and grew up in the former GDR. His experiences under the communist regime strongly influenced his view of German history, which are the theme of an installation titled Material. In a montage of photos and audio materials, collected over the past thirty years, Heise created an installation that portrays a uniquely personal, historic panorama that starkly contrasts official versions of recent German history. The viewer observes fragments of real life, people on the street, political events, scenes at a prison, in the parliament - views of everyday life which contradict the official image of the GDR. Heise made these recordings knowing they would have to be kept secret until one day when he could present them to the public. The oldest audio recordings and photos date back to a reporting exercise he completed at the College of Filmmaking in Potsdam Babelsberg in 1979. The most recent photos include scenes of the demolition of the Palace of the Republic in Berlin.
In addition to the installation itself, the project includes the release of a working book and DVD that provide an inside view of the work of this filmmaker, whose documentary films, in particular "Vaterland" and "Im Glück (Neger)", were enthusiastically received by German audiences.

Artist: Thomas Heise

Premiere, 59th Berlinale 2009, 12.02.2009
Festival Vision du reél, Nyon (CH) April 2009, followed by screenings in Leipzig (May 2009), Volksbühne Berlin (May 2009), Filmfestival Linz (April 2010)

Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin, 01.05.2009-09.11.2009
Academy of the Arts, Pariser Platz, Berlin, 09.07.2009-09.10.2009

Grand Prix of the In­ter­na­tional Com­pet­i­tion of FID Mar­seille 2009

Material" won the Grand Prix of the International Competition of the FID Festival International du Documentaire de Marseille 2009.

2009 Com­mem­or­ative Year Pro­jects

Two momentous events of German post-war history will be commemorated in 2009 – the founding of East and West Germany 60 years ago and the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago which led to the reunification of both states. "Material" is one of several projects with which the Federal Cultural Foundation is commemorating these two anniversaries in 2009.

2009 Commemorative Year

Con­tact filmproduktions GmbH

Marienplatz 1

04103 Leipzig