Volker Koepp was born in Szczecin, Poland in 1944 and studied at the Technical University of Dresden from 1963-1965. In 1966, he entered the film school at Potsdam-Babelsberg and obtained his diploma as writer and director in 1969. He was a director at the DEFA documentary film studio from 1970-1991 and has won prizes at Cracow, Oberhausen, Tampere and Mannheim. He has been a guest lecturer at the Film & Television Academy (HFF) in Babelsberg since 1993.
In his long professional career, three significant topics/projects can distinguished. First is a series of film essays about people who share their connection to the working-class movement and to antifascism. Second is a long-term project which started in 1974; for more than twenty years, Koepp and cinematographer Christian Lehmann followed the development of several young female workers in the hosiery factory in the town of Wittstock, the last film Wittstock, Wittstock being released in 1997. Starting in 1976, the third big project was a series of "landscape films“.
Making his documentary film Feuerland, Koepp worked with cinematographer Thomas Plenert for the first time, starting a collaboration that lasts until today. Since then, Plenert has filmed nearly all of Koepp’s films and has effectively emphasized Koepp's narrative style with his camera work.
Koepp always rejected obstructing his access to the filmed persons and landscapes by means of a pre-set screenplay. Furthermore, he refused any explanatory commentary. Among the distinguishing qualities of his films is the fact that despite his extreme constraint, Koepp never withdrew without prospects. "The author's attitude and his standpoint have to be in the material itself", Koepp described his artistic approach.
Sommergäste bei Majakowski (30´, GDR, 1967)
Wir haben schon eine ganze Stadt gebaut (5´, GDR, 1968)
Junge Leute (15´, GDR, 1971)
Teddy (GDR, 1973)
Slatan Dudow (30´, GDR, 1975)
Wieder in Wittstock (21´, GDR, 1976)
Hütes (34´, GDR, 1978)
Wittstock III (32´, GDR, 1978)
Am Fluß-Landschaften 3 (35´, GDR, 1979)
Leben und weben-Wittstock IV (29´, GDR, 1981)
In Rheinsberg (30´, GDR, 1982)
Leben in Wittstock (85´, GDR, 1985)
Feuerland (GDR, 1988)
Märkische Heide, märkischer Sand (58´, GDR, 1989)
Arkona, Rethra, Vineta - Reise zu versunkenen Orten (122´, Germany, 1990)
Neues in Wittstock (100´, Germany, 1992)
Die Wismut (111´, Germany, 1994)
Kalte Heimat/ Cold Homeland (157´, Germany, 1995)
Fremde Ufer (94´, Germany, 1996)
Wittstock, Wittstock (117´, Germany, 1997)
Schöne Erde Mutterland (90´, Germany, 1998)
Herr Zwilling und Frau Zuckermann (126´, Germany, 1999)
Kurische Nehrung (92´, Germany, 2001)
Dieses Jahr in Czernowitz/ This Year in Czernowitz (134´, Germany, 2004)
Pommerland (89´, Germany, 2005)
Schattenland - Reise nach Masuren (88´, Germany, 2005)
Söhne/ Sons (111´, Germany, 2007)
Holunderblüte/ Elder Blossom (89´, Germany, 2007)
Berlin-Stettin (110´, Germany, 2009)
In Sarmatien (120', Germany, 2013)
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