Andres Veiel was born in 1959. He spent his secondary school years in his native Stuttgart, where in the 1970s he followed the Baader-Meinhof trials in Stuttgart- Stammheim, and saw plays by new radical theatre directors such as Claus Peyman who addressed topical issues, and charged theatre with a new political relevance. In 1982 Veiel moved to Berlin for his studies and embarked on a degree in psychology. From 1985 onwards he also took part in film seminars with Krzysztof Kieslowski, who encouraged him to pursue directing film. He started his first film A Winter Night’s Dream in 1991.
Andres Veiel’s main subject is Germany’s recent history, its social and political fabric, which he approaches through close encounters with individual people. Whether he tries to reconstruct the biographies of three classmates who committed suicide as in The Survivors, or becomes the acute observer of four acting students struggling through drama school as in Addicted to Acting, he is always as interested in his protagonists’ individuality as in the constraints that family, institutions and ideologies impose. In order to make these tangible he has developed a sensitive interview technique and the ability to capture the character of relevant locations. His desire to understand pervades his films, which offer a complex rather than a single argument. Moving, but never manipulative, they give us the space to draw our own conclusions.
Veiel’s continuous interest in the theatre has resulted in three plays and is apparent in almost all his films. It can be the subject of a film as in Balagan or Addicted to Acting, or a formal approach to a subject as in The Kick, where a particularly cruel, allegedly Neo-Nazi influenced murder that had previously been much exploited by the media is approached from a distance.
Veiel spends a long time on his projects, and they stay with him. He has recently returned to the subject of Black Box Germany and made his first foray into fiction, If Not Us, Who? - a film about the pre-history of the Baader-Meinhof Gang.
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