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Berlinale ’16: Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus receives lifetime achievement award

berlinale international film festival

Michael Ballhaus

Michael Ballhaus, Berlin 2016. Image The Hollywood News/ Heathside Media

Here at Berlinale, a host of Martin Scorsese films have been showing at various venue across the city. The likes of Gangs Of New York, The Departed, The Age Of Innocence, and Goodfellas have screened to German and international film fans for a very specific reason. One thing ties all of these films together, and it isn’t just Martin Scorsese. Michael Ballhaus, the Berlin-bord cinematographer shot all of them, and this year at the 66th International Berlin Film Festival, he receives the honorary Golden Bear to make his fifty-plus year career behind the camera.

Ballhaus actually had his first meeting with Scorsese here in the city. Speaking to the news agency dpa, about his receiving of the special Golden Bear at Berlinale,  Ballhaus said; “I’m especially happy about this award.”

“I’ve seen many wonderful films here. 1980 was my first encounter with Martin Scorsese who presented his film ‘Raging Bull’ here.”

Michael Ballhaus

Michael Ballhaus, Berlin 2016. Image The Hollywood News/ Heathside Media

Ballhaus moved to the United States in the 1980s following a successful career in Germany. He is credited as being the director of photography that really mastered the 360 degree tracking shot, as those film fans who have seen his collaboration with Scorsese, the 1990 film Goodfellas. will know. The Copacabana entry scene is the stuff of legend.

As well as working with Scorsese, Ballhaus shot films with the likes of Francis Ford Coppola (Dracula), Robert Redford (The Legend Of Bagger Vance, Quiz Show), Barry Sonnenfeld (Wild Wild West), Wolfgang Petersen (Air Force One), Barry Levinson (Sleepers) and James L. Brooks (Broadcast News), among many others. In all, he worked on over 150 films, and was nominated for three Academy Awards. He unfortunately was diagnosed with Glaucoma and has now officially retired from the business.

Ballhaus was also the Head of the Jury at the 40th Berlin International Film Festival, an honour that has fellen to Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep in 2016.

Michael Ballhaus/ Dieter Kolsslck

Michael Ballhaus and Berlin Film Festival director Dieter Kosslick, Berlin 2016. Image The Hollywood News/ Heathside Media

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