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As a filmmaker or filmmaker driving artistic personalities are behind a film in the field of film and television production called. Similar to the term theater man from the theater field , it is a synonym for a responsible initiator, which is often used in reviews of such personalities in film reviews and magazines as well as in the classification of artists and their form of expression. It also serves as an alternative designation for independent film directors or as a reference to the author of a cinematic work .

The term is often used to distinguish it from the heavily division of labor process in cinema productions, when essential tasks such as writing , production , direction , camera and editing remain in one hand.


The use of the term is ambiguous. Often the term filmmaker is also applied to scriptwriters ( screenwriters ) or film producers who hold the rights to a film, as well as film directors who are both scriptwriters and cameramen who create their films on their own responsibility, or directors who have come to film from other professions Director is a profession that can be learned, but filmmaker in that sense is not. The ambiguity of the term extends to the application of independent film artists who take on many leading areas within a film production themselves, and is therefore often more all-encompassing than the professional designation of film director.

In contrast to the clear job descriptions of individual trades ( film staff ) in film production , such as the cameraman or the film director in the classic sense of pure acting or stage direction, filmmakers are often understood by the public to have more professional competence in practice and in terms of film design Theory is also assigned responsibility for the handwriting of the individual trades and expects them to know the individual stages of film project development. Reviews, for example, talk about how great the filmmaker set the light in the scene , although he is not a lighting technician himself , but his handwriting was recognizable. In contrast to classic television productions, films and their artistic signature by well-known filmmakers are often rated primarily in connection with these filmmakers. The term filmmaker is most often encountered in the context of so-called auteur films , as the filmmaker's sole responsibility and handwriting traces back to the origins and essence of auteur films, where it is not uncommon for unskilled film artists to gain great recognition for their artistic vision.

Areas of responsibility

Central creative and technical fields of work in the film industry, such as direction , camera, light , editing (assembly), sound , film production management , material development, script, staging , production, post-production , calculation and financing, which represent independent trades working together in classic forms of film production, can partially and completely fall within the filmmaker's remit. Since the term is ambiguous and has changed meanings over the years - similar to the director (formerly game master), the fields of activity described can extend over the entire period of preparation up to the completion of a film, but it can also only This means individual areas. In the first case, the preparations can already include the scripts and text templates that flow into the development of concrete ideas for the roles, the exact course of action and the suitable actors. Most commonly, the term is used for independent artists who put their own cinematic vision from scratch Third, their statements or proposals to implement the manager , stage and costume designers , cinematographers and lighting to pass and the musical reaction with the composer discuss all Make important decisions during the filming process and give the actors their idea of ​​the implementation of the respective role. In this case, they fulfill tasks in many areas and occupations within film production and form a continuation and possible extension of the classic occupation of a film director and, depending on the interpretation, overlap with this, as this also already changes from a pure acting director in the course of time a major co-creator of the film.


The term filmmaker does not describe a clear job description. It is a paraphrase of artistic ambitions in the field of film production and often the artistic work as a filmmaker with all-round responsibility arises from a work as a head cameraman or director whose fields of activity and their expansion can no longer be covered by their professional title alone, as for example with Lars von Trier who as a director himself leads the camera and writes scripts. But other artistic work can also have preceded the recognition as a filmmaker, such as an author, composer or as with the filmmaker Peter Greenaway , who was previously a painter and graphic artist. Since the profession of director can be learned and is therefore a rather protected term, a filmmaker can be a recognized film artist even without a degree. General training and courses of study to become a filmmaker are rather rare and are seen as window dressing, as specialization within the training would be necessary in order to be able to take a specific final examination. More common are educational paths through specializations, for example studying to become a cameraman or a director. Such courses usually take 6–8 semesters at universities or film academies . Often, however, it also happens that completely different courses of study or training lead to film and the title of filmmaker, as well-known biographies show. It is not uncommon for there to be a philosopher or literary scholar who then came to film through a project and became a well-known filmmaker. Since they did not study directing or anything like that, they are generally referred to as filmmakers through their well-known film projects.

Web links

Wiktionary: Filmmaker  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Terminology in Duden: Filmmaker, der. at, accessed on March 3, 2013.
  2. Overview of courses in film and television on, accessed on September 20, 2014.
  3. ^ From Critic to Filmmaker on, accessed on September 20, 2014.