Born on August 13, 1931, in an Eastern Pomeranian village school, Theo Hinz has experienced the full breadth of changes that have seen Germany enlarge, shrink and enlarge again. After completing his schooling and earning a marketing qualification, he initially worked on the production of PR films for the air force before joining the Constantin Film production and distribution company in 1955, which was at the time led by its legendary managing director and partner in the company, Konsul Waldfried Barthel. Hinz soon became the firm’s marketing expert, and in the process not only developed a soft spot for Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini and Louis Malle but also soon became acquainted with the writer-directors of the New German Film scene. In 1977 Rudolf Augstein asked Hinz to take over as managing director of the Filmverlag der Autoren, a distribution collective whose members included Hark Bohm, Uwe Brandner, H.W. Geißendörfer and Wim Wenders. While in this position, Hinz also became involved as a producer and co-producer with the collective’s production subsidiary Pro-ject Filmproduktion, a role in which he initiated the collective film project GERMANY IN AUTUMN. During this time he was also responsible for films by RWF such as VERONIKA VOSS, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1982. The public and financial success of Peter Bringmann’s THEO AGAINST THE REST OF THE WORLD and Doris Dörrie’s MEN launched a new phase in the distribution program of the Filmverlag der Autoren.
In 1983, Theo Hinz founded his own distribution company, Futura Film, whose first film was Alexander Kluge’s THE POWER OF EMOTION. Three years later Rudolf Augstein sold an interest in Filmverlag der Autoren to Futura Film. As a result Theo Hinz took control of the distribution and production stock and ran Filmverlag der Autoren and Futura Film until the end of the 1990s.
Everyone acquainted with Theo Hinz knows him to be one of those rare people in the German film industry who, with their endurance, specialist knowledge and personal affinity with classic “auteur films,” have earned themselves a special place in the ranks of producers and distributors. In addition, one cannot help but be impressed by Theo Hinz’s constant alertness, which seems unaffected by age, his refined touch in negotiating film licensing agreements, and the exceptional politeness with which he deals with his business partners. He provided German film with an invaluable service in helping to develop funding structures during his many years as a member of the German Federal Film Board (FFA). In this role he was able to promote and support film projects by important film auteurs and talents, including Volker Schlöndorff, Wim Wenders, Alexander Kluge and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Theo Hinz was particularly appreciated by RWF for all the qualities mentioned above and it was also largely for this reason that Fassbinder, who left the Filmverlag der Autoren in 1977, continued to entrust him with the German distribution of his films.
The Fassbinder Foundation and Juliane Lorenz extend their very best wishes to Theo Hinz, film producer and for many years a close business partner and friend of the RWFF, on his birthday and for the future.
Photo right: Theo Hinz, Juliane Lorenz, Horst Wendlandt and RWF, Berlinale 1982 © RWFF
Photo left: Theo Hinz, 2003 © Sigrid Bosslet