Max Penzel: German film director (1977-) | Biography, Filmography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Max Penzel
German film director

Max Penzel

Max Penzel
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German film director
Is Film director Cinematographer
From Germany
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 1977
Age 46 years
The details (from wikipedia)


Max Penzel (born April 1977) is a German cinematographer and director. Based in Germany and Singapore but operating internationally, Penzel has worked as first and second unit cinematographer on feature films including Cloud Atlas (2012), Hitman: Agent 47 (2015), Global Player (2014), Strajk (2006), Berlin Calling (2008), and the mini-series Crews & Gangs (2019).


Penzel studied at the German Film und Television Academy (dffb) in Berlin from 1999 to 2005 and received a scholarship to attend the National Film School in Lodz, Poland, whose alumni include three Oscar-winners: Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wajda and Zbigniew Rybczyńsk, as well as several other Academy Award, BAFTA and Palme d’Or winners and nominees in the director and cinematographer categories such as Piotr Sobociński and Sławomir Idziak.

Through his education and work, Penzel counts amongst his mentors esteemed German filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff, director of the Oscar and Palme d’Or winning film The Tin Drum (1979), German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, A.S.C., who collaborated with directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Martin Scorsese and James L. Brooks, and Polish cinematographer Sławomir Idziak, who was nominated for a BAFTA and an Academy Award for his work on Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down (2001).


While studying at and since graduating from the German Film and Television Academy (dffd), Penzel’s work began gaining worldwide recognition and accolades. Penzel was the cinematographer on director Andreas Samland’s short Tag 26 (2002) which won Best Short at the Brooklyn International Film Festival, Grand Prix at the International Fantasy Film Festival and Best German Short at the International Film Festival Ludwigsburg.

In 2004, Penzel was awarded the Michael Ballhaus Film Prize and in 2007 won Best Cinematography (2 unit) at the Bavarian Film Awards for his supporting work on Volker Schlöndorff’s Strajk (2006), a docudrama about the Polish solidarity movement in the 1970s and 80s.


Through his work as a multi-disciplinary director and cinematographer in cinema commercials and music videos, Penzel has developed a unique style known for its immersive nature.

Penzel has worked on projects in a variety of size and scope, from television mini-series to big budget major motion pictures, and is comfortable in all formats, including CinemaScope.

Penzel used a hand-held style in Berlin Calling (2008), a film that became a Berlin cult film and remained in cinemas for over ten years. In the immersive 2010 documentary on Paul Kalkbrenner, Penzel chose a style designed to give viewers the feeling of being a part of the concert crowd.

For his work on the mini-series Crews & Gangs (2019), Penzel collaborated with camera rental company ARRI Rental Berlin to change the DNA of a ZEISS lens in order to produce the Berlin street look and feel he felt the series needed.


Penzel founded two companies: m-quadrat GmbH & Co KG in Germany and m-quadrat ASIA Pte Ltd in Singapore, that specialize in cinematography, creative services, VFX supervision, and visual concepts.


  • Bavarian Film Award for Best Cinematography (2nd unit) (2007)
  • Michael Ballhaus Film Prize (2004)
  • Best Short Film for Der Blindgänger - Brooklyn International Film Festival (2004)
  • Best Short Film for Tag 26 - Brooklyn International Film Festival (2003)

Selected Music Videos

  • Udo Lindenberg Hinterm Horizont (2010)
  • Moderat Rusty Nails BPitch Control (2008)

Official Website

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 04 Jun 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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