manfred durniok productions
manfred durniok
producer and director


From filmmaker to producer – 37 Years Documentaries, Feature Films, TV–Productions.

Manfred Durniok Produktion

manfred durniok foundation
manfred durniok foundation
for cultural exchange


The Manfred Durniok Foundation
is a non-profit organization established in 2006 to support and promote cultural exchanges between Germany and Asia, to grant scholarships and award prizes, to give financial support to events, projects and inter-cultural gatherings, like the Berlinale Talent Campus and the asian hot shots film festival in Berlin.
Just as Manfred Durniok was committed during his lifetime to fostering inter-cultural exchanges not only through films, the foundation will be a continuation of his pursuits and vision.

Ayano Teramoto, Manfred Durniok’s daughter, established the foundation in his memory.

Committee Members
Hanns Jörg Dürrmeier (Vorsitzender)
Hans-Bodo von Dincklage (Stellvertretender Vorsitzender)
István Szábo

Managing Director
Michiko Teramoto

Manfred Durniok Foundation
Hohenzollerndamm 198a
10717 Berlin, Germany

Manfred Durniok Foundation

the beginnings
manfred durniok


More than 400 films carries the signature of Manfred Durniok – feature films, TV films and series, industrial, documentary and entertainment specials shot on location in all parts of the world.

As filmmaker, director, producer and writer, Manfred Durniok had crossed all geographical and political borders in the last five decades. He came from the divided city of Berlin and did not allow himself to be hindered by political borders that divided Eastern from Western Europe, nor by cultural differences in the Near East or in the distant countries of Asia. As filmmaker, he established himself as mediator between cultures.

His films found their way to the major international film festivals and have received more than fifty national and international awards, among them seven German Film Prizes, the Oscar for “Mephisto” and the British Academy Award for “Oberst Redl”, as well as other numerous international prizes.

> flash page: manfred durniok
initial film

He gained entry into the movies as a bit player. Photo shows Manfred Durniok as an extra in “Victor and Victoria”.

His earnings formed the capital of his first film, “People at Busstops”, a documentary, which Durniok produced himself.

His solo flight as a self-educated filmmaker demanded that Manfred Durniok take on the organizational responsibilities of the production as well as its financial aspects. The die was cast, even as the prospective lawyer had no inkling at that time of the consequences.


> flash page: initial film financing


“People at Busstops”, a documentary Manfred Durniok produced and directed.

“The first short film – at that time known as a “cultural film” – cost me three thousand marks. I did something revolutionary in those days – I took the camera with me out into the streets. It was not done at that time; one regarded the more “museum-like” approach as the right one.

Manfred Durniok in ”Films & Friends”

> flash page: stops
black new york

Manfred Durniok received a scholarship to study in America. He went to Harvard. With money earned as tutor, and from the sale of “People at Busstops”, he made “Black New York”, a film about Harlem. The camera, once again freed from the tripod, captured life in black New York. The film earned him the “German Film Prize”. “The feeling – to receive ten thousand marks and with it the opportunity to make another film – was indescribable.”


> flash page: black new york
divided city


Manfred Durniok’s third film, “Memories of a Tragic Past” received a Bronze Lion from the Biennale in Venice. He turned down an offer from Sender Freies Berlin and produced instead, as a freelancer, a short film and documentary for the station. The documentary, “Jerusalem, the divided city” became his first 45-minute film. He loved to film on location, close to the people going about their daily lives. His style was basically in anticipation of what was later known as the author’s film. He himself made about a hundred films as director and writer, investing the profits in new projects, working without assistance, commissions or subsidies and becoming his own producer.

Manfred Durniok Produktion

the producer
the producer
that unknown creature


Producers are completely unknown creatures outside the film industry. They are considered boring number crunchers, who must be arduously made to understand the current trends. Nevertheless, the producer takes on the responsibility in the production of a film. He must be a magician who can visualize a concept into a film, how the end product could look like, how and with whom he can produce the film, judge accurately how it will be accepted by the public and predict how the film will sell, which then would depend on the cast, the technical extravagance and production staff. A modern squaring of the circle. As it is, the definitive quality of the film is somewhat as difficult to predict as tomorrow`s weather.

> flash page: manfred durniok

did not believe a word
krzysztof zanussi
about manfred durniok


“A young filmmaker from the West separated by no man’s land - we had no contact, no acquaintances, hardly traveled abroad, no one knew us and we didn’t know anybody. Those in power and the old guard, colleagues with their connections, jealously guarded their contacts to every festival director and every member of the film selection committee. Besides, those in power decided whether a film should be screened or sold. The writer had no chance to present his work. Only very few from the West came to see us, hardly anybody was interested to by-pass the power structure and to penetrate our film milieu.

The people who helped me out of this dead-end came from an unexpected place, they came from the country which had very little friendly relations with Poland then in the 60s, which had as much cultural ties with us at that time as today. I mean West Germany. Since my origins were Italian, I had always expected to make my first steps into the West more probably over the Tiber or on the Seine than the land between the Elbe and the Rhine. But it turned out differently. The first meeting took place on the Weichsel (Vistula), and the harbinger of good fate was a German from Berlin named Manfred Durniok […]

Manfred and I were of the same age, young at that time. He differed from the stereotype of a producer with a cigar between his teeth and, on the other hand, was unlike the archetypal German, these revanchists, who fought bitterly and futilely over the changes on the borders laid down in Yalta and in Potsdam. Happily, he spoke English, had studied in Harvard, was a friend of Penderecki who, at that time, stood at the beginning of his international career, and turned out to be a lover of the Far East.

Should I now, after so many years, confess that I did not believe any word he said then as we sat in Hotel Cracowia? But his enthusiasm was sincere and now, much later, I can see that he was one of those romantics ready to throw himself into an adventure for the attraction of the unknown?“

Krzysztof Zanussi in „Film & Friends"


> flash page: did not believe a word
istván szabó
about manfred durniok


„In the summer of 1978, I took a walk on the Ku-damm and, as I saw my old friend Krzysztof Zanussi through the window of Kranzler, seated over coffee. I waved to him, he called me to join him, we inquired about each other, what one was doing in West Berlin and Zanussi told me that he was going to meet with a young producer from Berlin. That was how I got acquainted with Manfred Durniok. It resulted in our first cooperation – “The Green Bird”. […] And I learned a couple of things quickly. After a few days, he asked how I felt, how was the staff. I answered in my usual Budapest style: Rather good, but the property manager is intolerable. What I need never appears on time. The next day, I looked for the property manager but he wasn’t there. Instead, somebody else came and introduced himself as the new property manager. Where is the old one which whom I discussed everything? He was sent away because you were unhappy with his work.

I was surprised. I had not wanted the poor man to be fired, I just wanted to complain like in Budapest where one can say what he wanted and nothing happened anyway. So I learned that when I have problems outside Hungary with someone, I should speak with no one other than the person himself.

István Szabó in „Films & Friends"

Manfred Durniok Produktion

to the east
to the east
encounters with asia

Manfred Durniok was always drawn to distant places. A traveler in many continents, it was specially Asia which attracted him most. As one of the pioneers who brought Asian films to the attention of Western audiences, he promoted at the same time through co-productions, the cultural encounters between East and West in films.


> flash page: to the east
co–productions japan
inter–cultural encounters


In 1962, Manfred Durniok was the first German documentary filmmaker to make a film for ZDF about “The Students of Todai University”. He later produced several big feature and television films together with Japanese production companies and TV stations, among them the feature film “Races”, then the first German-Japanese co-production of a feature film in more than 50 years, the feature film “The Dancer”, based on the popular story of Mori Ogai, filmed 1988 in Japan and in Germany, and the TV film, “Winter Journey”, filmed as a co-production with a major TV station, NHK, in Japan and in Berlin and which was awarded two major prizes at the International TV Festival in Monte Carlo.

> flash page: co–productions japan
co–productions thailand
thai films and the cinema in thailand

His efforts to bring Asian films to German audiences led Manfred Durniok in the 70s also to Thailand and he was at first, astonished. This is reported by Prince Chatri Chalerm Yukol, in whose film “Angel” Manfred Durniok was interested in. Film focuses on the story of a group of prostitutes in Thailand. The leading character is a girl from the countryside who is lured into prostitution, a theme which, until that time, was not tackled in Thai cinema because most of the local producers wanted their heroines pure and untouched.

Manfred Durniok brought many Thai films to Germany. At the same time, he produced for German TV several films shot on location in Thailand. He also worked together with Thai filmmakers in co-productions, as in the film, “Little Angels” of Prince Chatri Chalerm Yukol which received 18 out of 23 Thai “Oscars”. The film became the biggest box-office earner in Thailand’s film history, surpassed only by “Jurassic Park”.


> flash page: co–productions thailand
co–productions in china
manfred durniok in china


Manfred Durniok’s first visit to China was in 1971. Shortly after, he made his first documentary for German television there in the People’s Republic of China, followed by many other documentaries. It was during this time, in the beginning of the 70s, when Chinese films were nearly unknown outside China, that Manfred Durniok began to screen and select Chinese films in order to introduce them to German audiences.

In 1985, he participated in the production of a feature film, “The Black Cannon” by Huang Yian Xin, the first German-Chinese co-production which he made possible. The film received the highest honors in China. A year later, this was followed by the co-production, “A Chinese in Search of his Murderer”, based on the novel of Jules Verne, and afterwards the first German-Chinese TV series in seven parts, “Morning in Shanghai”

In 1995, he finally completed a project which he had dreamt of for a decade – the filming of Vicki Baum’s novel, “Hotel Shanghai” – with Peter Patzak as director and 4000 actors in Shanghai. The film received the highest honors, among them, from the Moscow Film Festival as well as in South America.

Manfred Durniok Produktion

cultural exchange
the mediator
in constant dialog


Manfred Durniok – wherever he finds himself in the world – communicates with people on the streets just as well as with protagonists of the screen. The dialogue, which goes beyond political and cultural borders, is a recurrent theme in the films he produces and reaches its peak in actual filmmaking. He succeeds, like only a few, to bring together totally divergent groups from different nations and political systems to work in a common film production. The work does not become simpler but the films assume more realism and diversity.

> flash page: the mediator
beyond the cinema
cultural exchange

Through all his work in films, Manfred Durniok has become an extraordinary and successful ambassador for Germany and other Asian countries.

The different and important cultural-political connections led the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Eberhard Diepgen, to name Manfred Durniok has Envoy to the City Partnership Berlin-Beijing. Manfred Durniok initiated and coordinated the construction of the biggest Chinese Garden in Europe.

On his 100th visit to China, on the 50th year of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese government awarded him with the extraordinary recognition as Honorary Citizen of Beijing.


> flash page: beyond the cinema
chinese garden


“The wonderful experiences in the cities and villages of China and the warmth of many Chinese inspired me to create an area in my home city of Berlin for those who have never been to China or to Asia, to allow an introduction to Chinese culture and, at the same time, to inspire a better understanding for foreign cultures and people. That was the birth of the Garden of Full Moon Harmony. And I wanted most specially to make this possible for my fellow Berliners whose freedom to travel was restricted by the division of the city.

With its completion is the Chinese Garden the biggest Chinese garden in Europe.The garden attracted visitors even before its opening, and many prominent visitors to Berlin, like the Mayor of Beijing, had found their way to the Chinese Garden and had been greatly impressed.

The garden is for the benefit of the public and was built with assistance from the Berlin Senate, the City of Beijing, Volkswagen Shanghai, Lufthansa and Grun Berlin Park and Garden. My very own contribution consists of decades of cultural ties with China and Chinese cinema which have motivated me in a very special way. May this garden, which was not intended to be just a brief exhibition but built to last permanently, become one of the main attractions of Berlin and a symbol of the friendship and solidarity between China and Germany.”

Manfred Durniok

> flash page: chinese garden

Film Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany
(10 TDM)

Bronze Lion at the Biennale in Venice

German Film Prize in Gold and 4 Film Prizes
of the Federal Republic of Germany

“Oscar” as Best Foreign-Language Film and
numerous other film prizes

British Academy Award, the German Film Prize and many other prizes, including an “Oscar” nomination

Highest decoration for contribution to German Films

for his filmwork

1997 GOLDEN KIKITO (Gramado Film Festival)
In recognition of his filmwork, excellence in international productions and for the film,
“Hotel Shanghai”

Certificate of the Confederation of Filmmakers’ Unions of Eurasia (during the 20th International Film Festival in Moscow)

Hu Biao Prize, the highest Chinese State Prize,
as Best Animation Film

In recognition of services to the Federal Republic
of German and its capital

Awarded by the City of Beijing

Of the American Cinema Foundation in recognition of years of service in opening the eyes of the Foundation to the East


Manfred Durniok Produktion

short films, documentaries

You will find a list of Manfred Durnioks "Documentaries" here (PDF-Document, 68 KB).


> flash page: short films, documentaries
people at busstops


Idea and direction by Manfred Durniok

“I’d seen the film “The Red Balloon”. The story is set in Paris and is about a young boy walking through the city with a balloon. It`s a cinematic fairy tale for children and adults. Taking the bus home after the film, I noticed people standing at a busstop and thought to myself: now you’ll make your first film! About people standing together by chance at busstops, waiting for the next opportunity to move on. The film that resulted was “People at Busstops”. This I submitted to the Film Evaluation Office where it received a “valuable” rating. This film rating brings with it tax incentives for cinema owners. In this way, one tried to bring in German films in the screening section before the main feature. My film, for example, was screened before Hans Albers’ “The Great Blomberg”...“




At the flash page you will find a movie clip.

> flash page: people at busstop
black new york

At the flash page you will find three movie clips:
"Black New York", "Harlem Sings" and "Memphis"





> flash page: black new york
the seventies experimental
1972 + 1975


Short film, visual and music impressions, 1972.
Directed by Manfred Durniok
Music by Oskar Sala

Cinematic impressions about the voyage to the moon, made in cooperation with NASA.
Directed by Manfred Durniok
Music by Oskar Sala




At the flash page you will find movie clips.

Manfred Durniok Produktion

feature films
feature films


You will find a list of Manfred Durnioks
"Feature Films" here (PDF-Document, 44 KB).

> flash page: feature films

Awarded with an “Oscar” as Best Foreign-Language Film and numerous film prizes
Directed by István Szabó
Feature film based on the novel of the same title by Klaus Mann

Film story, based on the novel “Mephisto” by Klaus Mann, is set in the 1920s in Germany. Its main character, the young actor Hendrik Höfgen, making his career away from the provincial stage, inevitably becomes involved in the turbulent political developments of the times.

The film is an elaborate work of art and, at the same time, a powerful study of ambition, compromise, pragmatism and self-delusion.




At the flash page you will find a movie clip.

Manfred Durniok Produktion



You will find a list of Manfred Durnioks "TV–Productions" here (PDF-Document, 48 KB)

> flash page: tv–productions
the last u–boat

Television play, big international co-production with ZDF, ORF, ABC/New York, NHK/Tokyo and Polish TV
Directed by Frank Beyer





At the flash page you will find a movie clip.

Manfred Durniok Produktion

animation films
animation films

Feature-length animation film,
co-production with China

Full-length animation film, co-production with Cuba
Directed by Juan Padron

Feature-length animation film based on
Goethe’s work, a co-production with China
Directed by He Yumen and Manfred Durniok

Puppet animation film based on
the novel of Jules Verne
Directed by Manfred Durniok and Hu Zhao Hong

Animation film based on the Grimm fairy tale
Directed by Qian Yun Da

Puppet animation film based
on the novel of Jules Verne
Directed by Hu Zhao Hong and Manfred Durniok

Puppet animation film based on
the novel of Jules Verne
Directed by Hu Zhao Hong and Manfred Durniok

Puppet animation film based on
the novel of Jules Verne
Directed by Hu Zhao Hong and Manfred Durniok

Puppet animation film based on
the novel of Jules Verne
Directed by Hu Zhao Hong

> flash page: animation films
around the world in 80 days

Puppet animation film based on the novel of
Jules Verne
Directed by Hu Zhao Hong und Manfred Durniok





At the flash page you will find a movie clip.

> flash page: around the world in 80 days
children of captain grant

Puppet animation film based on the novel of
Jules Verne
Directed by Hu Zhao Hong





At the flash page you will find a movie clip.

Manfred Durniok Produktion

face of the earth
manfred durniok, fotograf


Face of the Earth

Of course there is no one face on
Earth – there are many – but in every
face there is something of them all.

Manfred Durniok

> flash page: photography
by manfred durniok

At the flash page you will find a slide show.


Manfred Durniok Produktion

of manfred durniok


PEOPLE – An Essay Of Photography
Berlin 1972

Times Book International, Singapoore 1979

Nymphenburger Verlagshandlung, München 1981

Nymphenburger Verlagshandlung, München 1983

Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin 1990

Westkreuz Verlag, Berlin 1991

Rowohlt Berlin Verlag, Berlin 1994

Rowohlt Berlin Verlag, Berlin 1995

Verlag Das Neue Berlin, Berlin 1996

Nicolaische Verlagsbuchhandlung GmbH, Berlin 2001

Manfred Durniok Produktion

manfred durniok produktion
manfred durniok produktion

Manfred Durniok Produktion
für Film und Fernsehen

Hausotterstraße 36
13409 Berlin

Tel +49 30 491 80 45
Fax +49 30 491 40 66



Manfred Durniok Produktion



Manfred Durniok Produktion für Film und Fernsehen
Hausotterstraße 36, 13409 Berlin

Tel +49 30 491 80 45
Fax +49 30 491 40 66


Verantwortlich im Sinne des Presserechts sowie nach § 6 MDStV: Michiko Teramoto

Konzept, Design & Technik:
Rainer Weihs und Monika Lehn
design4japan Berlin


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Manfred Durniok Produktion