Mund, Karlheinz


Karlheinz Mund was born in Eberswalde, Germany, on September 11, 1937. Before studying film directing at the Academy for Film and Television in Potsdam-Babelsberg from 1959 to 1963, he worked as a lighting technician at the DEFA Studio for Documentary Film. After graduating from the academy, he joined the studio as an assistant director to Joachim Hellwig and Walter Heynowski.

In 1964, Mund made his directorial debut with the short Harlekin, Pantalone und wir, about Eberhard Kube, one of the few pantomime artists in East Germany. Portraits of artists remained of special interest to Mund throughout his career. He explored the lives of unknown and almost forgotten creative people, including: Pierre de Geyter, the composer of the “Internationale” (De Geyter - Geschichte eines Liedes); the photographer Walter Ballhause, whose photographs from the 1930s only became known decades later (Walter Ballhause - einer von Millionen); and Elizabeth Hauptmann, an artist who worked in the shadow of Bertolt Brecht (Die Mit-Arbeiterin). Mund’s artist films are also observations on society and the political climate that stimulated or hindered artistic work. Otto Nagel 1894-1967 is a recollection of the painter’s life in Berlin; Geschichte eines Bildes is about Franz Marc and the unsolved disappearance of his famous painting The Tower of the Blue Horses; in Büchermachen in finsterer Zeit, about the fate of the Jewish publisher Fritz H. Landshoff, Mund also discusses the situation of art and artists during the Nazi era.

Among the films he directed after the fall of the Wall, the topic of art remained important for Mund. His full-length films about the writers Christa Wolf (Zeitschleifen – Im Dialog mit Christa Wolf) and Franz Fühmann (Das Bergwerk – Der Schriftsteller Franz Fühmann) and publisher/dramaturg Walter Janka (Aufgeben oder neu beginnen – Walter Janka) are reflections on important East German intellectuals as well as German history.

As of beginning of the 1980s, Mund became interested in problems faced by disabled people in East Germany. He was the only DEFA director who approached this topic, which was not always welcomed by officials. He visits a school for children with brain-damage and meets their parents and teachers in Sie brauchen uns. Spielzeug für die Schwächeren, a portrait of Helene Haeusler, who designed therapeutic toys for disabled children. RambaZamba is about an unusual Berlin theater project, in which mentally-challenged young people have the chance to develop their artistic skills.

Throughout Mund’s career, director of photography Christian Lehmann has been a regular collaborator. They worked together on Mund’s early films on expatriates in the GDR (Canto de Fé, about Spanish communists living in the GDR, and Oxi – Nein, about the over 2,000 Greeks exiled in the GDR after the 1967 military coup), his films set in Siberia (Nordzuschlag - Sibirische Charaktere, An Ob und Irtysch, and In Sibirien), and his films about critical views of the GDR (Stadtlandschaften and Warteschleife?). Lehmann also filmed Mund’s portrait of the Spanish painter Núria Quevedo (Núria Quevedo – Eine Berlinerin aus Barcelona), whose family moved to East Germany at the beginning of the 1950s and who has been married to Mund since 1960. Karlheinz Mund lives in Berlin.

Festivals & Awards:

1979 Special Prize of the Association of Film and Television Artists, Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animation Film for Erinnerungen an Otto René Castillo
1976 Official Program, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, WML - Steiger oder Maler
1975 Silver Prize, Moscow International Film Festival, for Nordzuschlag - Sibirische Charaktere
1970 Official Program, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, Oxi - Nein

Bibliography & More:

Schenk, Ralf. “Belästigungen. Die Filme des Dokumentaristen Karlheinz Mund.” film-dienst 15 (1998).


Schenk, Ralf. Zeitzeugengespräch mit Karlheinz Mund. Berlin: ajour. 2001.


2003 Núria Quevedo – Eine Berlinerin aus Barcelona (Núria Quevedo: A Berliner from Barcelona)
1998 Das Bergwerk – Der Schriftsteller Franz Fühmann (The Mine: The Writer Franz Fühmann, TV)
1993 RambaZamba. Theaterarbeit mit Behinderten (RambaZamba: Theater Projects with Disabled People)
1992 ABF-Memorien (Memories about the Faculty for Workers and Farmers)
1991 Schulstunde mit Ton (Lesson with Clay)
1991 Warteschleife? (Waiting in Line?)
1990 Aufgeben oder neu beginnen – Walter Janka (Walter Janka: Give Up or Begin Anew, TV)
1990-91 Zeitschleifen – Im Dialog mit Christa Wolf (Time Loop: In Conversation with Christa Wolf)
1989 Probleme am laufenden Band (Problems on the Conveyer Belt)
1989 Schulstunde mit Torso (Lesson with Torso)
1988 Geschichte eines Bildes "Der Turm der blauen Pferde", Franz Marc, 1913 (Story of a Painting: The Tower of the Blue Horses)
1986 Spielzeug für die Schwächeren (Helene Hausler: Designer for Therapeutic Toys)
1985-87 DEFA-KINOBOX (series)
1985 Spanien im Herzen - Hans Beimler und andere (Spain in Our Hearts: Hans Beimler and Others)
1984 Büchermachen in finsterer Zeit (Publishing in Dark Times, TV)
1984 Eisenbahnerfamilie (Railroad Family, TV)
1982 Walter Ballhause – Einer von Millionen (Walter Ballhause: One among Millions)
1981 Stadtlandschaften (City Landscapes)
1981 Sie brauchen uns. Beobachtungen in einer Hilfsschule (They Need Us: Observations in a School for the Disabled, TV)
1979 Erinnerungen an Otto René Castillo (Remembering Otto René Castillo)
1978 De Geyter – Geschichte eines Liedes (De Geyter: The Story of a Song)
1976 In Sibirien (In Siberia)
1976 WML – Steiger oder Maler (WML: Foreman or Painter)
1976 Köchin in der Taiga (The Taiga Cook
1975 An Ob und Irtysch (On the Ob and Irtysh Rivers)
1975 Nordzuschlag  Sibirische Charaktere (Special Premium: Siberian Characters)
1972 Die Mit-Arbeiterin (The Co-Worker, TV)
1971 Theodor Fontane  Wanderungen durch die Mark (Theodor Fontane: Walks through the March Brandenburg)
1970 Otto Nagel 1894-1967
1969 Oxi – Nein (Oxi – No)
1968 DDR-Magazin 1968/40 (GDR Magazine: Brecht Dialog 1968)
1968 Eine Sommerreise (A Summer Journey)
1966 Memento
1965 Canto de Fé (Song of Hope, TV)
1964 Harlekin, Pantalone und wir (Harlequin, Pantalone and Us)

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