Till Schauder

Last updated
Till Schauder
Born1971 (age 5152)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Other namesTill Terror [1]
Alma mater University of Television and Film Munich
Occupation(s)Filmmaker, film director, screenplay writer, film producer, actor, educator
SpouseSara Nodjoumi

Till Schauder (born 1971), [2] is a German-born American filmmaker, film director, screenplay writer, film producer, actor and film instructor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and co-producer, Sara Nodjoumi.


Early life

Schauder was born in Seattle, Washington to German parents. [1] He moved back to Germany at age 2 and grew up in Göttingen, attending elementary, primary and high school. He left Germany at age 19 for an internship with Roger Corman’s film studio in Venice, California. [2]

In 1992 he was accepted to the University of Television and Film Munich, from which he graduated with an M.A. degree in 1998. [2]

Film career

Till Schauder wrote and directed his first feature film, Strong Shit, at age 25 while still enrolled at the University for Television and Film Munich. The film, which stars German actor Sebastian Bezzel, tells the story of four drifting youngsters after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Strong Shit won the Max Ophuels Film Festival Jury Award in 1997. His second film, Santa Smokes, which he co-wrote, co-directed, and stars in won the Best Director Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2003 and was nominated for the Grand Prix at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2003. The film's female co-star Kristy Jean Hulslander won the Best Actress Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2003. [1] [3] His third film, Duke’s House, starring Lars Rudolph, is a docu-drama about Duke Ellington’s former Harlem home, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003. After his acting debut in Santa Smokes Schauder appeared as an actor in the HBO series Mildred Pierce, which was directed by Todd Haynes and stars Kate Winslet. He also appeared in a nationwide American Express commercial in 2008.

In 2012 he completed the documentary, The Iran Job , about American basketball player Kevin Sheppard’s experience playing professional basketball in Iran. The film, which features three young and outspoken Iranian women, has political and women’s rights undertones and a message of cultural and political conciliation. [4] The film’s soundtrack features Iranian underground hip-hop and rap artists, most notably Shahin Najafi.

After journalist visas were declined, he filmed the film clandestinely, as a one-person team. The filming and the documentary’s timeline coincided with Iran’s revolutionary Green Movement. In 2008, during a production trip to Iran he was detained at Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran. He was sent back to New York 24 hours later. After two successful crowd-funding campaigns Schauder and his wife and co-producer Sara Nodjoumi completed the film in 2012. The Iran Job was executive produced by Abigail Disney. It premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2012 [5] and has since played several film festivals around the world. The film, which received widespread domestic and international press attention, was a critical success. Journalists Steven O’Heir and Steph Wrath called The Iran Job a contender for The Academy of Motion Pictures Best Documentary Award. [6] [7] The film was theatrically released in the United States in fall 2012, and in Germany in 2013. It was shortlisted for the German Academy Award in 2014. [8]

Schauder has gone on to direct the feature documentary, The Young Man and the Sea. In 2017, Schauder's feature documentary, When God Sleeps , premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. [9] The film tells the story of exiled Iranian musician Shahin Najafi, whose lyrics provoked the ire of high-ranking religious clerics in Iran. Najafi previously contributed to the soundtrack to The Iran Job, Schauder's 2012 documentary. When God Sleeps won the “Cinema for Peace Award” for Most valuable Documentary of the Year during the 2017 Berlinale, and the “Golden Heynal Award” in the International DocFilmMusic Competition at 57th Krakow Film Festival also in 2017. When God Sleeps opened theatrically in Germany and Japan in October 2017. His documentary Warriors of Faith(Glaubenskrieger) won a German Emmy for Best Documentary in 2017 and was nominated for the 2017 Prix Europa. When God Sleeps is shortlisted for the German Academy Award 2018. [10]

Schauder teaches film classes at New York University, Vermont College of Fine Arts [11] and is a frequent guest speaker at other schools.


Schauder filmography
1996City Bomber23 minutes [12]
1998Strong Shit93 minutes [12]
2002Duke's House60 minutes
2003Santa Smokeswriter, producer, director, editor, actor81 minutes [1]
2005 Galileo Mystery, Reincarnation60 minutes
2012 The Iran Job director90 minutesDocumentary about American basketball player Kevin Sheppard signed to play in Iran. [13] [14]
2015The Young Man and the Sea52 minutes
2017 Warriors of Faith (Glaubenskrieger)90 minutes
2018 When God Sleeps 88 minutesDocumentary about musician Shahin Najafi, living in Germany. [15] [16] [17]
2021Ali Can: Der Mustermigrantdirector60 minutes

Awards and honors

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tokyo International Film Festival</span> Annual film festival held in Tokyo, Japan

The Tokyo International Film Festival is a film festival established in 1985. The event was held biennially from 1985 to 1991 and annually thereafter. According to FIAPF statistics, it is one of Asia's competitive film festivals, is considered to be the second largest film festival in Asia behind the Shanghai International Film Festival, and the only Japanese festival accredited by the FIAPF.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tony Kaye (director)</span> British film director

Tony Kaye is an English director of films, music videos, advertisements, and documentaries. He directed the 1998 film American History X.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Todd Wider</span> American film producer

Todd Wider is an American plastic surgeon and Emmy Award–winning film producer based in New York, who is active in documentary filmmaking.

David Riker is an American screenwriter and film director. He is best known for his award-winning film The City, a neo-realist film about the plight of Latin American immigrants living in New York City. Riker is also the writer and director of The Girl (2012), and the co-writer of the films Sleep Dealer (2008) and Dirty Wars (2013).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marshall Curry</span> American film director (born 1970)

Marshall Curry is an Oscar-winning American documentary director, producer, cinematographer and editor. His films include Street Fight, Racing Dreams, If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, Point and Shoot, and A Night at the Garden. His first fiction film was the Academy Award-winning short film The Neighbors' Window (2019).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rakhshān Banietemad</span> Iranian film director and screenwriter

Rakhshān Banietemad is an internationally and critically acclaimed Iranian film director and screenwriter who is widely considered a premier female director and her films have been praised at international festivals as well as being popular with Iranian critics and audiences. Her title as "First Lady of Iranian Cinema" is not only a reference to her prominence as a filmmaker, but also connotes her social role of merging politics and family in her work. Her signature style is that she focuses on a character representing a part of society to explore it while staying objectively neutral. The first period of Banietemad's cinematic activity originates from dark humor. Still, in the second period of her work, dark humor gives way to serious and influential films, and deeper and broader issues are addressed. Banietemad has a more realistic view of life.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shahin Najafi</span> Iranian musician (born 1980)

Morteza Najafipoor Moghaddam, better known as Shahin Najafi, is an Iranian musician, singer, composer, poet, author, and political activist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pan Nalin</span> Indian film director

Nalin Kumar Pandya, popularly known as Pan Nalin, is an Indian filmmaker, best known for directing award-winning movies like Samsara (2001), Valley of Flowers (2006), Angry Indian Goddesses (2015) and the semi-autobiographical Chhello Show (2021). His debut feature Samsara (Miramax) was worldwide critical and commercial triumph and went on to win awards like Best First Feature Film at Durban International Film Festival, "Grand Jury Prize – Special Mention" at AFI Fest, Special Jury Award at Santa Barbara International Film Festival and "Most Popular Feature Film" at Melbourne International Film Festival in 2002. Since then Nalin has been actively making fiction and non-fiction movies which have been coproduced with countries like India, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the USA. Nalin's movies have been distributed worldwide.

Why Democracy? is a documentary film series produced by The Why Foundation, previously named Steps International. The series consists of 10 films depicting independent documentary filmmakers' personal perception of and experience with democracy. The series was broadcast by 42 different broadcasters worldwide between 8 and 18 October 2007. The series was accompanied by a global interactive conversation about "democracy," which took place in real and interactive space.

<i>The Iran Job</i> 2012 film

The Iran Job is a documentary directed by Till Schauder and produced by Sara Nodjoumi about Kevin Sheppard, a professional American basketball player, as he plays in Shiraz, Iran for the A.S. Shiraz team in the Iranian Super League. The documentary was filmed in Iran in the winter of 2008–2009, a few months before the uprising of Iran's Green Movement.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arlington International Film Festival</span>

The Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF) is an annual nonprofit film festival dedicated to promoting and increasing multicultural awareness and showcases world cinema and independent films in their original language with English subtitles. Independent film producers, directors and actors within the US and abroad are invited to participate in engaging panel discussions and Q&A sessions after the screenings. Each year the festival greets more than 2,000 movie aficionados and shows about fifty films from all over the world with an impressive lineup of premieres. The Arlington International Film Festival also includes a year-round events such as poster contest competitions, pre-festival screenings and art exhibitions with local artists and performances by musicians, singers and dancers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Candescent Films</span>

Candescent Films is an American film production company that produces and finances documentary and narrative films that explore social issues.

Motto Pictures is a documentary production company based in Brooklyn, New York specializing in producing and executive producing documentary features. Motto secures financing, builds distribution strategies, and creatively develops films, and has produced over 25 feature documentaries and won numerous awards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Babak Najafi</span> Iranian-Swedish film director

Babak Najafi Karami is an Iranian film director, screenwriter, and cinematographer. He is known for directing the 2016 film London Has Fallen.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ayat Najafi</span> Iranian film director and screenwriter (born 1976)

Ayat Najafi is an Iranian film director and screenwriter. He has received many international awards from the Berlin International Film Festival and Outfest for "Football Under Cover" and also Montreal World Film Festival for No Land's Song.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Julie Goldman (producer)</span> American film producer

Julie Goldman is a film producer and executive producer. She founded Motto Pictures in 2009. She is an Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning producer and executive producer of documentary feature films and series.

When God Sleeps is a 2017 documentary directed by Till Schauder and produced by Schauder and Sara Nodjoumi. It centers around exiled Iranian musician Shahin Najafi, whose provocative lyrics resulted in Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpaygani and Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem-Shirazi issuing separate fatwa against Najafi for apostasy.

Marina Zenovich is an American filmmaker known for her biographical documentaries. Her films include LANCE, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic and Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, which won two Emmy awards.

Mostafa Heravi is an Iranian filmmaker, photographer, and visual artist currently residing in Netherlands.

Jessica Kingdon is a Chinese American director and producer. She was nominated for the 2022 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for directing the documentary Ascension.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Gates, Anita (2004-12-15). "Mommy, I Saw Santa Claus Smoking". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  2. 1 2 3 "German Film at Doc Edge Festival". Goethe-Institut Libanon. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  3. Film Threat. ""SANTA SMOKES" AT THE PIONEER".
  4. Walsh, Katie (27 June 2012). "L.A. Film Fest Review: 'The Iran Job' Is A Warm, Winning Tale of One Basketball Player's Experience In Iran". Indiewire.
  5. Sharkley, Betsy. "LA Times Film Review". www.latimes.com.{{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  6. O'Heir, Andrew (10 October 2012). ""The Iran Job": Love and basketball — in Shiraz?". Salon.com.
  7. Feinberg, Scott (25 November 2012). "NOV 25 1 years FEINBERG FORECAST: Updated Projections (With 13 Weeks Until the 85th Oscars)". Hollywood Reporter.
  8. Levine, Sydney. "The Iran Job Shortlisted for German Academy Award". Indiewire.
  9. "When God Sleeps | 2017 Tribeca Film Festival". Tribeca. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  10. WDR (2017-10-28). "Zwei WDR-Produktionen von Deutscher Akademie für Fernsehen ausgezeichnet - Presselounge - WDR". presse.wdr.de (in German). Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  11. "Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA Film, Faculty".
  12. 1 2 Schellenberg, Dylan (September 25, 2017). "Oxford College hosts 'When God Sleeps' screening". The Covington News. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  13. DeWitt, David (2012-10-12). "A U.S. Basketball Player in the Axis of Evil". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  14. Kehr, Dave (2012-09-07). "October Release Schedule". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  15. Aridi, Sara (2018-04-02). "What's on TV Monday: 'King in the Wilderness' and 'The Good Karma Hospital'". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  16. Kramer, Gary M. (2017-04-22). ""When this concert happened where we had concrete threats, I faced the same dilemma as his musicians": Till Schauder, director of "When God Sleeps," talks about Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi". Salon. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  17. Legaspi, Althea (2017-03-09). "Diddy to Premiere 'Can't Stop, Won't Stop' Doc at Tribeca". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2022-02-23.