Fred Kelemen

© Oliver Dietze


Fred Kelemen studied painting, music, philosophy, religious science and drama studies and worked in various theatres as a director’s assistant before beginning his studies in directing and cinematography at the German Film and TV Academy Berlin. He graduated from the dffb with a diploma as director and cinematographer. 
For his diploma film Fate, which the late Susan Sontag referred to in her essay The Decay of Cinema and which she called a „visionary, one-of-a-kind achievement“, Kelemen received the German National Film Award in 1995. 

Since then, Fred Kelemen has made a number of films and videos as director and collaborated as cinematographer with film directors such as Joseph Pitchhadze (Sweets, 2012), Béla Tarr (Journey to the Plain, 1995, The Man from London, 2007, The Turin Horse, 2011 ), Rudolf Thome (The Visible and the Invisible, 2006), Gariné Torossian (Stone, Time, Touch, 2005) a.o.
In 2016/17 Fred Kelemen performed as an actor in the film Suspiria by Luca Guadagnino with Tilda Swinton, Ingrid Caven, Angela Winkler, Dakota Johnson, Mia Goth besides others.

Since 1995 Kelemen has worked as an associate professor and has given master classes and lectures at universities, film academies and art colleges in Barcelona, Geneva, Cambridge (USA), Kidderminster, Riga, Santiago de Chile, Bangkok, Berlin, Tel Aviv and Lyon. 

Moreover, Fred Kelemen has directed several plays at theatres in Germany. Retrospectives of his work have been presented at places like the Anthology Film Archives New York, the Tate Modern London, the Hungarian National Film Theatre Budapest and at cinematheques, film museums and film festivals worldwide. With his film production company Kino Kombat Filmmanufactur he produced and coproduced numerous films. Fred Kelemen is a member of the German Film Academy, the European Film Academy and of the European Cultural Parliament. In early 2013 Fred Kelemen received the German Film Critics Award 2012  - the Innovation Award for outstanding visual design and his complete artistic works.

Fred Kelemen has been chosen to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


Missing People, 2019
Directed by Béla Tarr

Esau, 2018
Directed by Pawel Lungin
(Russia, Israel)

Muhamed (13'), 2017
Directed by Béla Tarr

Sarajevo Songs of Woe, 2016
I. Blue Ballad for Lovers / II. Blue Psalm for Wolves / III. Blue Rondo for Survivors
Directed by Fred Kelemen
(Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany

Sweets, 2013
Directed by Joseph Pitchhadze

(Israel, France)

The Turin Horse
, 2009/ 2011

Directed by Béla Tarr

(Hungary, USA, France, Switzerland, Germany)

- „Golden Camera 300“ – Bester Kameramann - International Cinematographers’ Film Festival Manaki Brothers/Mazedonien 2011
- Ungarischer Filmpreis "Magyar Filmkitiikusok Dija" – Bester Kameramann – 2012/  Ungarn


The Man from London
, 2005/ 2007

Directed by Béla Tarr

(Hungary, France, Switzerland, Germany)


Das Sichtbare und das Unsichtbare
, 2006

Directed by Rudolf Thome



, 2005

Directed by Fred Kelemen

(Latvia, Germany)

- Prix FIPRESCI (Preis der Internationalen Filmkritik für den besten Film) – Festival of European Cinema, Lecce/Italien 2005
- Spezialpreis der Jury für die beste Regie - Festival of European Cinema, Lecce/Italien 2005
- Preis für die beste Kinematographie - Festival of European Cinema,Lecce/Italien 2005
- Lettischer Nationaler Filmpreis, Lettland 2005
- „Sergo-Parajanov-Prize“ für den besten Film – Tbilisi International Film Festival/Georgien 2006
- „Silver Prometheus“ für den besten Regisseur – Tbilisi International Film Festival/Georgien  2006


, 1999

Directed by Fred Kelemen

(Germany, Portugal)

- Prix FIPRESCI (Preis der Internationalen Filmkritik für den besten Film) – Thessaloniki International Film Festival/Griechenland 1999
- Premio „Principado de Asturias“ al mejor largometraje (Preis für den besten Film) – Gijón International Film Festival/Spanien 1999
- “Prix Aurora” – Tromsö International Film Festival/Norwegen 1999

, 1997/ 1998

Directed by Fred Kelemen

- Innovation Award (Bester innovativer Film) – Festival Internacional de Cine de Figueira da Foz/Portugal 1997
- Prix FIPRESCI (Preis der Internationalen Filmkritik für den besten Film Rotterdam International Film Festival/Niederlande 1998
- Cariddi D’Argento Alla Migliore Regia (Preis für den besten Regisseur) Taormina International Film Festival/Italien 1998
, 1994

Directed by Fred Kelemen

- Prix FIPRESCI (Preis der Internationalen Filmkritik für den besten Film) Special Mention – Toronto International Film Festival/Kanada 1994
- Publikumspreis – Filmfestival “Max-Ophüls-Preis” Saarbrücken/Deutschland 1995
- Deutscher Filmpreis – Deutschland 1995
- Precolumbian Gold Circle Award für den besten Regisseur – Bogota International Film Festival/Kolumbien 1995
- Preis für den besten Regisseur – Molodist International Film Festival Kiev/Ukraine 1995
- “Arsenáls Magic Crystal” – “Arsenáls Film Forum” Riga International Film Festival/Lettland 1996

Kalyi, 1991/ 1993
Directed by Fred Kelemen
(Germany, Hungary)


Stone Time Touch, 2004
Directed by Gariné Torossian
(Canada, Armenia)
Tatao Samoa, 2000
Directed by Gisa Schleelein
(Germany, Switzerland)

Short film

Journey on the Plain, 1995
Directed by Béla Tarr

© Fred Kelemen 2016

Director of Photography for: Sarajevo Songs of Woe
directed by Fred Kelemen

Sarajevo Songs of Woe is a filmic triptych composed of the two tales "Blue Ballad for Lovers" and "Blue Rondo for Survivors" and the documentary middle part "Blue Psalm for Wolves". They are flowing into each other and so building up a universal mosaic of fragmented life situated in the town of Sarajevo. The camera follows different protagonists and interweaves with their cinematic round-dance of hope and despair, love and death and their quest for a dignified life which is fragilely stretched between the desire for the warmth of love and the coldness of our civilisation's reality.

- I. Blue Ballad for Lovers / II. Blue Psalm for Wolves / III. Blue Rondo for Survivors -
(140 min. - black & white / colour, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina 2016)

World Premiere: 32nd Warsaw Film Festival 2016

Fred Kelemen has been chosen to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy President Hawk Koch mentioned that he ranks "among the best filmmakers working in the industry today". The Academy officially welcomed its new members in September 2013, stating that "their talent and creativity have captured the imagination of audiences worldwide".

Director of Photography for: Sukariot (Sweets) 
directed by Joseph Pitchhadze

Sweets (Sukariot) was initiated by a newspaper article about a brutal rivalry between Jewish and Arab coffee manufacturers  is an Israeli production. The screenplay was written by Joseph Pitchhadze together with Dov Stoyer (who also co-wrote and produced Year Zero with him).
 “Originally, the idea for the film was a conflict involving candy that escalates into a political war, which attempts to touch on the existential condition of man in the modern world. ... There are many political elements in his movie“, Pitchhadze explains, “but they always stem from the humane, from human beings. I wanted to touch on all sorts of existential, regional and human problems that we all deal with all the time, but I wanted to do it not by dealing with politics directly, but rather through a business competition.”
The cinematography has been entrusted to Fred Kelemen, whom Pitchhadze describes as “an incredible cinematographer. “This is a movie that is made up entirely of one-shots − [scenes shot in their entirety without cutting] except for one scene − and that means very complicated choreography of camera with actors, with space, and with time,” he continues. “Since Fred is probably the best photographer alive today, at least in my eyes, with him this is doable.”