Villa Aurora Grant Recipients | 2006

Oct, Nov, Dec

Rick Minnich | Filmmaker

Rick Minnich
Rick Minnich
Born in Pomona, California
1988 – 1990
Internship at film distributor Kino International, New York
Semester abroad at Institute for European Studies, Vienna, extensive travels throughout Europe especially Eastern Europe
B.A. in English literature from Columbia University, New York
Internship as camera assistant for Latvian Television in Riga
Graduate studies in the School of Film and Video at CalArts
Graduate Studies in the directing program at the Hochschule für Film & Fernsehen “Konrad Wolf,” Potsdam, Germany
Free-lancer responsible for making documentary trailers for Deutsche Welle TV in Berlin
Director of the SAT.1 series “So gesehen” (German TV) 30 × 3’
Participant in the Berlinale Talent Campus
since 1997
Freelance film and translation work

Born in Pomona, California in 1968, Rick Minnich grew up in Kansas, Arizona, and California. After earning his B.A. in English literature at Columbia University in 1990, he worked as a camera assistant for Latvian Television in Riga, at which time he travelled extensively throughout Eastern and Central Europe, finally landing in Berlin, where he worked as a kitchen helper in a Greek restaurant and as an English teacher and translator. In 1991, he began studying film at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), but returned to Berlin one year later as a graduate fellow of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) at the Hochschule für Film & Fernsehen “Konrad Wolf” in Potdsam-Babelsberg, where he completed his studies in directing in 2001.

Minnich has written and directed several narrative shorts, as well as three long documentaries. His graduation film HEAVEN ON EARTH screened at IDFA and won the Babelsberg Media Prize for the best graduation film (documentary) in Germany in 2001, as well as the FIPA d’Or (first prize) in Biarritz in 2002, and several other prizes in the US and Europe. It was also nominated for the IDA/David L. Wolper Student Documentary Achievement Award.

Minnich’s debut film HOMEMADE HILLBILLY JAM (2005) premiered at the HotDocs Film Festival in Toronto, Canada in 2005, and was the opening night film of the 2005 Hot Springs Documentary Festival as well as the closing night film of the True/False Film Festival. It is distributed in the US by First Run Features.

Minnich’s latest film FORGETTING DAD, his second collaboration with co-writer and editor Matt Sweetwood, produced in association with German television ZDF and Hoferichter & Jacobs GmbH, won the Special Jury Award at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in 2008, and has won several more prizes including the Grand Jury Prize at GZDOC in Guangzhou, China. It was also on the short list for the ‘Lola’ – the German equivalent of the Academy Awards. FORGETTING DAD was released theatrically in Germany and has been broadcast on TV throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Rick Minnich’s films have screened at such prestigious venues as MOMA, Lincoln Center, the National Film Theatre and at film festivals, in theaters and on television on all six continents. Minnich lives in Berlin with his wife Susanne and their five children.