"Talking Germany" host Peter Craven speaks with Adolf Winkelmann about coal, soccer and culture.
For decades, Adolf Winkelmann has been considered one of Germany's most independent film directors. He does not shy away from controversial issues.
In his home city of Dortmund, he created a well-respected video installation in conjunction with the event Ruhr 2010, the European Cultural Capital.
Winkelmann was born in 1946 in Hallenberg, a Westphalian town at the edge of the Ruhr Valley. His parents has moved there after their home in Dortmund was destroyed in the bombing of World War Two. Soon, the family moved back to the city, and Adolf Winkelmann and his brother grew up there. At the beginning of the 1970s, Winkelmann began making his first tv-movies and documentaries, most of which were set in the Ruhr Valley. As he worked, his success grew. For his two-part tv-thriller "Der Leibwächter," Winkelmann was awarded the Adolf Grimme Prize in silver. Later, in 1983, he made the soccer film, "Nordkurve," which depicts a Saturday in the life of a Dortmund soccer fan on which there is a decisive match. Winkelmann celebrated one of his greatest successes in 2007, with the two-part tv-movie "Contergan." The film addressed the thalidomide scandal in the 1960s. "Contergan" caused controversy even before it was aired. At the time, the pharmaceuticals company Grünenthal, which marketed the sedative in the 1960s, tried to get a court injunction blocking its broadcast. But the motion failed and the first part of the film was viewed by more than seven million people. The public debate that ensued led the German government to change a law to increase pension compensation for the Contergan victims who were still alive. The move was unprecedented in Germany. Since 1979, Adolf Winkelmann has been teaching film design at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Dortmund. He lives in Dortmund, with his second wife, Christiane Schaefer-Winkelmann – the managing director of his production company, and their daughter Jenny.