Stefanie Sycholt



Born in Pretoria, South Africa, Stefanie Sycholt obtained a BA (Hons) degree in Political Science and African Cultural Studies at the University of Cape Town. She was a student of Nobel prize winning writer J.M.Coetzee. Stefanie was active in the anti apartheid student movement and was the media office of the National Union of South African Students. After working as a director and DOP at an anti-apartheid video unit in Durban, Stefanie came to Munich in the early 1990s to study at the Munich Film and TV School. After graduating she now spends her time between Germany and South Africa working as a writer and director. She has also worked in the Creative Writing Department of the University for Film and Television in Munich, headed by Doris Dörrie.

Apart from writing and directing numerous feature films for German TV, Stefanie has made two award winning international features for the big screen: MALUNDE and THEMBA: A BOY CALLED HOPE. She is preparing her next two features for the big screen: THE SUMMER DRESS, dealing with the family of a young transgender child, and THE LONELINESS OF THUNDER. Both of these projects have received script and development funding from two German state film funds.  

Stefanie has won over 30 international prizes for her films:  These include the German Critics Award for best Film, Cinema for Peace Honorary Award, International UNICEF Children's Rights Film Prize, Starter-Prize City of  Munich, best film, Bernhard Wicki Prize, DGB Prize, Best World Cinema Mill Valley Film Festival, San Fransisco, South African National Film Award, the Avanti  für Bester Film, Best Director, 2 x Best Lead Actor, Best Youth Film  Fünfseen Filmfest, Centre Internationale de Film Pour L'Enfance et Jeunesse (Unesco sponsored) - the international youth film prize 2012, Best Film Aichi International Women's Film Festival, Japan, Förderpreis Dokumentarfilm FFF Bayern, 2nd prize/Film Fest Emden for her script THE LONELINESS OF THUNDER  ...  

Praise for THEMBA:
“It's a very good film. I hope it can get one or two Oscars.” Archbishop (em.) Desmond Mpilo Tutu.  
“Themba is one of the most impressively made and honestly expressed South African films we have seen for a long time”. Renowned South African film critic Barry Ronge
A major German TV station; the MDR/ARD heralded THEMBA “as the most important film of the summer 2010.”  
“Beautifully shot by frequent Wim Wenders cinematographer Jürgen Jürges, director-writer Sycholt's first feature has ”best foreign-language film Oscar” written all over it. “– NOW, Toronto