Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein is the son of the painter Karl Schmidt-Reitwein.
Jörg spent the first years of his life in Lübeck near the Baltic Sea.
There he attended the Waldorf School and afterwards studied Physics for a few semesters. Then he switched to Film and went for that in 1959 to Berlin.
He completed several practica in various film management areas such as film laboratory and sound studio. Suddenly his career structure broke up, as he was captured on the East German side after the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, when he tried to help his girlfriend travel to the west. In a whirlwind political sham trial he was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment as an accused human trafficker and bounty hunter. After spending more than 3 years in a maximum-security penitentiary, the West German government struck a back-room deal exchanging 84,000DM worth of butter for his freedom.
After his release in 1964, Schmidt-Reitwein started his professional career again from the very beginning as a camera assistant in Munich. In 1969 Werner Herzog gave him his greatest chance by inviting him to be the Director of Photography in a Docu-Feature film for the first time. Out of this collaboration emerged “Fata Morgana” to critical acclaim. Thereafter he worked with Werner Herzog on
17 more movies and documentary films.
Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein continued his career as Director of Photography with a number of well-known and outstanding directors such as Alexander Kluge, Herbert Achternbusch, Sepp Bierbechler, H. C. Blumenberg, Werner Schroeter, Alan Greenberg, Markus Fischer, Douglas Wolfsperger, and André Heller, among others. He won 2 German Film Prizes in Gold* for Outstanding Individual Achievement for his light speciality on his films with Werner Herzog, “Heart of Glass” and “Where the Green Ants Dream.” For the camera work in his latest feature film, MARMORERA, he won the Premio a la Mejor Fotografia at the XVII International Fantastic Film Festival in Malaga, Spain. Also of special note is his Documentary about the first Lady of Pilippines : Imelda Marcos in 2001.
Schmidt-Reitwein’s DoP work encompasses feature films, TV movies, documentaries, art films, music videos and commercials. He has lectured at Baden-Württemberg Film Academy in Ludwigsberg, Germany, and at the Film Academy of the University of the Philippines in Manila, and has also served as Jury Member at Cameraimage, the only film festival for DoPs. He has worked all over the world. At present he lives with his family in a farm house in Bavaria near the Inn River.
* Bundesfilmpreis (now called Deutscher Filmpreis)--comparable to the Oscars, it is the highest award for film in Germany.