"Russian Ark" [2001] - photo by Alexander Belenkiy


Born: 22 January 1961 [or 1964], East Germany [DDR].

Education: Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen 'Konrad Wolf', Potsdam-Babelsberg [graduated in 1988].

Career: Started as Steadicam op and ph for East German tv.

Ph commercials dir by Stephan Hadjam, a.o. Ph music videos.

Awards: European Film Award nom [2002], The Village Voice Film Critics Poll '2nd place' [2002], DKP 'Lobende Erwähnung' [2003] & Málaga International Week of Fantastic Cinema 'Best Cinematography' [2003] for 'Russian Ark'.

Note: There is a director named Tilman Büttner who dir e.g. the tv-series 'Le petit gnome/Der kleine Gnom' for SWR-tv Schulfernsehen. It's not our Tilman Büttner.

"Sokurov's 'Russian Ark' is a vast philosophical achievement that came about through an exhaustive two years of preparation involving 867 actors, three live orchestras and a Steadicam shot that covers 4,265 feet of Hermitage floor space. The project would have been impossible without the Sony HDW-F900 24p High Definition camera, which provides mobility, a gorgeous visual palette, and flexibility in low-light situations. While video will never be film, this new technology has become an art form in its own right - a fitting metaphor for 'Russian Ark's old leading into the new. The man behind the camera that weaves us through 'Russian Ark' is Tilman Büttner.

'One big issue was that there were main halls of the museum that had absolutely no daylight at all, and then there would be other rooms containing huge windows. Since 'Russian Ark' was a film done entirely in one shot, without cuts, we were unable to use any filters on the camera to compensate for the different rooms. I wouldn't be able to change the filters once we started shooting. Most of the color matching was done later, in postproduction. But while filming, it was most important to provide a basic look for the project. All of the information had to be there in the image, and we went warmer because it's easier to lose the warm tones in postproduction than to recreate them. [...] We were in preparation for 'Russian Ark' two years before shooting, and I met with Sokurov about seven times in St. Petersburg. He and I walked the course we would take through The Hermitage, but only with a little MiniDV camera - not the Steadicam. I was blinded by the beauty that was all around me, all of those works of art, and it was a fascinating experience even then. We would do little rehearsals of the camera movement, just the two of us. Only much later in pre-production did we work on special transitions with the main actors. Actually, that was only in the last week right before shooting began. We were only able to rehearse with about half of the actors and extras performing the waltz, planning out the choreography and where they would go. But we never had a full run through. I must tell you, everything came together only on the shooting day. In a sense, it was a filmed rehearsal. I remember, after working so hard the night before, we were already very tired at the moment we started shooting. [...] We only had one shooting day, and one day before shooting for preparing the lights for the 35 different rooms there. For my crew, I had 40 lighting men with only 36 hours to prepare. There was absolutely no possibility to rehearse for lighting at all. All of that was conceptualized theoretically on blueprints of the museum.

For me, of course, it was an artistic challenge to do a feature-length project in one shot. I suppose you can make a one-take movie with a camera on a tripod or table, but it's less adventurous to do it that way. To do it in motion is far more daring. But it is a dream for any cinematographer when given the chance, to do everything I did on 'Russian Ark'. That made this a special project for me. It would have been much too complicated to divide the responsibilities among three people: Steadicam operator, director of photography, and lighting designer. And I wanted to prove that I was not just a Steadicam operator, but a full photographer as well.'" [From interview by Jeremiah Kipp in 'Filmmaker', 2002.]


1991        Stalin-Allee [Sven Boeck] BetaSP/c; doc/29m

200?        Berlin Robots [Claus Dowie] HD/c; short/?m

[Holding camera] with dir Aleksandr Sokurov [right] - "Russian Ark"

2001        Russkij kovcheg/Russian Ark [Aleksandr Sokurov] HD-to-35mm/c; shot on 23 December 2001

2002        Ten Minutes Older: The Cello [seg 'The Enlightenment' dir by Volker Schlöndorff] b&w-c; 8 seg; cph: Andreas Höfer

2003        Hinter der Tür [Neco Çelik] c; short/15m

2004        Große Lügen/Frequenzbaby [Jany Tempel] c; cph: Helmfried Kober; 2uc: Oliver Köppel & Yoliswa Gärtig

2005        Kabale und Liebe/Love and Intrigue [Leander Haußmann] tvm/DigiBeta

2006        Holt Bubinski [Leander Haußmann] tv-pilot

2007        Warum Männer nicht zuhören und Frauen slecht einparken können [Leander Haußmann] c; 2uc: István Imreh


Was Steadicam op on several tv-shows for ZDF-tv [e.g. 'ZDF Hitparade'], RTL-tv & ARD-tv.

1988        Polizeiruf 110 [ep #131 'Drei Flaschen Tokajer' dir by Udo Witte] tv-series, 1971-91 (in the DDR) & 1993-present;

                    Steadicam op; ph: Rolf Laskowski

1989        Polizeiruf 110 [ep #136 'Tödliche Träume' dir by Thomas Jacob] Steadicam op; ph: Wolfram Huth; see 1988

1992        Vater Mutter Mörderkind [Heiner Carow; tvm] Steadicam op; ph: Martin Schlesinger

1995        Reis zonder einde/Journey Without End [Ruud Keers; tv-doc] Steadicam op; ph: Fred Tammes

1995        Sexy Sadie/Komm zurück, sexy Sadie [Matthias Glasner] Steadicam op; ph: Sonja Rom

1996        Berlin Babylon [Hubertus Siegert; doc] Steadicam op; ph: Thomas Plenert & Ralf Dobrick; prod 1996-2000

1997        Turandot at the Forbidden City of Beijing [Hugo & Ruth Käch; tv-opera] Steadicam op; ph: Cristiano Pogany

1997        Lola rennt/Run Lola Run [Tom Tykwer] co-Steadicam op; ph: Frank Griebe

1997        Babyraub - Kinder fremder Mächte [Elodie Keene; tvm] Steadicam op; ph: Carl Finkbeiner

1997        mammamia [Sandra Nettelbeck; tvm] co-Steadicam op; ph: Michael Bertl

1998        Polizeiruf 110 [ep #204 'Discokiller' dir by Marco Serafini & #209 'Mörderkind' dir by Matti Geschonneck] Steadicam op;

                    ph: Sebastian Richter; see 1988

1998        Der Brief/The Letter [Jan Sasse; short] prod; ph: István Imreh; prod: HFF Potsdam-Babelsberg

1998        Absolute Giganten/Gigantics [Sebastian Schipper] Steadicam op; ph: Frank Griebe

1999        Alphamann [Thomas Jauch; 2-part tvm] Steadicam op; ph: Jörg Widmer ('Amok') & Uli Kudicke ('Die Selbstmörderin')

1999        Die Männer vom K3 [ep #36 'Tyrannenmord' dir by Jan Ruzicka; tv-series] co-Steadicam op; ph: Michael Tötter

1999        Otto - Der Katastrofenfilm [Edzard Onneken] Steadicam op; ph: Hagen Bogdanski

1999        Gripsholm [Xavier Koller] c.op 'a' cam + Steadicam op; ph: Pio Corradi

1999        Glückliches Ende [Jochen Alexander Freydank; short] Steadicam op; ph: Michael Mieke

1999        Nick Knatterton - Der Film [Niki List] co-Steadicam op; ph: Hagen Bogdanski

2000        Die Verhaftung des Johann Nepomuk Nestroy [Dieter Berner; tvm] Steadicam op; ph: Carl Finkbeiner

2000        Emil und die Detektive [Franziska Buch] co-Steadicam op; ph: Hannes Hubach

2000        Viktor Vogel - Commercial Man/Advertising Rules! [Lars Kraume] Steadicam op; ph: Andreas Doub

2000        Vaya con dios [Zoltan Spirandelli] Steadicam op; ph: Dieter Deventer

2000        Heidi M. [Michael Klier] Steadicam op; ph: Sophie Maintigneux

2000        Was tun, wenn's brennt?/What to Do in Case of Fire [Gregor Schnitzler] Steadicam op; ph: Andreas Berger

2000        Null Uhr 12 [Bernd Michael Lade] Steadicam op; ph: Michael Heiter

2001        Tattoo [Robert Schwentke] co-Steadicam op (Berlin); ph: Jan Fehse

2001        Große Mädchen weinen nicht/Big Girls Don't Cry [Maria von Heland] co-Steadicam op; ph: Roman Osin

2001        Highway [Xavier Koller; simulator film for Volkswagen Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany] Steadicam op; ph: David B.


2001        Nitschewo [Stefan Sarazin] co-Steadicam op; ph: Jan Fehse

2001        Nackt/Naked [Doris Dörrie] Steadicam op; ph: Frank Griebe

2002        Anatomie 2/Anatomy 2 [Stefan Ruzowitzky] Steadicam op; ph: Andreas Berger

2002        Ten Minutes Older: The Cello [seg 'Ten Minutes After' dir by István Szabó] Steadicam op; ph: Lajos Koltai

2002        Prisoner of Paradise [Malcolm Clarke & Stuart Sender; doc] Steadicam op; ph: Michael Hammon

2002        Baltic Storm [Reuben Leder] Steadicam op; ph: Robert Nordström & Nicolas Joray

2003        Workingman's Death [Michael Glawogger; doc] Steadicam op Indonesia; ph: Wolfgang Thaler; prod 2002-05

2003        Irgendwas ist immer/Wie man seinen Ex verlässt/How to Leave Your Ex/Push and Pull [Péter Palátsik; tvm]

                    Steadicam op; ph: Peter von Haller

2003        Soloalbum [Gregor Schnitzler] Steadicam op; ph: Gero Steffen

2003        Männer wie wir/Guys and Balls [Sherry Horman] co-Steadicam op; ph: Hanno Lentz

2003        Yugotrip [Nadya Derado] Steadicam op; ph: Benjamin Dernbecher

2003        Stauffenberg/Operation Valkyrie [Jo Baier; tvm] Steadicam op; ph: Gunnar Fuss

2003        Der Untergang/Downfall [Oliver Hirschbiegel] co-Steadicam op; ph: Rainer Klausmann

2003        Beyond the Sea [Kevin Spacey] Steadicam op; ph: Eduardo Serra

2004        Gespenster [Christian Petzold] Steadicam op; ph: Hans Fromm

2004        NVA [Leander Haußmann] Steadicam op; ph: Frank Griebe

2004        Die Bluthochzeit/De bloedbruiloft [Dominique Deruddere] Steadicam op; ph: Danny Elsen

2005        Die Luftbrücke - Nur der Himmel war frei [Dror Zahavi; 2-part tvm] co-Steadicam op; ph: Gero Steffen

2005        Das verhangene Bild [Henri Steinmetz; short] Steadicam op; ph: Robert Oberrainer; prod Filmakademie Wien

2005        Elementarteilchen [Oskar Roehler] co-Steadicam op; ph: Carl-Friedrich Koschnick

2005        Meine Mutter tanzend [Jan Ruzicka; tvm] Steadicam op; ph: Gunnar Fuss

2006        Beutolomäus und der geheime Weihnachtswunsch [Karl Heinz Käfer; tvm] Steadicam op; ph: Michael Wiesweg

2006        Herrliches, närrisches Thüringen [2006] [Michael Becker; tv-show] co-Steadicam op; electronic camera: Thomas

                    Höfer, a.o.

2006        Hedda Gabler [Hannes Rossacher (tv) & Thomas Ostermeier (stage); theatre perf] co-Steadicam op; ph: Martin

                    Baer, a.o.

2006        Yella [Christian Petzold] co-Steadicam op; ph: Hans Fromm

2006        Die Gipfelstürmerin [Dirk Regel; tvm] Steadicam op; ph: Peter Ziesche

2006        Max Raabe & Palastorchester - In der Berliner Waldbühne [Henning Kasten; mus perf] Steadicam op; ph: Andreas


2006        Polizeiruf 110 [ep #284 'Tod in der Bank' dir by Dirk Regel] Steadicam op; ph: Stephan Wagner; see 1988

2006        Ein fliehendes Pferd/Runaway Horse [Rainer Kaufmann] co-Steadicam op; ph: Klaus Eichhammer

2007        Herrliches, närrisches Thüringen [2007] [Michael Becker; tv-show] co-Steadicam op; electronic camera: Thomas

                    Höfer, a.o.

2007        Kleine Gartenmusik [Henning Möller; show series] Steadicam op

2007        Stopping Power [Jan de Bont] Steadicam op + c.op 'b' cam; ph: Óttar Guðnason; cancelled after 2 days of shooting

2007        Die Frau des Frisörs [Jan Ruzicka; tvm] Steadicam op; ph: Michael Tötter

2007        Effi Briest [Hermine Huntgeburth] co-Steadicam op; ph: Martin Langer

2007        The Reader [Stephen Daldry] Steadicam op 'a' cam; ph: Roger Deakins (2007) & Chris Menges (2008); filmed 2007-08

2008        Herrliches, närrisches Thüringen [2008] [Michael Becker; tv-show] Steadicam op

2008        The Countess [Julie Delpy] co-Steadicam op; ph: Martin Ruhe

2008        Jerichow [Christian Petzold] Steadicam op; ph: Hans Fromm

2008        Jenseits der Mauer [Friedemann Fromm; tvm] Steadicam op; ph: Hanno Lentz

2008        Pandorum [Christian Alvart] Steadicam op; ph: Wedigo von Schultzendorff

2008        Hoffnung für Kummerow [Jan Ruzicka; tvm] Steadicam op; ph: Gunnar Fuss

2008        Das weisse Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte [Michael Haneke] co-Steadicam op; ph: Christian Berger

2009        Shahada [Burhan Qurbani] co-Steadicam op; ph: Yoshi Heimrath

2009        Goethe! [Philipp Stölzl] Steadicam op; ph: Kolja Brandt

2010        Zimmer 205 [Rainer Matsutani] c.op + Steadicam op; ph: Jan Fehse