BiograPHY Anja Salomonowitz

© Heribert Corn


"The films I make don't try to be naturalistic or imitate reality. They have their own."


Anja Salomonowitz has developed a poetic film language for her films, in which documentary film, feature film and thesis are mixed. Real experiences of people are condensed through artistic alienation. Her hybrid films all follow a strict color concept. She is known for the fact that her films are explicitly political and expand the boundaries and possibilities of the cinematic in their artistic form. Her films have received international recognition and numerous film awards. They have found their way into the relevant film literature. They are screened at numerous international film festivals.

Her film IT HAPPENED JUST BEFORE, for example, had its world premiere in the Forum of the Berlinale 2007, where it won the Caligari Film Prize. This film on the subject of trafficking in women defies the rules of documentary film and is still considered a milestone in hybrid documentary storytelling today. THIS MOVIE IS A GIFT reflects on forms of the artist portrait: an unusual and tender portrait of the artist Daniel Spoerri, in which her son Oskar Salomonowitz plays the artist.

Anja Salomonowitz studied film in Vienna and Berlin and worked as an assistant to director Ulrich Seidl. She worked with students at universities on their films, for example at the Aalto University Helsinki, Department for Film and Television or at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. She is a tutor at the Documentary Academy at the Jihlava International Film Festival, together with the Filipino filmmaker Khavn de La Cruz. She was chairwoman of the Austrian Documentary Film Association and the Austrian Film Directors Association and from 2014-2017 on the supervisory board of the Austrian Film Fund. Anja Salomonowitz works as a dramaturge for the Austrian Screenplay Association. She holds master classes on artistic film.

Her new film SLEEPING WITH A TIGER is a creative, inner portrait of the painter Maria Lassnig. Like memories and feelings that are not anchored in time and can evoke images at any time, as they did for Maria Lassnig, Anja Salomonowitz's hybrid film about the artist is not told in a linear fashion. Lassnig's work stands above all for the introspective feeling of one's own physical sensations and their artistic expression. The film makes this visionary approach to art not only visible, but tangible and experienceable.

Anja Salomonowitz lives and works in Vienna. She is currently working on a film about the Ukrainian activist Inna Shevshenko, the prominent founder of the feminist group FEMEN. The film is an embodiment of FEMEN's visual political art and represents new pop feminism.

And because it is important, I would like to write something about my „private life“ here: I am mother of three sons. My middle son Oskar passed away in 2020 when he was twelve years old. That is why I am in mourning. Oskar has acted in many of my films, among others in THIS MOVIE IS A GIFT, where he lovingly recounts the life story of the artist Daniel Spoerri. 






2003 Audience Award, Vienna International Student Film Festival 2004 Prix Regards Neufs, Nyon, Visions du Réel


2007 New Vision Best Director Award, Alba Film Festival

2007 Peace Film Award of the City of Osnabrück

2007 Award for the best image design, Diagonale, Festival of Austrian Film 2007 Innovative Artistic Award, Mar del Plata, Argentina

2007 Special Mention, Cinéma du Réel, Paris

2007 Caligari Film Award, Berlinale

2006 Vienna Film Award, Viennale Vienna International Film Festival


2013 Silver Eye Award, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival


2017 Dorothea Neff Award for the Children‘s Ensemble


2021 Franz Grabner Award

2024 Thomas Pluch Special Award for the Screenplay to Anja Salomonowitz, Diagonale, Graz
2024 Acting Award to Birgit Minichmayr for her portrayal of Maria Lassnig, Diagonale, Graz
2024 Award for outstanding production achievements to Antonin Svoboda, Diagonale, Graz
2024 Award for Best Production Design to Martin Reiter with Andreas Ertl, Diagonale, Graz
2024 "Best Artistic Achievement" for Screenplay and Direction to Anja Salomonowitz, Bolzano Film Festival, Bozen



2010 Outstanding Artist Award of the Federal Ministry of Art and Culture

2019 Honorary Award of the Womens Filmdays for the film series RESISTANCE CINEMA







all photos taken during work
2016 © Robert Newald

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