Marc Forster

Active - 2001 - 2018  |   Born - Jan 27, 1969 in Ulm, West Germany  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy Drama

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

It often seems that people find their true callings in the most unexpected manner, and for a young boy growing up in a remote town in Switzerland who didn't see a movie until he was 12 years old, the prospect of growing up to become a movie director may have seemed as unlikely as they come. Upon viewing director Francis Ford Coppola's acclaimed 1979 war drama Apocalypse Now, however, young Marc Forster had an epiphany that would eventually lead him to Hollywood and beyond. Though the German-born youngster's bucolic childhood was virtually celluloid-free, the sheer awe of Coppola's striking vision eventually led the ambitious and imaginative Forster to dive headlong into a career that might otherwise have never occurred to him even in his wildest dreams. In 1990, Forster left his home in Switzerland to enter New York University's acclaimed film program, with the young director's freshman feature hitting the festival circuit a mere five years after his graduation. A suitable cinematic calling card that won Forster the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 1996 Slamdance Festival, Loungers earned the emerging writer/director a solid reputation for his ability to balance story with style. Another five years would follow before Forster once again took to the screen for the haunting psychological drama Everything Put Together, which offered the tale of a mother who struggles to maintain her sanity following the tragic and unexpected death of her infant son. Not only did the film transcend its digital-video origins to weave a heart-wrenching tale of loss and mental decay, but it also earned Forster a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival in addition to taking home the "Someone to Watch" award at the 2001 Independent Spirit Awards.

Forster's success with Everything Put Together proved his ability to capture such a suffocating atmosphere on digital video, and he was next approached as a prospect to direct Monster's Ball. Though the script had been floating around Hollywood for nearly five years by the time it crossed Forster's desk, the high-priced demands of the A-list stars and directors who had shown interest -- combined with the studio's insistence that the film be made for less that five million dollars -- found the tide slowly turning in the ambitious young director's favor. When Monster's Ball was released in 2001, there was little doubt that Forster had been the right choice to direct the downbeat drama. In addition to earning star Halle Berry an Oscar for her emotionally devastating performance as a widow whose passionate affair with a prison guard proves a last-ditch effort to jump-start her numbed emotions, the film also found Forster's Inbox flooding with tempting offers. When the smoke cleared and the director had found adequate time to carefully consider his future prospects, he eventually announced that he would be directing screen heavies Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet in the fact-based drama Finding Neverland (2004), a film which served to detail author J.M. Barrie's motivation behind the penning of his children's classic Peter Pan. Even before that film hit theaters stateside, Forster was in post-production on Stay, a labyrinthine thriller starring Ewan McGregor that told the dark tale of an Ivy League professor who attempts to alter the tragic fate of one of his students.

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  • Grew up in Davos, Switzerland.
  • Saw his first film, Apocalypse Now, at age 12, and it inspired him to make movies.
  • Moved to New York City in 1990 to attend NYU Film School, with his education financed by family friend Robert Louis-Dreyfus (uncle of Julia Louis-Dreyfus).
  • Directed Everything Put Together in 2000, a Grand Jury Prize nominee at the Sundance Film Festival.
  • Directed Monsters Ball in 2001, which won Halle Berry an Oscar for Best Actress.
  • Worked on an HIV-prevention campaign in Switzerland with Renée Zellweger, and works with Rokpa International for aid to Tibet and Nepal.