Wolf Koenig

Wolf Koenig, director, producer, cinematographer, editor, animator (born at Dresden, Germany 17 Oct 1927). Wolf Koenig's name is associated with some of the most prestigious films produced in the history of the NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA (NFB). His family left Germany in 1937 and settled in Galt (now Cambridge), Ontario. Koenig joined the NFB in 1948, famously straight from his parents' farm. An NFB crew from the agricultural unit was filming near the family property, and the inquisitive Koenig approached the crew, which included director Raymond Garceau, and told them he hoped someday to be a filmmaker. Garceau suggested he submit an application and 6 weeks later he was offered a job at the NFB.

In the early 1950s, Wolf Koenig filmed Norman MCLAREN's Oscar-winning Neighbours (1952); he worked on the animated short The Romance of Transportation in Canada with Colin LOW (1952), an Oscar nominee for best short subject that received a special BAFTA Award (British Academy of Film and Theatre Arts); and he was the cinematographer on Low's 11-minute masterpiece Corral (1954). Koenig directed the visually innovative CITY OF GOLD, a film that brought historical photographs of the KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH to life, with Roman KROITOR (1957). City of Gold won the CANADIAN FILM AWARD for film of the year, was an Oscar nominee for short documentary and won first prize at the Cannes Film Festival for documentary short.

As one of the leading members of the direct cinema movement at the NFB's Unit B (along with Terence MACARTNEY-FILGATE, Roman Kroitor and producer Tom DALY), Koenig made a major contribution to the influential Candid Eye series (14 films produced for the CBC, 1958-61), and directed the legendary Lonely Boy with Kroitor (1962). The film, about pop sensation Paul ANKA, is regarded as a pioneering rock documentary. It won Film of the Year at the 1963 Canadian Film Awards.

Wolf Koenig was the head of the NFB's English animation unit from 1962-67 and from 1972-75. In that position he photographed Arthur LIPSETT's Experimental Film (1963); produced The Drag (1965), an Oscar nominee for animated short, and What on Earth! (1966), another Oscar nominee, with Robert VERRALL; and he was the executive producer on The House that Jack Built (1967), a third Oscar nominee and BAFTA nominee for best animated film. He also was the executive producer on Caroline LEAF's The Street (1976), based on a short story by Mordecai RICHLER; the film won the Canadian Film Award for animated short and was an Oscar nominee for animated short.

Wolf Koenig has received dozens of other honours and awards during his long career, including the 1984 GENIE AWARD for best theatrical short as producer on Ted Baryluk's Grocery, and 2 earlier Canadian Film Awards: best TV information film for Stravinsky (1965; the last film he directed with Kroitor) and best documentary short for the live-action/animated The Hottest Show on Earth (1977), hosted by David SUZUKI. His other notable films include Gold (1955; Canadian Film Award for theatrical best short), To See or Not to See (1969; Canadian Film Award film of the year and Golden Bear for short film at the Berlin Film Festival), and he co-produced Alanis OBOMSAWIN's Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance about the 1990 OKA standoff (1993; Genie Award nominee for best documentary).

Wolf Koenig retired from the NFB in 1995 with a credit list of more than 170 titles.