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He creates new worlds: man from Hamm nominated for German Film Prize

Journey into the past: Using digital technology, the native Hammer transports viewers back to Vienna in the 1930s and 1940s.

© Studiocanal / Walker + Worm Film / Julia Terjung

The hammer Michael Wortmann has already worked on a number of blockbusters as a VFX supervisor. Now he is nominated for the German Film Award.

Hamm – When the German Film Prize is awarded for the 71st time in the Palais am Funkturm in Berlin on October 1st, a native hammer also has the chance to win one of the coveted Lola statuettes: Michael Wortmann is the visual effects supervisor (also ” VFX Supervisor ”) nominated in the“ Best Visual Effects ”category. As a creative project manager, the 41-year-old was responsible for creating the visual effects for the film drama “Schachnovelle” by director Philipp Stölzl.

“I was of course very happy to have been nominated for the German Film Prize, the most important award for cinema films from Germany. That is a nice recognition for my cinematic art, “says Wortmann. He completed his Abitur at the Märkisches Gymnasium Hamm. He now lives in Berlin.

Work on Harry Potter, Game Of Thrones, X-Men or Star Trek

Although Wortmann has been in the film business for many years, he rarely has the chance of being nominated for Lola: He mostly works on international productions and is rarely involved in the production of exclusively German films. Among other things, he created the visual effects for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (Parts 1 and 2), “X-Men: First Class”, “Game Of Thrones” (Season 2), “John Carter”, ” Star Trek: Into Darkness ”or“ Black Panther ”, an American science fiction action film produced by Marvel Studios.

Wortmann discovered his enthusiasm for visual effects back in school when the science fiction and adventure film “Jurassic Park” by Steven Spielberg was released: “This film has really great CGI effects.” CGI effects stands for “Computer Generated Imagery” – Spielberg had achieved many effects using computers. After his community service, Wortmann completed his diploma for film and media with a focus on animation at the Ludwigsburg Film Academy.

Back to “old Vienna” with green screen technology

The film “Schachnovelle”, for which Wortmann has now been nominated, is based on the novel of the same name by the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. In it, Wortmann transports the audience back to the “old Vienna” of the 1930s and 40s using green screen technology. The framework narration takes place on board a passenger steamer from New York to Buenos Aires. With digital film technology, Wortmann, as artistic director, has this ship sailed again. Old trams also roll through the picture, but they have long since ceased to exist.

Deceptively real: Michael Wortmann also created an entire passenger steamer on the computer.

© Studiocanal / Walker + Worm Film / Julia Terjung

From the facade of the Vienna Burgtheater, the Hotel Métropole was created with the help of film and video technology as well as computer graphics, a Viennese luxury hotel that is now primarily known as the former Gestapo control center. It was torn down in 1948, and Wortmann brought it back digitally. Because that’s where most of the action takes place. The shooting took place from the beginning of December 2019 to March 2020 in Vienna, Potsdam, Berlin, Munich and the surrounding area. The cast includes Oliver Masucci in the lead role of Dr. Josef Bartok, Albrecht Schuch, Birgit Minichmayr and Rolf Lassgård.

Award ceremony on October 1st – film nominated seven times

“Digital image effects are playing an increasingly important role in the world of film,” says Wortmann. Since 2020, the German Film Prize has therefore also been awarded in the individual performance category “Best visual effects and animation”. In addition to Wortmann, Frank Schlegel (“Jim Knopf und die Wilde 13”) and Denis Behnke (“Tides”) are also nominated.

The former hammer is particularly looking forward to getting to know the makers of other films at the award ceremony in Berlin on October 1st. Philipp Stölzl’s work has been nominated for the film award a total of seven times, including best feature film.

Michael Wortmann comes from Hamm and now lives in Berlin.


Before that, “Schachnovelle” will celebrate its premiere in German cinemas: on September 23, 2021, the film drama will be shown on the big screen for the first time. The film launch was originally planned for the beginning of January. It was postponed due to the pandemic.



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