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Katharina Otto-Bernstein

Founder & Principal

Film Manufacturers Inc.

New York, NY, USA

Katharina Otto-Bernstein
Carlos Ortiz
Farah Pandith
Council on Foreign Relations

Katharina Otto-Bernstein’s Biography

Katharina Otto-Bernstein is a German-born, New York-based film director, producer, art enthusiast and philanthropist. For her outstanding work in the film industry and her efforts in the advancement of important cultural initiatives, Katharina has received numerous honors throughout her distinguished career.

Katharina is the Founder & Principal of Film Manufacturers Inc, an independent film production company with offices in Germany and the US. Film Manufacturers has produced several critically acclaimed documentaries, including Absolutely Wilson (Art Basel Art Film of the Year, 2006), feature films, and made-for-TV movies. Her work as a producer has garnered numerous award nominations, including a Sundance nomination for The Price of Everything, an in-depth look at the contemporary art scene and its inner workings.

An art enthusiast, Katharina has a deep passion for the development of the arts and sees it as culturally imperative. Her production company has produced notable documentary features on the art world, most recently Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures and Absolute Wilson, with the former receiving an Emmy Award nomination.

Before founding her own company, Katharina was a Director and Producer at Bilderwelt Film Production and spent time working as an Assistant Director at Anglo-International Films. She started her career at Town & Country and German Vogue.

Katharina supports many charities and cultural initiatives, including animal welfare groups and educational opportunities. She sits on the board of the Metropolitan Opera and is a member of the International Council of the Guggenheim Museum. Previously, Katharina served on the board of the Wildlife Conservation Society. She has also been honored by her alma mater, Columbia University, for her continued support and contributions, including the donation of a new screening room for the School of the Arts, which was named in her honor.

Katharina holds an MFA from Columbia University.

Katharina’s Newsfeed

DWDL
Constantin Schreiber's novel is to be filmed

 

Katharina Otto-Bernstein’s Film Manufacturers Inc. has secured film rights to Constantin Schreiber’s novel, "The Candidate", that envisions the future of Germany with the possibility of a Muslim woman being elected as Federal Chancellor. 

Katharina’s Background

Film Manufacturers Inc.
Founder & Principal
Jan 1994 - Present
New York, NY, USA
Film Manufacturers Inc. is a film and television production company specializing in culturally relevant content. The independent company was founded by Katharina and has offices in New York and Munich. It has produced feature films and documentaries for American and international audiences.
Bilderwelt Film Production logo Bilderwelt Film Production logo
Bilderwelt Film Production
Director/Producer
1992 - 1993
Hamburg, DE
Bilderwelt Film Production was a German production company with a focus on documentary and human interest films. While at Bilderwelt Film Production, Katharina directed the action-drama television documentary 'The Need for Speed'.
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Board Positions

Guggenheim
International Council
New York, NY, USA
The Guggenheim Museum was established in 1937 and is a space for Impressionist, early-Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art. The museum is the permanent residence of some of the most well-known pieces of artwork in the world.
Metropolitan Opera
Board of Directors
New York, NY, USA
The Metropolitan Opera is a center of performing arts based in New York and resident at the Lincoln Center. Founded in 1880, it is the largest opera company in North America.
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Advisory Roles

Columbia University School of the Arts
Chairperson of the Dean's Council
1999 - Present
New York, NY, USA
The Columbia University School of the Arts is the graduate institute of fine arts for Columbia University. The School of the Arts offers graduate courses in Master of Fine Art in Film, Writing, Visual Arts, Theatre and Film Studies. Katharina is a member of the Dean's Council and the sponsor of a short film production grant in her name.

Previous Board Positions

Wildlife Conservation Society
Board of Trustees
New York, NY, USA
The Wildlife Conservation Society was founded in 1895 as a not-for-profit non-governmental organization to conserve the world's largest places and is active in 14 priority regions.

Media

Meeresleuchten
Producer
Feb 2021
Munich, DE
Meeresleuchten (Sea Lights) is a German TV film released in early 2021 about a father's grief after the death of his daughter.
Für Umme - Die Serie
Co-Producer
2018
Munich, DE
Für Umme - Die Serie is a German comedy TV series that follows the life of an aspiring actor pursuing his dreams. His talent affects those around him and he soon realizes that when life presents challenges, it is not a movie at all. The show received great success internationally and was released on Amazon Prime in 2020.
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Publications

No Better Friend: Celebrities and The Dogs They Love
Contributor
Oct 2013
New York, NY, USA
No Better Friend: Celebrities and The Dogs They Love is a collection of essays written by dog owners about the dogs that have touched their lives and added value to their everyday life. It is a touching, funny and heartwarming book about some of our most loyal and trustworthy friends.
Robert Wilson: The Watermill Center: A Laboratory for Performance
Writer
Jan 2012
Water Mill, NY, USA
Robert Wilson: The Watermill Center: A Laboratory for Performance is an anthology of essays, images and texts that detail the work of Robert Wilson at The Watermill Center. Contributors to the book are stage performers, writers, visual artists, singers and artists who have interacted with and have been part of Wilson's work and career.
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Memberships

Writer's Guild of America
Member
New York, NY, USA
The Writers Guild of America is a joint labor union organization representing writers in television and film. It is comprised of The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), headquartered in New York City, The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), headquartered in Los Angeles.
International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
Member
New York, NY, USA
The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is a membership organization, encompassing various entertainment figures across several sectors of the television industry. The academy has members from over 50 countries.
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Awards & Endorsements

Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons Inc.
Champion of Animals Award
2016
East Hampton, NY, USA
Katharina Otto-Bernstein was honored with the Champion of Animals Award for her continued contribution toward the shelter. Katharina has also ensured the continued food supply for all animals housed at the shelter.
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
Award Nominee
2016
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Katharina Otto-Bernstein was nominated for an Emmy award in the category of Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special for her work as a producer on the HBO documentary, Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures.
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Charitable Interests

Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons Inc.
Member
2010 - Present
East Hampton, NY, USA
The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons is a non-profit charitable organization that actively rescues and homes cats and dogs that have been abandoned.

Business Interests

ECE Group Services GmbH & Co. KG
Shareholder
Hamburg, DE
ECE Group Services is a family-owned real estate development company in Germany. The group has several interests in large commercial real estate, managing shopping centres, retail and commercial property and is also a property leasing company.
Otto Group
Shareholder
Hamburg, DE
The Otto Group is a German e-commerce company. Founded in 1949 as a mail order service, the Otto Group now operates as one of the largest e-commerce retailers globally with operations in more than 20 countries and interests in a wide variety of retailers. The group has expanded into real estate investments and financial services.

Community Engagement

Katharina Otto-Berstein Production Grant
Donor
New York, NY, USA
The Katharina Otto-Bernstein Production Grant is offered at Columbia University School of the Arts. The grant is offered to students for the production of a short film.

Katharina’s Education

Columbia University
Master of Fine Arts | Film
1989 - 1992
Columbia University
Bachelor of Arts | Philosophy and Political Science
1986 - 1989