A documentarian who turned to feature film directing, Robert Dornhelm won notice for his first motion picture, the English-language independent "Echo Park" (1985), which was the official US selection for the Venice, London and Deauville Film Festivals. The story of a writer (Tom Hulce) who boards in the apartment of a single mother (Susan Dey) and her son in a decaying L.A. neighborhood, "Echo Park" anticipated the rise of independent feature films in the USA. Dornhelm followed with "Cold Feet" (1989), the story of three renegades in Montana who try to become king of the hill.
Reared in Romania, Dornhelm emigrated to Austria in 1960 where he studied film and TV at the University of Vienna. He spent most of the 1960s and 70s directing documentaries for Austrian TV. "The Children of Theatre Street" (1977), a documentary about the Kirov Ballet School, narrated by Princess Grace of Monaco, earned an Oscar nomination. Dornhelm returned to the subject to profile ballet dancer Kyra Nijinsky in "She Dances Alone" (1981). The following year, he worked on the short film "Rearranged" which would have marked the return to acting of Grace Kelly (Princess Grace of Monaco) had her untimely death not left the project unfinished. Dornhelm profiled rock musician Bill Wyman in "Digital Dreams" (1983).
Having moved into fictional features, Dornhelm has continued with "Requiem Fur Dominic" (1990), a semi-autobiographical story about a Romanian-born Austrian who returns to his boyhood home to find that his best friend is accused of 80 murders. His "A Further Gesture" (1997), featuring Stephen Rea, focused on an Irish Republican Army gunman who breaks out of prison to begin a new life in New York.
Dornhelm has ventured into American TV with "Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald" (NBC, 1993), which explored the marriage of the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy (Frank Whaley) and his Russian-born wife Marina (Helena Bonham Carter).
Director (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Director (TV Mini-Series)
Emigrated to Austria and attended film school
Won the Straatpreis, the highest award in Austria for film
Directed documentary "The Children of Theatre Street", narrated by HRH Princess Grace of Monaco; earned Oscar nomination
Earned critical praise for the documentary "She Dances Alone", about Kyra Nijinsky
Helmed short film comedy, "Rearranged"; featured return to acting by Grace Kelly (Princess Grace of Monaco), left unfinished at her death
Directed first feature film, "Echo Park"
Made second feature film, "Cold Feet"
Directed TV-movie "Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald" (NBC)
Directed "A Further Gesture"
Shot "The Venice Project" in June; film premiered in September at the Venice Film Festival
Helmed the ABC miniseries "Anne Frank"; received Emmy nomination
Directed the critically-acclaimed TV-movie "Sins of the Father" (FX)
Served as director of the FX biopic "RFK", about Robert F. Kennedy