Photographer Johan Bergmark


Maria von Heland

Born and raised in Stockholm, Maria went to school in England and France. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Rider University, New Jersey. She studied acting in New York and Paris, before obtaining an MFA in Directing for Theatre and Film from California Institute of the Arts, where she studied under Alexander Mackendrick.

Maria first attracted attention with her award-winning shorts “Chainsmoker” and “Real Men Eat Meat”. Her critically acclaimed feature debut ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ was released by ColumbiaTristar in 2002. ‘ SEARCH’, her second feature film was released in Sweden 2006. The psychological thriller ‘Those who Whisper ‘ (SVT, 2x90mins), written and directed by Maria, starring Pernilla August, scored top TV audiences in Sweden 2006.

In 2007 Maria returned to Germany to direct and co-write the German adaptation of Richard Curtis’ ‘Girl in a Café‘, ‘Suddenly Gina’  for Sat1. She wrote the screenplay for Kai Wessels ‘Hilde‘ starring Heike Makatsch which opened at the Berlinale in 2009.

In 2011 the award-winning Grimm-adaptation ‘Die Sterntaler’ (ARD) directed by Maria was aired for the first time – since a holiday favourite on German TV. In 2013 followed another Grimm-adaptation ‘The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs’. Both films were Emmy nominated.

Maria’s screen adaptation of Francois Lelord’s bestseller “Hector and the Search for Happiness” starring Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgård and Christopher Plummer enjoyed a major international release in 2014.

Maria has continued to attract millions of viewers with her TV films. For ARD/Degeto she directed the romantic drama ‘Göttliche Funken‘ (2014) starring Devid Striesow, Anna Maria Mühe and Barry Atsma and the comedy ‘Eltern und Andere Wahrheiten‘ (2017) starring Tom Wlaschia and Silke Bodenbender. For Sat 1 she directed the 90-mins pilot ‘Jung. Blond. Tot.‘ (2018) which went into a series format. For ZDF she wrote and directed the comedy ‘So einfach stirbt man nicht‘ (2019) starring Michael Gwisdek and two 90-mins thrillers with Anna Maria Mühe and Reiner Bock ‘Solo für Weiss‘: ‘Für Immer Schweigen (2019, 5.91 Mi viewers)  and ‘Schlaflos’ which will be aired in October 2020.

Maria wrote and created the 26-part TV-series ‘Heirs of the Night‘ together with director Diederik Van Roojien which is currently released on television across Europe. Watch the trailer here.

2008-2018 Maria was the Creative Director and Head Writer for the European Film Awards. Maria lives in Berlin with her husband and four children.  She works in English, German and Swedish and French.

Maria’s ‘Solo für Weiss‘: ‘Für Immer Schweigen‘ is nominated for Germany’s greatest audience award – the Jupiter Award. You can vote online here:

Maria with the Blue Panther May 2012, the prestigious Bavarian Award: Best Directing for Star Talers!
The Jury made a special mention of her “love for the genre, care and skill”. Star Talers was nominated
For an Emmy 2013 and won the Best of Fest Award at Chicago International Children’s Filmfestival