Photographer Johan Bergmark

WRITER / DIRECTOR

Represented by Vizard

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. ‘ The film is now on Netflix Germany.  ‘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  aired in October 2020 (5,40 Mi viewers).

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. In 2021 “Heirs of the Night” was bought by the BBC. It is currently airing on platforms across Europe. Heirs of the Night won the Children’s Media Award Golden Sparrow 2021. In addition Maria von Heland won the White Elephant at Munich Film Festival for best TV series 2021 together with her co-creator Van Roojien. 

In October 2020 Maria directed the 15th Film in  ZDF’s most popular format: Nord Mord Mord. The regular ensemble is joined by Hannelore Holger, Christian Kohlund and Nikolai Kinski. The film was premiered on Monday, March 15th, 2021, at 20:15 with record 10 Mi viewers.

During the first Covid-19 wave Maria co-produced and directed the 10×30 mins part dramaseries SUNSHINE EYES which is currently in post-production. SUNSHINE EYES stars Laetitia Adrian. The cast shows many new faces along with giants from the German film world such as Juliane Köhler, Stefan Kurt, Nina Petri, Tyron Ricketts, Stephanie Eidt and Jana Julia Roth, as all as stars from the international scene such as Tim Seyfi, Yussef Sweid, Barry Atsma and Itay Tiran. Release is planned for the end of 2021.

Maria is the creator and writer for the upcoming series ALEA AQUARIUS based on the best-selling books by Tanya Stewner. The series is in produced by Dorothe Beinemeier, Serge Bierset and Philipp Kreuzer.

At the moment Maria is in pre-production for the 90min thriller “Kolleginnen-Für Immer” for ZDF starring Caroline Peters and Natalia Belitski. Shooting October-November 2021.

Maria started her production company Tindra Film GbR in 2021. The company aims to co-produce Maria’s own films, as well as support young upcoming talent. 

2009-2018 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 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 

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