Emmerich began his career in his native Germany. As a youth, he pursued painting and sculpting and, while in the director's program at film school in Munich, studied production design. He served as production designer on several films before he segued into directing. His student film, The Noah's Ark Principle, went on to open the 1984 Berlin Film Festival. The feature became a huge success and was sold to more than 20 countries.
Emmerich subsequently formed his own production company, Centropolis Film Productions, and under its aegis produced his subsequent movies. His next film was Making Contact (a.k.a. Joey), about a boy suffering from his father's death who finds a way to communicate with him via his toys. The movie showcased the young filmmaker's vast knowledge of special effects and his propensity to use them. His next film was Ghost Chase, a comedy he co-wrote with Oliver Eberle about two young film fanatics and their struggle for success in Hollywood. Emmerich also served as producer on Eye of the Storm, which starred Dennis Hopper. He went on to direct the futuristic action-adventure Moon 44, which he co-wrote with Eberle, starring Michael ParÇ, Malcolm McDowell, Lisa Eichhorn and Dean Devlin. Moon 44, set in 2018, featured 100 days of special effects and 30 full-sized interiors and detailed the battle over the last mineral rights in space between rival mining corporations. Devlin would eventually become a partner in Centropolis as well as Emmerich's producer and co-writer.
DEAN DEVLIN (producer/co-writer) produced and co-wrote the boxoffice phenomenon Independence Day and performed the same tasks on the 1994 epic science-fiction adventure StarGate. Devlin also wrote the 1992 action-adventure film Universal Soldier, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, which Emmerich directed.
Devlin began his career as an actor and appeared in numerous film and television projects. One film in which he starred was Roland Emmerich's science-fiction feature Moon 44 in 1989. The two found they enjoyed similar movies, and Devlin's writing ability impressed the director as much as his acting. Devlin subsequently gave up acting to write and produce movies with Emmerich under his Centropolis Entertainment banner.
In addition to co-writing and producing Independence Day, Devlin also directed second unit photography. He recently executive produced the science-fiction television series, "The Visitor," along with Emmerich. Devlin also wrote several episodes.
UTE EMMERICH (executive producer) previously collaborated with her brother Roland on the boxoffice phenomenon Independence Day as executive producer. She also served as co-producer of the science-fiction adventure StarGate, starring Kurt Russell, James Spader and Jaye Davidson. She worked in a variety of capacities, from casting to business affairs, on his film Making Contact (a.k.a. Joey), went on to associate produce his films Ghost Chase, Moon 44 and Eye of the Storm, and coordinated business affairs on Universal Soldier. She will also produce the upcoming thriller The 13th Floor for Centropolis Entertainment.
Born in Stuttgart, Germany, Emmerich studied economics and business for two years before moving into filmmaking. After working with her brother on his film Making Contact, Emmerich traveled to the United States in order to broaden her horizons and perfect her English. She lived in Berkeley, California for about three months before traveling to Los Angeles to begin her first job in Hollywood as an intern for famed director Roger Corman.
Emmerich serves as president of Centropolis Entertainment.
WILLIAM FAY (executive producer) executive produced the boxoffice phenomenon Independence Day. He also served as executive producer on The Hunted for Universal. Other features on which he has served as producer or co-producer include Bad Girls, CB4, Equinox, directed by Alan Rudolph, White Ghost, Quiet Thunder and Jake Speed.
After attending Stanford University, Fay enrolled in UCLA Film School, where he directed There Will Come Soft Rains, which won numerous awards, including UCLA's Morrison Award for Best Student Film. He has served stints as production executive for both New World Pictures and Film Finances Limited. He also wrote the screenplay for the sci-fi feature, Rebel Storm.
Fay is president of production for Centropolis Entertainment. He is an intrepid softball player and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.
PETER WINTHER (co-producer) associate produced the boxoffice phenomenon Independence Day. He associate produced the science-fiction adventure StarGate, which marked his third collaboration with Emmerich and Devlin. His first association with the duo was on the science-fiction feature Moon 44, which Emmerich directed and co-wrote and in which Devlin starred. He rejoined the pair on Universal Soldier, which Emmerich directed and Devlin wrote, serving as Emmerich's assistant. As associate producer on Independence Day, Winther oversaw the second unit teams as well as the visual effects department.
Born in Spring Valley, New York, Winther grew up in California and moved to Connecticut with his family at age 12, where he attended the prestigious Hotchkiss School. His first job in the entertainment industry was as a production assistant on the New York-based daytime drama "All My Children." He left the show to study at Boston University, hoping to pursue a career in professional hockey.
While in Boston, however, Winther got his first job in films, working as a production assistant on The Good Mother, starring Diane Keaton and Liam Neeson and directed by Leonard Nimoy. Initially contracted to work on the feature for two weeks, Winther ultimately traveled with the production to Toronto, as Nimoy's assistant.
Many U.S. productions elected to shoot in Canada while Winther was staying there. He worked on several features, including We're No Angels, starring Robert DeNiro and Sean Penn. He served in various positions on these films, from production assistant to assistant director to special effects supervisor.
Prior to joining Independence Day, Winther served as unit production manager on Cutthroat Island, which shot on location in Malta and Thailand.
Winther serves as Centropolis Entertainment's vice-president of production.
OLIVER SCHOLL (production designer) has previously collaborated with Roland Emmerich as co-production designer on Independence Day and as production designer on the director's Moon 44. He also worked on several additional Emmerich projects, serving as conceptual designer for StarGate and conceptual illustrator on Universal Soldier and Ghost Chase. His other film credits include conceptual design for the Fox animated feature Planet Ice, Batman Forever, Virtuosity, Crying Freeman, and Ghost In The Machine, among others.
His television credits include conceptual design for the series pilot of "Space: Above and Beyond" and conceptual illustration for "Space Rangers" and "Earth 2."
German-born Scholl studied industrial design in Pforzheim and worked as an illustrator in advertising and publishing before moving to the United States. His early film work in Germany included many projects directed by Roland Emmerich under the newly formed Centropolis banner.
PATRICK TATOPOULOS (Godzilla design) is a production designer and conceptual designer. He worked as co-production designer on Independence Day and teamed with Roland Emmerich to create the aliens for the film. Previously, he conspired with the filmmaker on StarGate, first as a conceptual designer for the alien sets, then to design and create the creatures and make-up effects. Tatopoulos recently completed production design on the upcoming feature Dark City, directed by Alex Proyas. Other film credits include Jade, Jumanji, Demolition Man, The Last Action Hero, The Bodyguard, Dracula, and The Doors, on which he worked as conceptual designer. Feature films for which he provided creature effects, effects storyboarding, special effects make-up and/or conceptual design include Wolf, Seven, Hot Shots, Star Trek V and Gremlins 2, among others. He also designed and created special make-up effects for an Emmy Award-winning episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
Tatopoulos was born and raised in Paris to a Greek father and a French mother. He spent the first 10 years of his career in Paris and Rome doing graphic design for several publications, as well as comic book illustration, interior design and painting. He eventually moved to Greece where he spent nine years working with an international advertising agency before relocating to the United States to pursue a career in film.
UELI STEIGER (cinematographer) previously collaborated with Roland Emmerich on Independence Day, on which he shot additional photography. The job allowed him to focus on many aspects of the film, including the infamous "Tentacle Unit." Steiger's additional credits include House Arrest, Now and Then, produced by Demi Moore, The Jerky Boys, Dennis Hopper's Chasers and Hot Spot, Singles, directed by Cameron Crowe, A Good Kill, Soapdish, Some Girls, which won Best Film in the Vancouver Film Festival, and Promised Land, directed by Michael Hoffman and produced by Robert Redford's Wildwood Films. He also worked as second unit director of photography on the action-adventure, Con Air.
Steiger attended the University in Zurich where he pursued English literature, linguistics and art history before turning to cinematography study at the London International Film School. His early films included Mavhuzi, which chronicled the Swiss peace movement's work in Zimbabwe, as well as Visitor in the Piano Warehouse and Zape, both of which screened at the London Film Festival.
VOLKER ENGEL (visual effects supervisor) served in the same capacity on Independence Day and won the Academy Award(r) for his effects efforts. He worked with Roland Emmerich on two prior occasions, as visual effects supervisor on Moon 44 and on Universal Soldier, for which he designed an effects sequence taking place in the Grand Canyon.
Born in Bremerhaven, Germany, Engel studied graphic design in
Stuttgart, where Emmerich's production company, Centropolis, was
based. Eventually, the pair met and, after watching some of Engel's
early 8mm films, Emmerich asked Engel to supervise the effects crew
that would create the shots in his science-fiction film, Moon 44.
After rejoining the director for Universal Soldier, Engel returned to
Germany and taught animation and visual effects at the Filmakademie
Ludwigsburg. "I love to work with young people and see their talents
grow," he explains, "and a handful of these former students are now
part of my visual effects team." While teaching in Germany, Engel
continued to work in film and television. He served as visual
effects supervisor on the telefilm, "The Last Cosmonaut," and worked
on the visual effects for Brother of Sleep.
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