Charlotte ("Lotte") ReinigerOccupation / Title:
2/06/1899Date of death:
Berlin-Charlottenburg, German Empire
Lotte Reiniger was a German animator who adapted the art of shadow-plays to film, pioneering and perfecting the technique of silhouette animation using her own inventions. One such silhouette film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) is considered to be the oldest surviving feature film.
Reiniger was inspired by shadow-plays from a young age, eventually creating a unique form of silhouette animation that drew and expanded on Chinese and Indonesian shadow theatre. Reiniger initially used her silhouette technique to try to attract the attention of film director Paul Wegener in order to propel her acting career. Impressed by the technique, Wegener sent her to the Berliner Institut für Kulturforschung, an emerging studio set up by a group of experimental animators. It was here that she worked on The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) with carl Koch, Walther Ruttmann and Berthold Bartosch. She continued to make numerous short films based on fantasy and fairy tales in Germany until the Nazis seized power, moving to England with her husband Carl Koch in 1935. She continued to make films as the couple moved to Italy and then back to Berlin for work and family. The two moved to Britain permanently after the war and established Primrose Productions. Reiniger continued animating, making highly acclaimed shorts for American television and later conducting a lecture tour in North America. A rediscovery of her work in West Germany led her to receive the Filmband in Gold in 1972 and the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit) in 1979.