Peter Maertesheimer, producer of renowned German TV movies and later screenplay writer with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, died of heart failure at a members meeting of the Deutsche Filmakademie in Berlin on June 18. He was 67.
His unexpected death cast a shadow on this year’s Deutscher Filmpreis awards. Prior to the ceremony, Maertesheimer fell unconscious during the Filmakademie meeting. Observers attributed his breakdown to stress after he learned that morning he wasn’t chosen for funding for an upcoming project.
Maertesheimer was born in Kiel and made a name for himself as a producer of classics in the 1970s at pubcaster WDR. “As producer at WDR, he helped create TV movies, setting yardsticks and creating controversy,” said the broadcaster’s managing director, Fritz Pleitgen. His productions included mockumentary “Smog,” about everyday life in a polluted environment, and “Das Millionenspiel” (The Million Game), a pseudo-reality show in which snipers hunt a candidate.
He was also in charge of the German version of “All in the Family” and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s adaptation of novel “Berlin Alexanderplatz” for a TV series.
Maertesheimer then moved on to work with Fassbinder on the scripts of bigscreen productions, including “Lola,” “Veronika Voss” and “The Marriage of Maria Braun.”
Since the 1990s, Maertesheimer wrote mainly for TV. Recently, he created “Bloch,” a series of telepics about a psychologist-investigator.