Dennis Gansel (born in Hannover, 1973) is a German director, writer and actor most known for his films Die Welle
and We Are the Night
He has been making films since the mid-1990s and studied film at Munich Film School HFF. He directed his first film, Das Phantom
, while he was still studying. He tried to get to make a vampire film, The Dawn
, but unable to finance it he took on directing an American Pie
-style comedy: Girls on Top
. The film was a success and he followed up by making the historical drama film Before the Fall
, taking on Nazi Germany
. After falling to get money to make The Dawn
, he made Die Welle
, which was a big hit. In 2010 he was finally able to make The Dawn
but had to rewrite the script because it was too much like Twilight
. The result was We Are the Night
. Sadly the film bombed at the box office. The film was, however, met with praise and hailed as the antidote of Twilight
and its imitators. It has received a cult following and fared better on DVD.
Tropes that apply to Dennis Gansel:
- Ambiguous Ending/Downer Ending: These are the type of endings Gansel uses. Die Welle uses a combination.
- Associated Composer: Heiko Mailer
- The Cameo: Dennis Gansel has appeared in small roles in various projects.
- Doing It for the Art: Gansel has had to struggle a lot to get most of his films made. The script for The Dawn/We Are the Night is the most frequently rejected script in German film history!
- Driven to Suicide: A recurring theme in all of Gansel's movies.
- Homoerotic Subtext/Ho Yay: These are all over his body of work. All his films feature naked or partly naked men. Only Girls on Top has female nudity.
- We Are the Night is about lesbian vampires, told from a psychological/romantic point of view.
- Dennis Gansel is actually heterosexual.
- Nazi Germany: As he is German, the legacy of Nazism affects several of his films.
- Playing Against Type: He cast Jennifer Ulrich in Die Welle as a nice (albeit pushy) and hardworking teenage student, then cast her as a depressed, ax-crazy vampire in We Are the Night.
- The same goes for Karoline Herfurth. In Girls on Top she played a shy and timid virgin. In We Are the Night she plays a pickpocketing street rat.
- Signature Style: Max Riemelt has appeared in every one of Gansel's movies since Girls on Top.