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Creator / Dennis Gansel

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Dennis Gansel (born 4 October 1973 in Hanover, then-West Germany) is a German director, writer and actor most known for The Wave 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. The film bombed at the box office but was, however, met with praise and hailed as "the antidote to Twilight" and its imitators. It has received a cult following and invokedfared better on DVD.

Films he's directed:

Tropes that apply to his work:

  • Ambiguous Ending/Downer Ending: These are the type of endings Gansel uses. Die Welle uses a combination.
  • Associated Composer: Heiko Mailer
  • The Cameo: Gansel has appeared in small roles in various projects. Often in his own films.
  • 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 himself.
  • 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.
  • Production Posse: Torsten Breuer as cinematographer, Max Riemelt starring, Heiko Maile composing the score, Christian Becker producing, Matthias Müsse doing production design and Ueli Christen editing.
  • Signature Style:
    • Max Riemelt has appeared in every one of Gansel's movies since Girls on Top.
    • Suicides often happen in his films.