Tobias Deml is a social impact filmmaker from Vienna, Austria.
Tobias has shot eight feature films and helmed more than 100 projects as cinematographer, director or producer. Tobias’ work has been distributed by the likes of Netflix or BestBuy and premiered at festivals such as SXSW. He likes to bridge the worlds of independent film and impact research, both being an avid Sundance Film Festival attendee as well as traveling around the globe for impact-focused conferences such as the SBCC Summit in Bali, Indonesia.
Tobias has a long history with visual art. Since the age of 14, he worked as a 3D artist, photographer and graphic designer – completely self-taught. Throughout his Vienna high school years, he freelanced in the area of animation, print, advertising and visualization. After graduating with his thesis “Psychology of Group and Mass”, he served as a Holocaust Memorial servant for one year in Los Angeles and Montreal to substitute his mandatory Austrian military service. Living among a foreign culture and seeing a bigger picture of the world inspired Tobias to become a filmmaker. During his college studies in LA, he met his long-time collaborator Hiroki Kamada who he co-founded Prodigium Pictures with in 2011.
In 2012, Tobias had a near-death experience that led to a full personal and professional pivot: namely, towards creating socially valuable and lasting impact as a commercial filmmaker rather than “just entertainment”. To find evidence for this mission, he went on to study film theory at UC Berkeley and co-founded the magazine Cinema of Change, partially based on his 80-page Berkeley thesis “Cinema of Change: The Persuasive Impact of Narrative Motion Picture on Individual and Society“. For the magazine, he and co-founder Robert Rippberger publish articles from authors around the world, interview film and psychology experts like Philipp Zimbardo, and organize conferences and discussion rounds.
There are many great movies in the world, but the best can be listed on a single sheet of paper. Tobias wants to recommend – without restriction – these 20 films to you; he left out many of his favorite films which you are likely to have seen (e.g. Avatar, The Dark Knight) in order to also include films that you might have never heard of.