Ernst Wilhelm "Wim" Wenders (born 14 August 1945) is a German film director, playwright, author, photographer and film producer. Since 1996, Wenders has been the president of the European Film Academy in Berlin.
Wenders was born in Düsseldorf into a traditional Catholic family. His father, Heinrich Wenders, was a surgeon. Use of the Dutch name, "Wim", a shortened version of the baptismal name "Wilhelm/Willem", reflected his mother's Dutch provenance, but the Dutch version was rejected by the civil registration authorities in 1945 as "unGerman". He graduated from high school in Oberhausen in the Ruhr area. He then studied medicine (1963–64) and philosophy (1964–65) in Freiburg and Düsseldorf. However, he dropped out of university studies and moved to Paris in October 1966 to become a painter. Wenders failed his entry test at France's national film school IDHEC (now La Fémis), and instead became an engraver in the studio of Johnny Friedlander, an American artist, in Montparnasse. During this time, Wenders became fascinated with cinema, and saw up to five movies a day at the local movie theater.
Set on making his obsession also his life's work, Wenders returned to Germany in 1967 to work in the Düsseldorf office of United Artists. That fall, he entered the "Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München" (University of Television and Film Munich). Between 1967 and 1970 while at the "HFF", Wenders also worked as a film critic for FilmKritik, then the Munich daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Twen magazine, and Der Spiegel.
Wenders completed several short films before graduating from the Hochschule with a feature-length 16mm black and white film, Summer in the City.