Lifetime Award Music and Film


Helmut Zerlett, born in Cologne in 1957, where he now lives and works, is a film composer, bandleader and keyboarder. He is one of the film composers who also enjoys a high reputation among his colleagues – not least because he is an excellent (live) musician and entertainer who bestows great energy onto every formation. Visitors to BIFF will remember his contribution to Akademix, the band of the German Film Academy, which has accompanied the BIFF award ceremonies for many years. As early as the 80s, Zerlett had chart successes, including the dancefloor classic "Masimbabele", and began to compose music for films. He was taught by Holger Czukay, a Stockhausen student, was involved in the "Neue Deutsche Welle" with Joachim Witt, produced in London and New York, played live and in the studio for over 20 years with Marius Müller Westernhagen and worked with Chris Newman. He achieved celebrity status as bandleader and sidekick of the late-night-shows with Harald Schmidt from 1995 to 2014. 

To date Zerlett has composed the music for 22 feature films, 28 TV films and more than 90 TV episodes. At BIFF this year, he will be receiving the "White Lion" for his life's work.