Robert Brinkmann was born and raised in Braunschweig, Germany, and took an early interest in film. He made Super 8 movies in high school and spent so much time at the local revival cinema, that he was offered a job there. At the age of 15, he moved to Berlin because it had superior cinemas, and, after graduating early and at the top of his class, he moved to New York, where the cinemas were even better.
After watching over 700 films in one year, he continued his formal education studying film production at the University of Southern California, where he eventually specialized in cinematography. His final project, The Last Chance Dance, earned a number of awards, including the Focus Award for Best Cinematography, and landed the director, Phil Joanou, a place at Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.
After graduating Suma Cum Laude from USC, Robert formed a production company with two friends, Cinescope Productions, and started to produce and shoot music videos, commercials and documentaries. Cinescope also produced hundreds of low budget music videos, which launched the directing careers of many accomplished filmmakers, including Jay Roach, Lance Gentile, John Schwartzman, and Harris Done.
Phil Joanou and Robert Brinkmann teamed up again for the rock ‘n’ roll documentary “U2: Rattle and Hum” as well as numerous commercials and music videos. At the time that he was hired to shoot the John Travolta movie Shout for Universal Pictures, he was the youngest DP working in the Hollywood studio system and went on to shoot such films as Encino Man, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, The Cable Guy, The Rules of Attraction, and Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.
Through a publicity shoot in the early 1990’s, Robert met the photographer James Fee, whose work so inspired him, that the two worked together for 15 years; Robert sponsoring the artist and his work and in the process accumulating one of the premier photography collections in Los Angeles. Robert has donated portfolios of James’ work from his collection to The Getty Museum (Los Angeles), The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The George Eastman House (Rochester) and MOCA (Los Angeles) and continues to work on preserving the legacy of James Fee. Since 2011, he is also the Trustee of the artist’s estate.
Robert’s passion for film and photography remains undaunted and finds expression in various forms, from supporting young artists to making his own independent movie, Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party. What he loves best of all is being on the set and working in a fun and creative environment with fellow filmmakers.