Vivian Schilling

Vivian Schilling is an accomplished novelist, screenwriter, actor and filmmaker. Born and raised in Kansas, she attended the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in Los Angeles and also studied under the legendary Stella Adler before embarking upon a multifaceted career. Working both in front and behind the camera, she began writing and starring in her own films at the age of 23.

With her first feature, the low-budget cult-classic Soultaker (1990), she became known for her original ideas and deft hand with complex supernatural subjects. “A very intriguing premise distinguishes the thriller ‘Soultaker’. Young star-scripter Vivian Schilling earns high marks for this effort her innovation for horror/fantasy fans, creating a new myth about potential afterlife,” said Larry Cohn of Variety. In spite of its limited budget, the film earned Schilling the Saturn Award in 1992 alongside that year’s The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).

Schilling went on to star in a variety of independent films, including Germans (1996), a World War II drama based on the renowned stage play by Leon Kruczkowski, directed by Academy Award nominee Zbigniew Kaminski. Schilling portrays heroine Ruth Sonnenbruch, a German nightclub singer who comes to the aid of a Jewish refugee. Her role as a gunslinger in the western Savage Land (1994) garnered her the Diamond Dove and the Blockbuster Rising Star Award. In 2006 Schilling portrayed feminist and author Gertrude Atherton (1857-1948) opposite Campbell Scott’s Ambrose Bierce (1842-1915?) in the anthology Ambrose Bierce: Civil War Stories (2006). In 2012 she was engaged by Paris-based Eurocine Films as the writer, producer and director of the English adaptation “Toys in the Attic”, based on the stop-motion animated feature Toys in the Attic (2009) by legendary Czech director Jirí Barta.

Schilling has penned two novels to date, both released to critical acclaim: “Quietus” (Penguin-Putnam) and “Sacred Prey” (St. Martin’s Press), which earned Schilling the Golden Scroll for Outstanding Achievement in Literature.

A long-standing advocate of animal welfare and conservation, Schilling recently completed work as co-writer and producer of the French documentary Bonobos (2011). The film, by noted documentarian Alain Tixier, chronicles the important work of naturalist ‘Claudine Andre’ )qv_, the film’s proceeds to benefit the Lola Ya Bonobo Rescue Sanctuary founded by Andre in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Schilling continues to divide her time between literary and film efforts.

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