Berlin: 'Goodfellas' Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus to Get Golden Bear

Gangs of New York Film Still - H 2012

Gangs of New York Film Still - H 2012

The lenser of 'Gangs of New York' and 'The Color of Money' will receive a lifetime achievement award.

German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, a triple Oscar-nominee and inventor of the 360-degree tracking shot, will receive an honorary Golden Bear at next year's Berlin International Film Festival.

The 80-year-old lenser, best known for his work with Martin Scorsese and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, will receive the honor at a ceremony in Berlin on Feb. 18, followed by a special screening of Gangs of New York. Ballhaus received his third Oscar nomination for best cinematography for Gangs, following noms for The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) and Broadcast News (1987).

Ballhaus' decades-long collaborations with Fassbinder in the 1970s and with Scorsese in the decades following allowed him to make some of his most significant cinematic contributions. Ballhaus met Fassbinder in the late '60s and the pair would go on to work on 16 films together, including The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, Martha and The Marriage of Maria Braun. It was during the shooting of Martha that Ballhaus developed his trademark 360-degree tracking shot, where the camera moves in a full circle around an actor.

Scorsese picked Ballhaus to lens the 1985 dark comedy After Hours and the pair hit it off. The German cinematographer would go on to shoot many of Scorsese's best films, including The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York and The Departed.

But Ballhaus's body of work extends far beyond Fassbinder and Scorsese to encompass many of the greatest directors of his generation, including Francis Ford Coppola (Dracula), Mike Nichols (Working Girl), Barry Levinson (Sleepers), James L. Brooks (Broadcast News) and Robert Redford (Quiz Show). 

The Berlinale will screen a homage of some of Ballhaus' best work during the 2016 festival, which runs from Feb. 11-21.