Stephen Manuel was born in 1971 in Dublin/Ireland but raised in the black forest area of southern Germany. He learnt to speak German in Kindergarten and English from his parents at home, so half the time his friends didn’t know what he was talking about.
His father used to take young Stephen frequently to the local cinema since for a long time there was no TV in the house, and that’s where his love of film started: Superman, James Bond, and the Smurfs being the biggest favorites. Soon he would get interested in how movies were made and started making short films himself, using the local school kit and later, at 16, his own first video camera.
At 17 he had several little short films made and entered one into an amateur film festival. He won first place and from then on he was hooked. After school he worked for two years first as an intern, then as a production assistant for the only film production company in the area, continually shooting short films on the side.
Having won several short film awards he then started studying directing in 1994 at the prestigious Film Academy Baden-Wuerttemberg in Germany.
Directly after the film academy one of his shorts got noticed by German late night talk show host No. 1 Harald Schmidt, who gave him a job as segment director at his “Harald Schmidt Show”. Roughly 100 short parody and comedy sketches later, he started getting offers for commercials and action series, including German prime time action series “Der Clown” and “Alarm Fuer Cobra 11”
In 2001 he was then offered his first TV movie: “Schwartz&MacMurphy – Die Grosstadtsherrifs” an action film for RTL Germany. He followed that with his first international production, several episodes of the Canadian sci-fi Show “Lexx – The Dark Zone”.
In 2002 he went on to direct the slapstick feature “Der Letzte Lude” for German cinemas.
In 2003 he directed a Christmas special TV Movie for major German TV station ARD: “Amundsen The Penguin”, a children’s action movie starring a little girl and a penguin.
2004 he directed seven episodes of the German comedy series “Axel Will’s Wissen” which was nominated in 2005 for best comedy series and best actress at the German comedy prize in Cologne in October.
2006 he followed up with comedy series “Spoons” for Pro 7 and then with 5 movies shot in English for the international TV and DVD market, all to be released shortly:
In 2007 “Perfect Hideout” starring Billy Zane and “Fatal Rescue” starring Steve Guttenberg.
In 2008 “Lucky Fritz” starring Corey Feldman, “Shoot The Duke” starring Stephen Baldwin and in 2009 “Iron Doors” starring Axel Wedekind.
Furthermore he continually directed commercials over the years for, winning several “Effies” and an ADC Germany award.