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Maria von Heland was born in 1965 in Stockholm. She studied Journalism in Sweden, Acting in Paris and Directing at the California Institute of the Arts, during which time she attended classes as an exchange student at the "Konrad Wolf" Academy of Film & Television (HFF/B) in Potsdam-Babelsberg. Her films include: the award-winning shorts Die Staerkere (1994), Chainsmoker (1997) and Real Men Eat Meat (1998), her first feature film Recycled (1999) and Big Girls Don't Cry (Grosse Maedchen weinen nicht, 2002).