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Franka Potente was born in Duelmen near Muenster in 1974 and studied at Munich's Otto Falckenburg School and New York's Lee Strasberg Theater Institute before making her breakthrough in 1996 with her performance in Hans-Christian Schmid's It's A Jungle Out There (Nach fuenf im Urwald) which won her the Bavarian Film Award in the newcomer actor category. She followed this with roles in Thomas Bahmann's TV movie Coming In and Urs Egger's TV two-parter Opernball before taking the title role in Tom Tykwer's international hit film Run Lola Run (Lola rennt) in 1997. Her performance earned her the Audience Award at the 1999 German Film Awards and Cinema magazine's Jupiter as Best Actress of the Year. She next appeared in Doris Doerrie's Am I Beautiful? (Bin ich schoen?) and Friedemann Fromm's Schlaraffenland before headlining Stefan Ruzowitzky's horror thriller Anatomy (Anatomie), the most successful German film in 2000. Her performance as Paula Henning in this film won her the German Film Award's Audience Award, and she received another Jupiter as Best Actress of 2001 for the female lead in her second collaboration with Tom Tykwer, The Princess and the Warrior (Der Krieger und die Kaiserin). In 2000, Franka graduated to the international stage with her first roles in English-language productions, starring opposite Johnny Depp in Ted Demme's Blow and Matt Damon in Doug Liman's The Bourne Identity, as well as taking a small part in Todd Solondz's Storytelling. She had a cameo role in Stefan Ruzowitzky's sequel Anatomy 2 and has played the two lead roles in Rolf Schuebel's clone thriller Blueprint. Her most recent US productions have been Jeffrey Porter's Try Seventeen and Adam Goldberg's I Love Your Work, and Peter Greenaway's The Tulse Luper Suitcases. Digging for Belladonna (Der die Tollkirsche ausgraebt) marks her directorial debut.