Thomas Luechinger was born into a four children family in the Rheintal of St. Gallen in 1953. His father was a municipality employee and highly committed to the public weal. In his youth already, Thomas Luechinger had the ambition and persistence in becoming an artist, his attention being attracted by painting and film making. He first became a teacher, before he entered the Lucerne School of Art, where he was trained to become an instructor for art classes. Aged barely 23, he was acknowledged for his artistic work with a federal art scholarship. Subsequently, he presented his works in Switzerland and foreign countries and was awarded with several scholarships and prizes by the cantons of Lucerne, St. Gallen and Zurich. Through an atelier scholarship by the city of Zurich he was given the opportunity of a one-year stay in New York, which had a decisive impact on his life. During this period, his sister died in a car accident.
Back from the USA, he got interested in Zen and realized his longstanding wish to produce films. Without any funding by cultural authorities he accompanied Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh with his camera through India. The resulting film STEPS OF MINDFULNESS – A JOURNEY WITH THICH NHAT HANH was a huge success among Swiss and foreign audiences. Since then, Luechinger has worked as a film director as well as an instructor. He has realized several feature documentary films for the cinema as well as in coproduction with television stations. Besides, he has published specialist books, of which some have been translated into other languages.
Together with his family, Luechinger lives in a former farmer’s house on the hills of Appenzell. His film AGNES MARTIN – ON A CLEAR DAY was presented in the international competition of the Toronto Film Festival. During the summer of 2015, the film was screened at the Tate Modern London in line with the Agnes Martin retrospective. Luechinger is an autodidact film maker but has participated in several courses at FOCAL over the last 20 years.