He was born July 2, 1974 in Berlin, Germany. He was an assistant director at the Berliner Ensemble in 1997/98. He then studied modern German literature, history and politics at the Free University of Berlin until the year 2000 The same year he began to study film directing at the Filmhochschule (film school) in Potsdam-Babelsberg. His teacher there was Rosa von Praunheim, who monitored his work on his first films. Robert Thalheim returned to the theatre in 2003, staging his own play, Wild Boys at the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin. In 2004 his debut film Netto was awarded the Art of Film Award at the Festival of German Film. In 2006 he finished his film for the diploma exam, And Along Come Tourists (Am Ende kommen Touristen). The film was shot on location at the International Youth Meeting Center in Oświęcim/Auschwitz, where Thalheim was a volunteer in 1996–97, and near the Auschwitz concentration camp. This documentary film, produced by Hans-Christian Schmid and Britta Knöller, was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007.