Mariëtte Rissenbeek was born in the Netherlands in 1956 and studied German language and literature, theatre studies, and sociology at the Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht and the Freie Universität Berlin. After completing her Master’s degree, she settled permanently in Berlin and initially worked at the Löhlein & Schonert advertising agency. From 1986 she worked for the distribution and sales company Tobis Film and was responsible for both the acquisition and exploitation of German-language ancillary rights. In 1995 she moved to film production, working as a producer at Ziegler Film, where she realised several television films as well as some short and medium-length feature films. In 1998 she founded her own production company in Hamburg and collaborated with Mika Kaurismäki before joining the Munich production company Hofmann & Voges in 2000.
In 2003 Mariëtte Rissenbeek took over responsibility for international festival relations and public relations at German Films, the German institution for the international promotion of German cinema. In 2006 she was appointed deputy managing director of German Films and in 2011 managing director.