Markus Imhoof

“The bees fed our family. They were part of the fruit cannery of my granddad. In his fruit and berry garden they pollinated raspberries, pears and apricots, and the pickled cucumbers as well. I loved my granddad because of his many animals: horses, dogs, birds and even a roebuck. However, I loved the bees most. Granddad owned no less than 150 colonies. He had even built a house for them”.

The bee house of Markus’ granddad

Markus Imhoof was born on September 19th, 1941, in Winterthur, Switzerland, where he grew up with his parents and his older sister.

Markus (right) and his sister Ursula (left) with a friend in Trogen, Switzerland, in 1946

He studied German, History of the Arts and History at the University of Zurich. His licentiate with the title «Brecht’s plays in view of his theoretical works» earned him the title lic. phil. I. In the playhouse Zurich he got a first job assisting the famous Swiss theatre and movie director Leopold Lindtberg.  1967 to 1968 Markus was one of the first pupils of the newly founded Film school at The School for Arts and Crafts Zurich with Kurt Früh and teachers of the Polish Film School Lodz.

This triggered his career as a writer, producer and director of movies. On his homepage he lists three short films, six documentaries and seven feature films. In parallel he directed countless theatre plays and operas all over Europe.

His work is recognized internationally:

  • He was a member of the Swiss Film Commission (1969-1977) and Host lecturer at the Film School Milano, the Film Academy Berlin and the Academy of the Arts Zurich.
  • He is a member of the European and German Film Academy, the Academy of the Arts in Berlin and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles.

His upbringing influences Markus to this day

  • His mother, born on a mission station in India, was an English teacher. She loved telling stories and was interested in everything. This can be said of her son, as well.
  • Having a father who was professor for German and History on the Technical University Winterthur might explain Markus’ passion for reading and culture, as well as using language very precisely.
  • The experiences with the two Red Cross refugee children from Austria and Italy who temporarily lived in his parent’s house after World War II inspired the film «The Boat is Full» which was nominated for an Oscar.
  • Markus wove what he read in the diaries of his granddad in India into the story of “Flames in Paradise”.
  • He always loved animals and was fascinated by the bees kept by his father’s dad. They inspired him to his newest film “More than Honey”.

Markus has two children from his first marriage, Barbara (1966) and David (1969), is married to the Swiss movie director Judith Kennel, lives in Germany, Italy and Switzerland and loves horse back riding.

Filmography Markus Imhoof


  • 1991    Les petites Illusions: Filmfestival Cannes (Official Selection)
  • 1972    You are what you eat (Voksmund – oder man ist, was man isst): Filmfestival Mannheim, TV Festival Prague (Best Screenplay)
  • 1969    Ormenis 199 + 69: Filmfestival Venice (Silver medal)

Cinema features

  • 1997    Fire in Paradise (Flammen im Paradies/Les raisons du coeur): Los Angeles Int. Film Festival; with Elodie Bouchez, Laurent Greville, Bruno Todeschini
  • 1990    The Mountain (Der Berg): Film festival Berlin; with Susanne Lothar, Mathias Gnädinger, Peter Simonischek
  • 1986    The Journey (Die Reise): Filmfestival Venice; with Markus Boysen, Corinna Kirchhoff, Will Quadflieg
  • 1980    The boat is full (Das Boot ist voll): Filmfestival Berlin (Silver Bear for best screenplay and best directing, Oscar Nomination and 15 other awards); with Tina Engel, Curt Bois, Mathias Gnädinger
  • 1977    Thaw (Tauwetter): Film festival Hyeres; with Gila von Weitershausen, Art Brauss, Niels Arestrup
  • 1974    Escape Risk (Fluchtgefahr): Filmfestival Locarno (special mention); with Wolfram Berger, Matthias Habich, Sigfrit Steiner


  • 1979    Isewixer: Prix Italia


Markus directing a scene for “More than Honey” in Australia

This post is also available in: German

23 thoughts on “Markus Imhoof

  1. Hi Markus, fantastic trailer. I look forward to seeing the movie. I am writing a book about honey and would love to meet you to talk further. Sincerely, James

  2. Greetings from California and thank you for such a nice film on bees. I was in Zurich in 2004 when I made my final decision to construct the hivelogger. Best wishes to you and your family, and great success in 2013!


  3. Dear Stephen
    Thank you for this complimentary contribution. Your hivelogger looks pretty interesting to me as well. How many hives have you got under observation like that?
    All the best to you as well

  4. Since I already saw the movie (at Copenhagen Docs), and my dad is a bee keeper, I was wondering if the film will be out for sale as dvd or download?
    Best regards,

    • Hi Thomas
      The film will be available on DVD in German only (without subtitles) from the 15th of March 2013. It is still running at the movie theatres all over Europe, therefore we will have to wait until we will be able to get it on DVD in other languages.

  5. Hi Barbara/Markus,

    I would like to enquire about having a community screening of More Than Honey in Sydney. I have a small (65 seater) cinema who are wiling to run the movie and would like to find out more details about how to do this.

    Congratulations not just on all the awards, but on highlighting this exceptionally important subject.

    Warm regards


    • Hi Cate
      Thanks for your interest and for your congratulations.
      We are about to plan a screening in Sidney together with people from the University of Sidney. So maybe we could combine the events? I will contact you via email.
      All the best

  6. I just saw this very important documentary on a flight. I would also love to organise a screening in Sydney. I would be looking at a group of 30.

    • Hi Jo
      Thanks for your interest and for your congratulations.
      We are about to plan a screening in Sidney together with people from the University of Sidney. So maybe we could combine the events? I will contact you via email.
      All the best

  7. Hello Barbara/Markus,

    I saw this wonderful film in Canada at the Toronto International Film Festival 2012. I have been fascinated by the topic and have joined an urban beekeeping initiative. We would like to host a fundraiser for our project and I would like to screen the film – unfortunately there isn’t a Canadian distributor. Is it possible for the director to provide permission? Can you provide me with an email contact so we can discuss other options?

    Here is a link to our hives:

  8. Dear Barbara, dear Markus,

    we, a group of people living in Berlin, organizing a festival in august and would like to show your movie in our cinema room. Please contact me to find a way to realize it and for licensing purposes.


    • Dear Stefan
      Thanks a lot for your interest.
      The world distributor for “More than Honey” sits in Berlin. Valeska Neu is contact person for
      Köpenicker Strasse 184
      10997 Berlin – Germany
      Ph: +49 (0)30 6953 7850
      Fax: +49 (0)30 6953 7851

      It is probably safest to check with her about licencing purposes.
      All the best and lots of success

  9. Barbara,
    Wondering if there is an English translation available? Interested in a showing on behalf of a small group of beekeepers in Napa, CA. How to proceed?

    Many thanks, Adrian

  10. HI Markus, Thank you for the fruits of your hard labor are well worth pollinating… I hope one day you release footage of you and your crew actualy capturing some of the bee footage. It would be inspiring to see the methods taken to achieve such breathtaking scenes. Also, perhaps some of the additional 30+ hours that never made it off the editing room hard drives 😉
    My guess is your adoring fans would bee ever so grateful.

    • Dear CharBee
      Thank you for your compliments. I passed them on to Markus together with your question, because I was curious myself.

      He wrote back to my email that he prefers to leave the 205 hours of leftover Film-Material “in their can” because (and we should trust him on this) “the best is in the film”!

      All the best

  11. Hi, I am writing on behalf Environmental Cinema Cycles, a group of people from different social and environmental organizations who believe that arts, and particularly cinema, are important tools for raising awareness and social transformation.
    We have been working on this project for over two years, with a very good response from the public in our city (Córdoba, Argentina). This event is oriented to general public, so we have a very diverse audience, from teenagers to elderly people. The purpose is mainly educational and the entrance is for free. We are all volunteers and no profit is involved in theses activities.
    We are very much interested on showing More than honey on our next Cycle and we would like to count with your authorization to do so. Bees are in crisis in our country, as well as all around the world, and we believe it is necessary to raise awareness of the consequences of this phenomenon.
    You can check our facebook page
    Your favorable response will be highly appreciated.
    Thanks for your time and consideration.

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best regards

    Virginia Martinez

    • Dear Virginia
      Thank you very much for your interest.
      I will check with the world distributor on who will be able to help you with a screening in Argentina.

      All the best

    • Dear Jess
      I do not have more pictures of this bee house myself. However, I can try and find out if there are other pictures available and let you know.
      Is it just exactly this one you are fascinated by or would you like more information on bee houses in general? Please let me know, and I will try to find what information I can from Swiss beekeeper friends.
      All the best

  12. Just watched your movie, such a beautiful film. I have always loved bees and been fascinated by them. Even as a child I would lay in the clover studded grass with a glass and capture bumblebees and honey bees for a few moments so that I could study them closely, then set them free to continue their work. My yard is full of perennials planted just with bee’s in mind and I love watching them hum around the flowers as each new one blooms from month to month. But your film has made me love them even more. Thank you with all my heart for making this beautiful film, I hope it brings your message to more people and that changes will be made to save this beautiful essential insect. God bless.

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