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

15 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.


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