»Finally films that weren’t imitating life but films that were life«

Maike Mia Höhne in conversation with filmmaker Thomas Struck 

Maike Mia Höhne: »Filmmacher-Cooperative« – one single long word. Who brought it up and why? What and who inspired you? Can you still remember the moment?

Thomas Struck: At the Brüderstraße and the film and TV study group at university, we were inspired by the Nouvelle Vague and the New American Cinema, introduced by P. Adams Sitney at the main auditorium. Finally films that weren’t imitating life but films that were life! The name was adopted from New York’s »Film-Makers’ Cooperative«. Hence the correct designation of »Filmmacher« without the e after film designating the plural form, since you don’t say »Shoesmaker« either.

What did you do in the cooperative? What was awesome and what didn’t work at all? And is there anything you would be doing differently in hindsight with today’s insight and perspective? You were very young and on the road a lot…

The common denominator was to distribute the f ilms. One Mark per minute, ask Alfred Hilsberg. From today’s point of view, I would found a veteran university for bearded children with an affiliated day-care centre.

Was anyone from your group, possibly you, in Knokke at the experimental film festival?

I was in Knokke and went belly-up. Hellmuth Costard was there with »Warum hast du mich wachgeküsst«, as far as I know.

Did Hellmuth read or show the letter from Holger Meins to you, did you talk about it?


In which direction were you drawn? What did the political absolutism…


… trigger in you? What was your private consequence?


Thomas Struck (b. 1943 in Hamburg) was a member of the Arbeitskreis Film und Fernsehen an der Universität Hamburg (AKFF) in the 1960s and was one of the founders* of the Hamburg »Filmmacher Cooperative«. He became known as a director in 1968 with the film »Der warme Punkt«, for which he received the prize of the 1st Hamburg Film Show. Other films by him include »Walk Don't Walk« (2000) and »Flüssig« (2002). From 2003 to 2007 he was Talent Manager of the Berlinale Talent Campus and from 2007 to 2019 curator of the Berlinale series »Culinary Cinema«.