Werner Nekes

Werner Nekes (1944–2017)

Experimental filmmaker Werner Nekes died on Sunday at age 72, reports Monopol.

Nekes, born in Erfurt, Germany, in 1944, first studied linguistics and psychology while also running a university film society in 1963. As he became interested in the properties of the medium, Nekes began creating his own experimental films. Moving to Hamburg in 1967 he cofounded the Filmmacher-Cooperative Hamburg (as well as a basement cinema) with future filmmakers Helmut Herbst, Thomas Struck, Klaus Wyborny, and Heiz Emigholz.

In 1968 Nekes received the International Film Award in São Paulo for his ten-minute short, “schwarzhuhnbraunhuhnschwarzhuhnweißhuhnrothuhnweiß oder put-putt” (“Black Chicken Brown Chicken Black Chicken White Chicken Red Chicken White or Put-Putt”). Continuing in academia, in the early 1970s he became a professor of experimental film at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (Academy of Fine Arts, Hamburg).

Beginning in the 1980s, Nekes directed several feature films, best known among them were Beuys (1981)—winner of the German Film Critics Prize—and the commercially successful parody, Johnny Flash (1986). Among cinephiles Nekes was also known for creating an internationally renowned collection of devices, art, and ephemera pertaining to the history of filmmaking, including toys, magic lanterns, panopticons, and more.