Synopsis: In 1981, Wau Holland and other hackers established the Hamburg based Chaos Computer Club (CCC). The idiosyncratic freethinkers were inspired by Californian technology visionaries and committed themselves to hacker ethics. All information must be free. Use public data, protect private data. Along Hollands biography and the early activities of the CCC our documentary wants to reflect the philosophy of hackers, being concerned about the right to worldwide, unimpeded communication in order to make democracy possible at all. Their spectacular hacks lead to a growing media presence, but secret service entanglements of individual members result in espionage charges and unsolved suicides. Computer technology was still in its infancy and the emerging Internet became a projection screen for social utopias. What has become of them? The story of the German hackers, told by the protagonists themselves in a montage of found video and audio material.
***Film Is Unavailable in Austria and Germany***
Unrestricted surveillance and data exploitation by digital companies are topics that are discussed daily in the media today. Wau Holland, the founding soul of the Chaos Computer Club and his allies foresaw the dangers of digitalization in the 1980s. At the time of the Cold War and the punk subculture, the free spirits were inspired by Californian technology visionaries, professed hacker ethics and demanded a human right to worldwide unhindered communication as a prerequisite for democracy and self-determination. The fact that the CCC today acts as an important advisor in matters of data protection is just as much a legacy of Holland as the educational initiatives, the annual Chaos Communication Congresses, but also the development of controversial platforms for counter-publicity. It is long overdue to dedicate a film to the visionary ideas and legacy of data philosopher Wau Holland. In an entertaining retrospective, we want to show the ethics and humor of the hackers, to be infected by the thirst for knowledge, the joy of improvisation and intrepidity of our protagonists, to reflect on the highly topical social relevance of their issues and to show ways out of the big data trap.
Klaus Maeck – German film producer, director, writer and music publisher / consultant
In 1979 Maeck opened the first punk-recordstore (Rip Off) in his hometown of Hamburg, which soon distributed independent German music worldwide. At that time he started to shoot Super 8 films and produced a first feature film (Decoder, 1984), based on W.S.Burroughs cut up writings. Finding it difficult to survive as a filmmaker he was co-founder and longtime CEO of Freibank Music Publishing, initiated by the band Einstürzende Neubauten for which he also has worked as a manager. Always one foot in films, he produced and directed several music videos and two documentaries (William S.Burroughs & Einstürzende Neubauten) and was very active as a music consultant, which brought him the encounter with young film director Fatih Akin. While working on the Golden Bear-winner Head On (2004) they co-founded the film production company corazón international. They produced Akins next 5 feature films and documentaries and films of other directors (f.e. Xiaolu Guo). In 2013 Maeck founded his own film production company Interzone Pictures. His first production B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin, for which he was co-writer and co-director, premiered successfully at Berlinale 2015 and became a Berlin cult movie. Maeck is member of the German Film Academy.
Excerpts of filmograpy:
1984 DECODER (16mm, 80 min., Full Feature Film / Script, Co-Director, Co-Production)
2007 THE EDGE OF HEAVEN by Fatih Akin, Feature (Producer, Music Supervisor)
2015 B-MOVIE: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin / Documentary (Writer, Director, Producer)
Tanja Schwerdorf was born in Cologne in 1979. Between 2000 – 2011 she worked as an assistant on various film and television productions. 2004 – 2010 she studied visual communication/media at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg with Prof. Wim Wenders and others. 2011-2012 she worked as a junior producer for the feature film “FRAKTUS – The Last Chapter of Music History” at corazón international. In 2013, she received the cast & cut scholarship from the Stiftung Kulturregion Hannover and nordmedia Film – und Mediengesellschaft Niedersachsen/Bremen. Within this framework, the short film “NACH DEM REGEN”, produced by TAMTAM Film, was made, which went on a Germany-wide cinema tour with the Nord Shorts in 2016.