He started working for ZDF in 1979 as programs manager. He got deeply involved in Filmforum, a series he had charge of. Thanks to him, the audience discovered a cinema on the fringes of what was usaually shown. Kochenrath explored the Third World cinema. He contributed to save the Yiddish films fom being forgotten. He also rehabilitated Nazi cinema figures and caused controversy: with The power of pictures , the ZDF won their first Emmy-Award; the film was acclaimed in each festival where it was shown, even in Jerusalem. From 1993, he became Mr Cinema for Arte. He was interested in literature and religions.