Eckernförder Zeitung 14.09. 2015
At an entertaining gala night hosted by NDR presenter Christian Schröder at the Stadthalle , 18 trophies made from pressed sand were presented to filmmakers from around the world - amongst others by the juvenile jury (photo) .
The award for best Film went to 'America's Natural Wonders - Saguaro'. Minister of the Environment Dr. Robert Habeck showed resentment when both mayor Jörg Sibbel and festival director Gerald Grote criticised the lack of regional government support.
A Town's Green Heartbeat
Award ceremony of the international nature film festival Green Screen: Best Film is 'America's Natural Wonders - Saguaro'
'Everything is green including the views' - on Saturday NDR presenter Christian Schröder confident as ever guided the audience through the award ceremony for the 9th international nature film festival Green Screen at the Stadthalle. The reference to views alluded to the regional minister of environment Dr. Robert Habeck who attended the ceremony to present the regional government award 'Wild Schleswig-Holstein'. Green the views and miffed the atmosphere. The marked criticism expressed at the opening ceremony by festival director Gerald Grote and mayor Jörg Sibbel regarding the insufficient financial support by the regional government (see paper dated 12-09) did not go unnoticed by Habeck. 'I am not regional minister of cultural affairs, but we can help indirectly and show appreciation through a small prize' he said and added: 'This reaction to our prize is vexing. We might have to reconsider whether the prize will be awarded again in the future or not.' The award comes with 5,000 Euros prize money plus another 5,000 Euros for the support of the festival.
That was the only chilly spell in the atmosphere of the 2 ½ hr ceremony where 18 awards were handed out, culminating in the award for best film sponsored by Eckernförde Council that was given to 'America's Natural Wonders - Saguaro'. The film also received the award for best musical score. Director of municipality Karin Himstedt encouraged the filmmakers: 'Do not give up hope of regional funding'. That is absolutely necessary as the festival has reached dimensions that Eckernförde alone cannot shoulder long-term. The documentary 'Why Honeybees Die' by Christof Würzburger won the Heinz Sielmann award. Ingrid Sielmann's health did not allow her to attend the festival.
The sh:z audience prize was awarded to the film 'Amongst Storks - A Village's Bird Frenzy' by Herbert Ostwald who had two hours ago answered audience questions after the screening at the town hall. Prior to the festival his film plus the entries 'Wild Sri Lanka - World of Forests' and 'Hamilton's Adventures - A Different View On Sea Cows' were screened in 13 different places that feature a newspaper edited by Schleswig-Holsteinischer Zeitungsverlag. More than 3,000 people attended the screenings and cast their votes: The storks received 1,129 votes, whereas the other two documentaries received 650 votes each. 'You always return once you have caught the Green Screen bug' said Stephan Richter, spokesperson for the main editorial offices when presenting the trophy of pressed sand.
This year's presentations were organized differently: Some awards were presented at separate events thus tightening the schedule. The jury was seated at a table next to the stage from where they read their eulogies. This year another special award was on offer and given to Stefan Austermühle who for this film 'Peru's Blood Red Ocean' risked his life while filming the illegal and extremely cruel catch of dolphins as bait for sharks undercover on board of trawlers. The award donated by Eckernförder Zeitung for best camera went to the film 'Life Force - The Arid Namib'. The Japanese winner Makoto Kita had a long journey to Eckernförde, but not as long as filmmakers from Australia and the United States.
Because of the tightened schedule the ceremony had room for a musical interlude by the Chilean musician Daniel Puente Encina who put some oomph into the dance floor action at the After Show party.
Gerald Grote, the director of the festival and well-known for his elegant puns, held a reflective speech supported by photographs commemorating Jochen Hillers who as head of the Green Screen association put a lot of energy and creativity into the evolution of the festival. As 'engine of a whole region' he was never very verbose. 'He pitched in' so Grote. Thanks to that 'wonderful man' with 'permanently rolled-up sleeves a small idea turned into one of the world's biggest nature film festivals'. 'Jochen was a friend, my friend, a benefactor of the town and a benefit to people who knew him'.
The night did not end with the award ceremony. The filmmakers celebrated their wins until 4 am with live music. For them the festival had taken on special importance.