It was a Festival of Tears

Green Screen Management Draws Positive Balance – Seating Capacity and Venues are at their Limit - Kieler Nachrichten September 9. 2016

A delighted team on Monday after the film festival: the promotion society's chairwoman Ulrike Lafrenz, managing director Markus Behrens, organiser Carsten Füg, festival manager and founder Gerald Grote and spokesman Michael van Bürk (from left).

Ready to set sail on the „Freddy“ without a camera: cinematographer Stephan Krasser, sponsor Günter Haß, filmmaker Klaus Sparwasser (from left). „Usually, we are true landlubbers“ the guests admit

The end of one festival means preparing for the next: Green Screen sets another record before setting off for round eleven. At its 10th anniversary after being founded by filmmaker Gerald Grote from Kiel and a group of Eckernförde locals, the festival attracted 150 wildlife filmmakers and 17 100 viewers to Eckernförde over a five day period.

“More balanced than ever“, that's how manager Gerald Grote sums up this year's wildlife film festival, which attracted a major part of the international wildlife filmmaking scene. 120 volunteer helpers saw to it that 155 events ran smoothly at six venues plus the Stadthotel and at Carlshöhe. Grote and Ulrike Lafrenz, chairwoman of the promotion society, agree that it was „an incredible accomplishment“. „After continuous growth over the years, we seem more apt at solving upcoming problems calmly“, says Grote. „One such case even turned out to be a lucky strike.“ He tells the whole story: At the festive youth awards ceremony, which was presented by Christine Nissen and Jan-Ole Hoffman at Carl's Showpalast, the screening technology failed. What a pity for both the Heinz Sielmann foundation, which had transferred the presentation of its CAMäleon-awards for up-and-coming filmmakers to Eckernförde, as well as for the prize winners of the Eekholt filmcamp and Schleswig-Holstein's young talents award. Gamander López-Caparrós Jungmann from Aachen was unable to hold back his tears because his latest work could not be screened. As a consolation, Sven Bohde, who in his turn received the award for the best short for kids, saw to it that the film was shown as supporting film at a screening with filmmaker Herbert Ostwald. In the end, this paid off for Gamander: The director of the Cologne Zoo was so impressed that he requested to screen the film at his zoo.
„In another sense too, it was a festival of tears - tears of joy “, Grote adds with a smile. „ I felt this year's gala in our City Hall was the most beautiful yet.“ The whole team was also highly praised by visitors, Lafrenz and spokesman Michael van Bürk tell us. One example: a new sponsor „was stunned to  see the amazing work behind the scenes of Green Screen“. He has already assured his support for 2017. Several filmmakers who had not submitted works of their own interrupted their shooting and travelled to Eckernförde at short notice in order to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and meet colleagues, among them eminent personalities such as author and presenter Volker Arzt. The yearly filmmakers' cruise, which is sponsored by Günter Haß of Eckernförde and the association of the traditional sailing vessel „Freddy“ quickly raised the number of trips offered to three due to high demand. Mayor Jörg Sibbel invited all volunteer helpers to a surprise party at the town hall on Sunday evening to thank them for their commitment. All supporters were invited to sign the town's golden guest book.

What are Green Screen's goals for 2017? Managing director Markus Behrens and technical organiser Carsten Füg state: „Without a professional cinema we will not be able to expand any further. The number of venues and the seating capacity are exhausted. Our goal is to increase the quality and to offer additional events in the range of our programme.“ Grote already has an idea: A filmmakers' night of dancing at the Carlshöhe venue, and guest tickets for this event could be won at a raffle. Title: Schräge Vögel (i.e. queer birds, odd fish). These words were used by civil director Karin Himstedt to describe the festival manager at the opening night – affectionately of course. „I like the label“, he says. „Because that's just what we film people are like. And it fits in with our wildlife theme perfectly.“

The Screenings Continue

In 2016, Green Screen began on Wednesday for the first time and lasted through Sunday. The new concept was received well, the more so as families were able to acquire reduced tickets for the prize-winning film screenings on short notice. The five days offered 155 events, including top-class seminars for filmmakers, which were free of charge for those having submitted films of their own. According to festival management, they were “more than booked up“. More than 100 films were screened, 70 of which were sold out in advance booking. On three days Green Screen showed a special school programme in the morning, which was attended by 3160 students and their teachers. In 2015 the number was 2400 school children. Also, it was a first that 60 pupils from Sonderborg, Denmark were invited. On Friday, September 23rd , the festival in its turn will visit there to show films to 1000 students and 500 adults. The number of viewers in Eckernförde rose from 16 500  (2015) to 17 100. In October, Green Screen continues for 18 students who will be experiencing a week of wildlife filmmaking in the Wadden Sea. Beginning in January, our winter film series in Eckernförde will show ten screenings. And in March 2017 the annual school film week visits cinemas in four cities throughout Schleswig-Holstein, including Kiel. Green Screen 2017 is scheduled for September 13th to 17th. Again on that Sunday, the local initiative for regional foods [Mohltied] will set up its Green Market.