19-10-2020

FESTIVALS: Sockeye Salmon. Red Fish Wins EKOFILM IFF 2020

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BRNO: The Russian film Sockeye Salmon. Red Fish by Vladislav Grishin and Dmitriy Shpilenok was the winner of the 46th EKOFILM International Film Festival, which concluded its first part on 17 October 2020. The Festival President’s Award went to the film Unrestrained Virgin Forest by Zdeněk Zvonek. Two more days of cinema screening of all 25 films will take place 27 and 28 November.

ekofilm cz logoBreathtaking shots, topical issues, inspiration, optimism and chills from trying to answer the question if we, as a human beings, will ever learn. Each of the five winning films of the 46th EKOFILM International Film Festival triggered some of these feelings in this year’s members of the jury. The Grand Prize of the Festival goes to the film Sockeye Salmon. Red Fish. Thanks to the enthralling shots and testimonies of local experts, it helps us to become conscious of the fragile balance of natural ecosystems on which our lives depend.

The Award Ceremony is available on www.ekofilm.cz.

This year’s Head of the Jury, director Tomáš Hulík, values the prize-winning film Sockeye Salmon. Red Fish. for its excellent camerawork and the outstanding screenplay. “On the one hand, shots of hundreds of bears hunting salmons in the enthralling Kamchatka landscape, on the other hand, terrifying images of poachers who are able to hunt and gather 1800 pounds of salmon caviar. That makes this film an unrivalled best picture of this year’s edition of the festival,” said Tomáš Hulík about this year’s winner.

“I am pleased that the winner of this year’s edition of the festival with the topic ‘Sustainable Consumption’ is a film that helps us to become conscious both of the fragile balance of natural ecosystems on which our lives depend and of the extent to which a man can disrupt this balance. Takes of the dramatic landscapes in the changing seasons, close ups of Sockeyes’ spawning or shots of hunting bears are breathtaking,” says the Minister of the Environment Richard Brabec about the Russian picture winning the Grand Prize of the Festival.

The Festival President’s Award goes to the director Zdeněk Zvonek for his film Unrestrained Virgin Forest that depicts efforts of Czech nationals to preserve a part of an intact natural landscape of the White Carpathians in the form of a private forest reserve. “It is a film documenting the efforts of locals to save the natural environment of an original forest landscape in the region of Valašské Klobouky. It is crucial that the whole initiative arises ‘from below’, from people who are aware of the value of the places near their home and who are not part of the official environmental organizations. I think their efforts deserve recognition similar to the one of the films they inspired,” says the President of the Festival Ladislav Miko.

The winner in the category Beauty of Nature is the American film The Last Ice by Scott Ressler. “Beautiful stunning images of natural landscapes or animals in their natural environment mingle with authentic testimonies of locals. They pass on an alarming message about what is going on in the Arctic – the place that can seem distant but in reality is very much linked to our European lives,” says the member of the jury Blažena Hušková.

The jury selected the German film On Thin Ice by the directors Henry M. Mix and Boas Schwarz as the winner in the category Central European Films. “An engaging film On Thin Ice depicts the beautiful natural landscape of Russian Siberia as well as the alarming climatic changes in this vast area. In an accurate way, it links beautiful camerawork with unique shots made from drones. In the film, scientists and filmmakers were able to get into places that had been inaccessible for tens of years,” says the member of the jury Martin Čech. “The jury would like to point out that this film shows a relatively unknown part of our planet that might hold an important key to the survival of humankind,” adds another member of the jury, Michael Havas.

From the ten films competing in the category Short Films, the Italian Robin Food by Pavel Maximov emerged victorious. „Excellent documentary about a very topical issue of food waste. What should we do with leftovers? Save them, cook them and give them away for voluntary donations. This cool film shows this great idea!” says the Head of the jury, Tomáš Hulík.

Besides the Head of the jury, the director Tomáš Hulík, and the President of the festival, Ladislav Miko, films were judged by the director Jan E. Svatoš, the Czech-New Zealand director and producer Michael Havas, the director of photography Martin Čech, the actress Lucie Zedníčková, the lecturer Blažena Hušková and the Head of the Department of Environmental Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Masaryk University, Karel Stibral.

All 25 festival films will be screened during postponed screenings on November 27 and November 28 at the University Cinema Scala and in the hall of the social center of the Municipality of Brno-střed. Audiences can register for individual screenings at www.ekofilm.cz and the tickets are free of charge.