Jury, workshop, journey to Petrozavodsk, Russia, and Joensuu, Finnlandia

BEFF 2019

We are overwhelmed by the activities around the BARENTS ECOLOGY FILM FESTIVAL and proud to support it as a partner! The BEFF took place from 21 to 29 September 2019 for the ninth time in Petrozavodsk, Russia and for the first time in Joensuu, Finland.

This year the focus was on the oceans, but the organisers also understand "Ecology" to mean other sustainability and in particular social issues. Compared to Germany, they are stronger in this respect. Especially the feature films, which come from different continents, deal with human highs and lows, social distortions, frightening observations and surprising solutions.

The main partner of the festival is the Commissioner for Children's Rights in the Russian Republic of Karelia. This gives the Filmfest its own dynamic, because young people and children were also involved in all festival activities - from designing the poster and judging animated and Karelian short films to journalistic approaches and activities, they were attentive observers and questioners everywhere. Conversely, we planted trees in Petrozavodsk Park with the students.

Thanks to the help of Green Film Shooting editor Birgit Heidsiek, Katja Schwarz from Germany was appointed to the jury for feature films, feature-length documentaries and fictional short films – thus also becoming the deputy of greenfilmshooting.net. Katja's travel to and from the festival by train was her contribution to the Ecology Film Festival.

The jury awarded prizes in various categories of the rich programme. The Grand Prix was awarded by the jury to Xavier Delagnes from France for his comedy "Notre Dame de la ZAD", because it presents ecological themes and civil resistance in an inspiring, witty and clever way. The music lifts the pace of the events.

Furthermore, Katja was given the opportunity to hold a Green Film Making Workshop in Petrozavodsk in front of an international audience and to give two interviews as a Sustainability Consultant - one for pitchingi.ru. On the one hand, the new topic initiates a rethinking of the media, on the other hand, it strengthens the developments on site; whether it is the ecological initiatives in the local art school, or the considerations of how the new waste separation laws can be implemented - there are positive developments in the civil societies.

The festival not only networks the Karelian regions in the two countries, but also creates new friendships - not least among the deeply moved jurors from Germany, Finland, Croatia, Russia and the USA.