Wild Port of Europe nominated for film prize in Germany

17 August 2023
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Wild Port of Europe, the film by Willem Berents from the Netherlands and Melanie Kutzke from Germany about the unexpectedly rich nature that can be found in the ports of Rotterdam and Moerdijk, has been nominated for ‘Best Innovative Film’ at the GREEN SCREEN International Naturfilmfestival Eckernförde, in Germany. The nature film already received the Crystal Film Award at the Netherlands Film Festival.

Willem Berents during the filming of Wild Port of Europe

The film will be screened at the festival in Eckernförde on 8 September in the presence of Melanie Kutzke and Willem Berents, the makers of the film.

“We are delighted about this nomination because it recognises our film’s innovative aspect in particular. With Wild Port of Europe, we want to put the case for misunderstood nature. The film is about unseen nature which – against all expectations – is trying to survive in an extremely industrialised landscape totally controlled by humans: the biggest port in Europe,” Melanie Kutzke explains.

An area that is also constantly evolving. The presence of rich nature here is unexpected and awkward, and therefore generally tends to be denied rather than embraced. From one side, this nature is marginalised due to economic motives because this remains first and foremost an industrial port area. And from the other side, it is denied for convenience because nature in a ‘dirty’ place like an industrial area does not align with our nostalgic image of nature, or our current world view. It is specifically this split that Wild Port of Europe makes explicit in its form. Cinematically, we were deliberately looking for the contrast between the natural and industrial worlds. We call it ‘poetic awkwardness’. Without any bias and with no compulsory voiceover. Wild Port of Europe leaves the experience and interpretation up to the viewer.

The film’s production took 5 years and was extremely challenging. Not only are the ports truly vast in size, they are also literally kept under lock and key. On top of this, much of the nature here can pretty much only survive by taking opportunities that present themselves and which are not predictable. But patience was rewarded by fascinating footage, including of a kestrel nesting high in a container landscape. Plus a hedgehog stealing eggs and a family of polecats forced to lead a nomadic existence. Huge colonies of birds being lashed by extremes of weather. And a buzzard using a water tank as a cool box for his stash of rabbit carcasses.

Green Screen

The ‘Green Screen Festival’ will take place on 6-10 September in Eckernförde on the Baltic Sea. The organisers say it is the most popular festival for nature documentaries in Europe and has been running since 2007.