Ministry of the Environment

Ekofilm 2020

Let's meet a member of film jury: Michael Havas

Michael Havas is a Czech-New Zealand filmmaker who has written, directed or produced over 60 films, many of which have received international awards.

Recurring themes in his work are historical context, cultural heritage and nature. From 1984 to 1993 MIchael, then living in Germany, co-produced internationally acclaimed Jan Švankmajer´s first two animated features Alice and Faust. In 1990 he was key researcher and producer for the BBC´s series of documentaries on the new Czechoslovakia: Death of Stalinism was nominated for an animation BAFTA while Absurdistan and The Magic Latern (Michael Frayn´s portrait of Prague) both won BAFTAs as Best Documentary.

He has worked with Sir Peter Ustinov, Ester Krumbachová, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Peter Gabriel, David Crystal, Michael Frayn, Erich von Däniken, H.S.H. Prince Hans Adam of Liechtenstein and many others.

In 2003 Michael was commissioned by ARD to write and direct a one-hour documentary about life on the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia: Where the Fish Sleep in the Trees achieved 26 telecasts on German and French TV and won best director at EKOFILM 2004.

Michael also contributed to the screenplay of Aldabra, a 3D wildlife adventure feature directed by Steve Lichtag and released internationally in 2015. His latest film Beyond the Battalion is a reflection on human memory seen through Michael´s earlier two films about the Battle of Crete and the 28th Maori Battalion: Once upon an Island and Sons of Tu Mata Uenga. In May 2017 Beyond the Battalion was granted an award by the Governor of Chania “for Havas´ contribution to the preservation of Crete´s historical memory”.

Together with Lucie Výborná he is currently preparing a feature documentary Crown of Hope for Czech TV and Maori TV, inspired by the Corona virus epidemic and NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern´s mantra: “Economic growth is an unnecessary evil.” The film will contrast the differing approaches towards the environment in Australia and New Zealand.

14. 8. 2020