Ministry of the Environment


EKOFILM Jubilee presents the visual style of the 50th edition. Its author is a young filmmaker with a disadvantage

EKOFILM, Europe's oldest environmental film festival, has unveiled the visual style for its 50th anniversary edition. This year, for the first time, a public competition was launched. The winning graphic design for this year's theme How (Not) to Kill Nature was selected by the organisers from twenty-six entries. The winning one was created in the Maturus studio, which employs artists with disabilities. The author of the illustrations, twenty-six-year-old Oliver Moučka, relied primarily on playfulness and wit. This year's EKOFILM will take place on 1-6 October in Brno, with the proceeds from the voluntary admission fee being donated to nature conservation projects sponsored by the Brno Zoo.

"Thanks to EKOFILM, the public has had a unique opportunity to see Czech and international films about the environment and its protection for half a century. Under its banner, it also creates an inspiring space for debates on important environmental topics, for sharing experiences and ideas, and above all for learning about unexplored waters. I believe that for many, EKOFILM is an enriching event that they look forward to all year round, just like I do," said Ladislav Miko, the festival's president.

The jubilee edition is an opportunity for innovations that can enrich the festival in the years to come. "For such an important anniversary of EKOFILM, the idea of an open competition from which we would choose the visual design of this year's edition was born," said Environment Minister Petr Hladík (KDU-ČSL), adding that the competition could be held in future years. "We announced a two-round competition and within three weeks the number of submitted proposals reached 26. We wanted to see how they worked in different settings, whether it was social media posts, posters or promotional items. The winning design appealed to us not only because of the animation it produced but also because of its insight," he added. The winner was decided by a board consisting of employees of the Ministry of the Environment and the organisers, which are the Key Promotion agency, the Faculty of Social Studies of Masaryk University and EkoInkubátor. 

The winning design combines playfulness and humour. This year, the festival poster will feature, for example, a beaver with a chainsaw and dynamite, a mole with a firearm or a hornet whose weapon is the words "I'll turn you off". "I wanted my design to be a reminder that animals have their own intelligence and courage. And I also think it's important that our society takes environmental challenges seriously, but with enough flair," said Oliver Moučka, who is a sportsman as well as a graphic designer. Since he was 13 years old, he has been playing para-football for the SKH METEOR Plzeň team. His hobbies also include archery, in which he competes for SC Jedličkův ústav Praha. In 2022 he took third place in indoor archery at the Czech Championship.

The overall visual style was created in the Maturus studio, which employs creators with disabilities. "We were interested in the competition for many reasons. Not only because of the focus of the festival, which is very close to our hearts but also because our employees were able to practically experience how the festival's visual is prepared," said Magdalena Lindaurová, head of the training programme in graphic design. "Moreover, it is not necessary to have previous experience to be accepted into the training programme, which was also the case with Oliver. His concept of the topic is very refreshing in this respect and I am glad that his win is motivating not only for him but also for the other employees of our program," she added. 

Man versus nature

The theme of the jubilee edition of the EKOFILM festival "How (not) to kill nature" refers to the impact of human activity on natural resources. It includes not only the impact of war and other conflicts and disasters, industry or mining, but above all the revitalisation of areas and the return of life to places affected by these activities. "At first glance, this is a difficult and daunting topic, but it holds a lot of hope. Nature never ceases to amaze us with how quickly it can recover, whether from fires and other natural disasters or from the effects of human activity. But this certainly does not mean that we do not need to be considerate, quite the opposite," commented Minister Hladík.

The overarching theme responds to the current situation with the war conflicts taking place in Ukraine and in the territories of Israel and Palestine. It also reflects the Nature Restoration Law, which aims, among other things, to restore 20% of the EU's land and sea areas by 2030, as well as revitalising landscapes damaged by mining in industrial areas and coal regions. In addition, this year's festival will also introduce the term Anthropocene, which refers to the period in which humanity's activities have a global impact on the Earth's ecosystem. Another part of this year's programme will be the perception of environmental issues as social conflicts and how this can be avoided. 

The 50th EKOFILM will also include a look back at all the editions held so far. Visitors will be able to learn not only about the history of the festival, but also about the development of environmental documentaries. The programme will also include lectures and debates with leading Czech and international experts. The main festival venue will be the Cinema City multiplex Velký Špalíček and other Brno locations. The detailed festival programme will be published at the end of August.

In addition, this year's edition will kick off a fortnight earlier, on 16 September, with a debate of environment ministers at the Slavonic House in Prague.  "We would like to congratulate EKOFILM on its important anniversary with a big debate of environment ministers. In addition, of course, we will also screen the winning films from last year to encourage Prague residents to visit the oldest environmental film festival in Europe," added Ladislav Miko, the festival's president.

Documentaries about the environment and its protection can be submitted until 31 May via the FilmFreeway profile.

20. 5. 2024