matsalu nature film festival
matsalu loodusfilmide festival

maff 2018 AWARDS



Festival Jury >>

Films >>


Grand Prix

Norway´s Magical Fjords. Director Jan Haft (Germany)

JURY: Life under the sea surface resurfaces on the big screen in all its diversity and unexpected forms. Where water meets the submerged arctic mountains, the smallest lifeforms flourish and lure in leviathans. Seemingly defenseless eider ducks are a force to be reckoned with when protecting their young and clamps can fly to escape the crushing scissors of the crabs. Carried on Nordic melodic tunes, the beauty of the cold darkness is revealed to human eye in such vibrant colors one could not even imagine.


1st Prize (Nature)

White Wolves - Ghosts Of The Arctic. Director Oliver Goetzl (Germany)

JURY: The icy landscape introduces the crystal breathing characters to the audience. As the summer arrives, the families still have to endure the hardship of their Nordic environment. The film shows how social relationships are a matter of life and death in its purest form.


1st Prize (Man and Nature)

Ranger And Leopard. Director Fathollah Amiri, Nima Asgari (Iran)

JURY: Rumors of the return of the elusive legend has the audience sit on the edge of their seat till the grand finale. A pure and strong story filmed only with small equipment. This film shows how the perseverance and love for nature of one man can change the fate of an ecosystem.


Best Director (Nature)

Children Of The Sun - Butterflies. Director Jan Haft (Germany)

JURY: Probably the most loved insect is portrayed here in all its glory. But there is more than meets the eye: stealing honey in the hearth of a bee hive or having the offspring enter ant colonies as a Trojan horse. They represent the insect world that is at risk as human activity threatens their habitat.

Best Director (Man and Nature)

Ranger And Leopard. Directors Fathollah Amiri, Nima Asgari (Iran)

JURY: The director shows the viewer an intense fight of a man protecting a pristine area in an honest and interesting way that speaks to the audience throughout the entire film. The director took a big risk but it paid off. The lead character has flaws and failures, and only in the end, the perfect solution arrives.


Best Cinematography (Nature)

The Wind Sculpted Land. Cinematographers Joosep Matjus, Atte Henriksson, Jan Henriksson (Estonia-Germany)

JURY: Wonderful shots about our own nature, species and their activities, places and phenomena which are both accessible and familiar for us. The cameraman has looked into the most intimate of scenes, which can rarely be seen by humans.


Best Cinematography (Man and Nature)

Queen Without Land. Director and Cinematographer Asgeir Helgestad (Norway)

JURY: A film, where every frame is like a diamond, crawling deep into the soul. The fauna of Svalbard has been brought emotionally close by humanizing the animals: a mother who has lost her child, an adolescent, who has lost his home. Masterful images make climate change clear for everyone: the fjords, where the protagonist of the film, the polar bear Frost with her pups is living at the beginning of the film, are covered with sea water four years later. The few shots of the nature cinematographer show his work but never become too intrusive.


Best Editing

Rodents Of Unusual Size. Editor Quinn Costello (USA)

JURY: This film is like a Kinder Surprise, where every new layer is more exciting than the previous one. The editing holds the tension and interest until the end. New characters and topics are introduced secretly and layer by layer. Until we reach the unexpected end result, where the rodent, i.e. the enemy has become an income for the community in Louisiana and, as the main protagonist points out, his closest friend.


Special Prize of the Jury (Nature)

For the enchanting forest experience: The Ancient Woods. Director Mindaugas Survila (Lithuania)

JURY: Beautiful and meditative film about forest life in its own rhythm. Great background sounds give us hints about the hidden wildlife. We see relationships and connections, black stork peak massage, their chicks’ frog meal and much more.


Special Prize of the Jury (Man and Nature)

For the alarming message delivery: Blue. Director Karina Holden (Australia)

JURY: The film carries a strong message about the drastic decline in the health of our oceans, which is shown to the audience by way of effective and unadorned means. At the same time, the nature visuals of the film are magnificent and all this together helps to make sense of the modern-day globalizing world and the human impact.

Highly Commended Diplomas

Laws Of The Lizard. Director Neil Losin, Nate Dappen (USA)

JURY: Great science film where complex knowledge about the evolution of one animal group is introduced to the audience using fast editing, exciting experiments and enthralling approach to the subject. Watching the movie, you feel excited about the researched animal group as well as the scientists researching it.

Kamchatka Bears. Life Begins. Directors Irina Zhuravleva, Vladislav Grishin (Russia)

JURY: This calm film takes us to the wild and beautiful Kamchatka with two bear families with young cubs. We can see the everyday routine of the cubs as well as the exciting lessons they have to learn at the beginning of their life both on the fishing waters and in the forest.

Activist. Protagonist Riikka Karppinen. Director Petteri Saario (Finland)

JURY: The nature cinematography shots have been combined effectively with the main story of the film - the fight of the protagonist against mining giants in the marshland reserve in Lapland. The protagonist inspires with her undeniable enthusiasm and eye-opening argumentation.

Birds Of The Lakes Return. Director Matej Vranič (Slovenia)

JURY: Clear, clean and interesting shots about different bird species, combined into an enjoyable story. It is an exciting story showing the ability of nature to regenerate if left to its own devices.


Araucaria Araucana. Director Rémi Rappe, Santiago Serrano (France)

JURY: An original script about the vital tenacity of a species that has seen many others fall down over millions of years, invites us to reflect on how ephemeral we are.


Special Prizes

Matsalu National Park - Wetlands Work Wonders! Directors Tomasz Ogrodowczyk, Michał Ogrodowczyk, Jacek Karczewski (Poland)

Tallinn Zoo - A Herd Of Orphans. Director Kelly Bakos (USA)

Estonian Fund For Nature - Forest Blind. Director Kyeong-Cheol Seol (South Korea)             

National Geographic Estonia - NG's and MAFF's Prize for a young videomaker Meiko Lindeberg

Hungarian Institute:

- Best Educational Film - Little Pete At Forestback. Director Rein Maran (Estonia)

- Best Estonian Film - The Wind Sculpted Land. Director Joosep Matjus (Estonia-Germany)

- Best Environmental Film - Activist. Director Petteri Saario (Finland)

- Best International Film - Blue. Director Karina Holden (Australia)

- Best Ethnographic Film - Free As A Crane. Directors Lamoureux Maxence, Devroute Arnaud (France)



Congratulations to the winners! Thank you to everyone with a film at the festival!