Green Horizons Award (Best Film on Sustainability)

Since 2018, the "Green Horizons Award" has been awarded for the best film on the topic of sustainability. A jury honors the film that is most likely to have the greatest potential to inspire people to change their behavior, thoughts, or attitudes in the interest of sustainable development through the combination of facts, stories, commitment, words, music, and visuals presented. The prize money of 2,500 euros is provided by AGIMUS, ALBA Braunschweig, HOFFMANN Maschinen- und Apparatebau, and oeding print.


The Winners:


Directed by: Matthieu Rytz, USA 2023, 93 min.


The unfathomable and mysterious deep sea is home to countless species. Life here is deliberate yet efficient. Unlike on the surface, waste is not possible despite the enormous expanse.

In the quest for resources and in the pursuit of consumption, humans are now reaching out for the treasures of the deep sea. For black, mineral-rich nodules, they are willing to exploit yet another previously untouched natural habitat.

In DEEP RISING Matthieu Rytz compellingly and movingly illustrates how even over 50 years after the 'Limits to Growth,' consequential steps are still being taken to fulfill the promise already disproven by the Club of Rome.

The jury 2023

Marcus Vetter

Marcus Vetter, born in 1967, studied "European Business Management" and "Media Science/Practice" at the University of Tübingen. From 1994-2006 he worked as a freelance writer and director for ARD. Since 2006 he works as a freelance producer and director within his production company Filmperspektive, teaches "Documentary Directing" as a lecturer at the University of Tübingen and gives film seminars worldwide.

Matthias Hots

A geography graduate, he has been working in environmental protection at the City of Braunschweig since 2012. As coordinator for climate protection, his current focus is on implementing the integrated climate protection concept 2.0. He is working with the climate protection management team to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality.

Alessandro Lombardo

Graduated in media management, cineaste and working in the film industry for 13 years. Work in advertising and PR is followed in world distribution by the acquisition and marketing of feature films and documentaries at international festivals. Since 2015, cinema film distributor and speaker for distribution work and film productions.


Directed by: Nic BalthazarBelgium 2022, 56 min.


We would first like to give an honourable mention - for a touching, sometimes unsparing, always stubborn documentary that shows two sisters in their struggle against factory farming and negotiates the fundamental question of how ecological goals can be enforced with parliamentary politics, but also with activism and civil disobedience: JUST ANIMALS by Vesa Kuosmanen & Saila Kivelä. 

Winning film: DUTY OF CARE - THE CLIMATE TRIALS by Nic Balthazar

For the Green Horizons Award, the jury chose a documentary in which the actions of individuals show tangible and far-reaching results. Because we can no longer wait for promises, but need action that leads to effective change. 

In 55 minutes, the winning film takes viewers on a journey through the course of a highly exciting legal dispute involving one of the world's largest oil companies. It is the story of the first lawyer to successfully sue a government and an oil giant. His motivation and perseverance have inspired many other people to take legal action against governments and companies that are doing too little about the climate crisis. The film inspires people to take action themselves and shows that various democratic steps, no matter how utopian they may seem, can indeed have an impact.

The Green Horizons Award 2022 goes to DUTY OF CARE - THE CLIMATE TRIALS by Nic Balthazar.

The jury 2022

Natalie Lettenewitsch

Research assistant at the Seminar for Film Studies at the Free University of Berlin, research work on nature documentary film and other topics. Previously programme work, editorial and organisational activities at various film institutions and festivals.

María Vallecillos Soldado

Graduated with a Master's degree in Cultural Studies and Cultural Management from the PH Ludwigsburg in 2022. After many years of experience as festival coordinator at the Tübingen film festival CINELATINO, she focused her Master's thesis on the film festival landscape in Baden-Württemberg. This led to the Ludwigsburg film festival NaturVision, where she is now responsible for the film competition. Films, sustainability and educational work are thus not only among her personal interests, but also part of her everyday professional life.

Prof. Dr. Ing. Klaus Fricke

Klaus Fricke studied geology-palaeontology at the Georg-August University of Göttingen and then completed a one-year supplementary course in environmental protection at the University of Kassel. Here he found his way into waste and resource management. In 1999 he was appointed to the TU Braunschweig. There he is head of the Chair of Waste and Resource Management. As Dean of Studies at the Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, he has been responsible for the international Master's programme "Sustainable Settlement and Infrastructure Planning in Urban Areas" since 2008. Since 2004, Klaus Fricke has been the editorial director and publisher of the journal "Müll und Abfall". In addition to his higher-level editorial work, he is responsible for the topic area "international waste management". He is a member of the board of trustees of the Öko-Institut e. V.



Directed by: Erlend E. Mo, Denmark 2020, 89 min.


The film we would like to award tonight does not offer answers to individual ecologically pressing problems, as the name of the prize - Green Horizons - might suggest. Instead, we experience - at times shockingly unembellished - the everyday life of a family setting out from the tranquil, well-off mountains of Norway to find a more environmentally sustainable future in a living community in the Danish countryside. But it proves much easier to have the right opinion than to live it out. Erlend E. Mo, the filmmaker and father portrays with incredible closeness and empathy his family in which idealism and reality, individual freedom and responsibility towards the community collide. The result is a sensitive and at the same time courageous film, which in many moments directs the gaze to the unspoken and the not so easily recognizable, thus taking us again and again into everyday situations to which we can connect. We had a long and controversial discussion about this film in the jury: Because so many decisions are made, some of them ecologically questionable. And because it offers no clear answer to the question of how and where we can find this more environmentally friendly, more sustainable future. From our point of view, this makes the documentary JOURNEY TO UTOPIA a very special one: A film that has the power to spark a discussion among the audience and talk about this family that thinks it has understood that we have to act - all of us - that we have to break away from the old familiar and look for new ways. After the decision, the festival management informed us that Erlend E. Mo, passed away earlier this year. We do not know under what circumstances, but it is not decisive for the awarding of this prize. This award would certainly have pleased him as a courageous, clever filmmaker.

The jury 2021

Hauke Wendler

Writer / Director / Producer on the cinema documentary MONOBLOC. Hauke Wendler is a German journalist, documentary filmmaker and producer who lives with his family in Hamburg.

Holger Herlitschke

Architect, worked in his own architectural practice for approx. 25 years. Member of the Green Party for almost 20 years. Has worked in the city's environmental department since 2020.

Nadja Varsani

She has been with fechnerMEDIA since 2014, since March 2016 in the editorial department, where she realises image films and documentaries.


Directed by: Carsten Rau, Germany 2020, 94 min.


The jury commended this beautifully shot and edited film for the calm and objective way in which it discusses the difficult issues that continue to arise out of the contrasting nuclear energy policies of Germany and France. Access to several of the major sites involved, in both countries, allows us to sample a variety of expert viewpoints – technical, economic and political – concerning the respective advantages and disadvantages of either national system. In bringing forward a series of strong voices at plant and community level, in an open-minded way, the film invites the audience to come to its own conclusions on a vital and complex issue of our time.

Special mention goes to another film in the competition, THE STORY OF PLASTIC, directed by Deia Schlosberg, for its ‘elegance, lucidity and overall power of argument.’

The jury 2020

Mark Le Fanu

Mark Le Fanu is a British writer and critic. He has taught a graduate course on the aesthetics of documentary at University College London (UCL) for the past ten years. Prior to this, Mark taught film history at the European Film College in Denmark. 

Martin Boudot

Award winning producer and director of investigative documentaries which broadcast on Canal +, Arte, Al Jazeera, Netflix. He graduated from the Professional Journalism School of Tours (EPJT), he achieves his cameraman training at the University of Northern Colorado, USA. He has covered numerous of events in France, USA, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Paraguay, Egypt, Niger etc. For his film GREEN WARRIORS he received the „Green Horizons Award“ 2019 at the 33rd BIFF.

Wolfgang Saam

Wolfgang Saam is a co-founder of Klimaschutz-Unternehmen e. V. Before being appointed Managing Director in 2013, he built up Klimaschutz-Unternehmen as part of a project at the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK). As Managing Director, he is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the association and represents the association in political bodies and vis-à-vis the media. Wolfgang Saam is a member of the advisory board at Klimadiskurs NRW, the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, and a Fellow of the Robert Bosch Foundation.


Directed by: Martin Boudot, France 2019, 52 min.


"Green Warriors: Paraguay's Poisoned Fields" is a film that opens our eyes, touches us deeply, and prompts lasting reflection. It revolves around exploitation, injustice, destruction, and the courage to resist. In this documentary, French filmmaker Martin Boudot examines the global production and distribution chain associated with soybean cultivation, along with all the resulting consequences for people, animals, and the environment. The impoverished rural population helplessly watches as highly toxic insecticides and herbicides are sprayed directly next to their homes. After the spraying, some children and animals die instantly, while others suffer disabilities due to DNA damage.

During his investigative research in Paraguay, the filmmaker discovers that toxic substances are sprayed on soybean plantations that have long been banned in Europe. Through the food chain, these substances end up on the plates of consumers there. The cultivation of monocultures, known as "Paraguay's Gold," primarily benefits chemical companies and global food discounters. The responsible politicians ignore these environmental crimes. The French journalist sends plant samples to the lab and, together with a doctor, initiates a series of examinations of affected children. With this evidence, they go public. Martin Boudot not only documents the problems but also actively influences the course of action as an activist. His film is both disturbing and empowering because it shows that people can make a difference when they unite against injustice. "Green Warriors: Paraguay's Poisoned Fields" sharpens our understanding of complex interconnections: cheap meat products come at a high cost—for the impoverished rural population in Paraguay and also for consumers in other countries.

The jury 2019

Birgit Heidisiek

Birgit Heidsiek is editor of Green Film Shooting magazine, which reports on sustainability in film and media production and regularly hosts events at international film festivals such as the Berlinale and Cannes. As a consultant Green Cinema, she works for the German Federal Film Board and has produced The Green Cinema Handbook. She also works as a freelance journalist for national and international film and media publications.

Jasmin Herold

Born in 1976 in Lichtenfels, Bavaria, lives and works in Leipzig. After studying German, she lived in Australia for three years. There she worked as an editor at a radio station and as a journalist. From 2004 to 2006 she lived in Canada, where she worked in a homeless shelter. After returning to Germany, she studied literary writing at the renowned German Literature Institute in Leipzig, where she specialized in screenwriting. Her first short film "Flying" won the Robert Bosch Prize and was adapted by Ukrainian director Roman Synchuk. Her second screenplay "Sunday coffee" was produced by 42film and screened at various international festivals. Dark Eden is her film debut for which she received, among others, the Artistic Vision Award in the USA and the Förderpreis des Haus des Deutschen Dokumentarfilms in the context of the German Documentary Film Award 2019.

Roland Makulla

Born in Braunschweig, Roland Makulla returned to the Lion City in 2007 after holding various positions abroad. As a career changer, he took over quality and sustainability management at oeding print GmbH and is personally committed to transforming the company into one of the "greenest" print shops in Germany.


Winner 2018: DARK EDEN

Directed by: Jasmin Herold & Michael Beamish, Germany 2018, 80 min.


We were looking for the film that "has the greatest potential to inspire people to change their behavior, thoughts, or attitudes in the interest of sustainable development."

The jury has chosen a film that takes us to a place where the residents systematically ignore the obvious contamination of their environment. They have perfected a mechanism of denial that we all know: simply not seeing what one knows.

In DARK EDEN, German filmmaker Jasmin Herold and her Canadian film and life partner Michael Beamish tell the story of life in Fort McMurray, a city in the Canadian province where vast oil sands are extracted.

The filmmakers give their protagonists and their worldviews plenty of space: unwavering optimists and desperate seekers of happiness, each in their own way, are the small beneficiaries in the grand game of the overpowering oil industry. In front of the camera, they try to define their own roles, which only falter when suddenly their own livelihood is threatened.

With clever dramaturgy and compelling scenes, the filmmakers succeed in helping us understand the survival strategy of the protagonists and read it as a parable for the state of the world. DARK EDEN is a film that lingers in one's memory. Told with suspense and impressive imagery, it brings a piece of world and self-awareness to the screen, making it a valuable contribution for all those who care about this world and want to contribute to its salvation.

We wish this film the largest possible audience.

The Jury 2018


Alina Hische (25) and Johannes Skowron ( 24) are the founders of the social startup "Re-Athlete". It has been already two years since the two students started selling recycled Sportswear made out of ocean trash. They unite sustainability and sport with regional production of goods

Antje Hubert

Born in Celle in Niedersachsen. She studied Arts and History in Braunschweig and Kiel. Until 2016 she was director, producer and chief executive in the filmproduction GbR. Since 2018 Antje Hubert created her own label mairafilm and produces films.

Roland Makulla

Born in Braunschweig, he returned after various stations abroad in 2007 to the Löwenstadt, made a career change and took over the quality and sustainability management at oeding print GmbH and stands with great personal conviction behind the transformation of the company into one of the "greenest" printing houses in Germany.