10 October 2023
Post originally written in: Deutsch Information An automatic machine translation. Super fast and almost perfect.

A festival for nature and film art: The INNSBRUCK NATURE FILM FESTIVAL, INFF for short, which takes place from October 19 to 22, is already celebrating its 22nd edition in 2023 and has become one of the most important cultural events in Tyrol and the city of Innsbruck. This unique film festival, fully dedicated to nature and the environment, attracts filmmakers, environmentalists and film enthusiasts from all over the world. Ever since I had the great pleasure of visiting the festival for the first time last year, taking a look behind the scenes, talking to filmmakers, watching their wonderful films and participating in an exciting social program, I have been a big fan of INFF. I am all the more pleased that this year I had the opportunity to interview festival director Johannes Kostenzer, who gives us many exciting insights into his work and the festival.

We only have one planet - let's take care of it

The INFF is taking place for the 22nd time this year and has enjoyed great popularity ever since. Are there any innovations this year?

Johannes Kostenzer: "In terms of the range of films on offer, the festival has never been as broad as it is this year. A total of 70 films will be shown in competition. In addition, we are presenting an exhibition on the theme of Europe's rivers in collaboration with EuroNatur. Innsbruck is a place where people from different countries come together to talk about and exchange ideas on how to deal with nature in an environmentally conscious and environmentally friendly way. This year this is particularly evident. We received a total of 350 entries from 51 different countries. Our international presence is the result of many years of continuity."

"There will be a B2B section for the first time this year. Here we offer book publishers and film production companies a protected space for negotiations and 'face-to-face' support. There will also be an expert from the Venice Film Festival. Business contacts can thus be made in a discreet setting. This opportunity is well received by filmmakers and publishers, we already have numerous registrations. One of the goals of the INFF is to be there for the audience on the one hand, and on the other hand we want to further establish Innsbruck for the film industry."

"What may also be interesting is that Max Bale of Radio France International will be on hand to encourage curious people to talk about their subjective experiences of climate change. This will be recorded with a cell phone camera. A project launched by Radio France International to illustrate climate change in a low-threshold way. You can imagine it like this: A young person asks his grandmother how she experiences climate change - completely subjectively, without any scientific background. She answers, for example, 'This year my entire apricot harvest was ruined by the rain - that has never happened before' or 'We have never had so little snow as this year'. Some of the international mini-pieces, shot with cell phone cameras, will be shown as part of the ePOP sessions at 5:15 p.m. on Oct. 20."

"And this year we were fortunate to have Martina Rogato as our opening keynote speaker. She is one of the world's most renowned experts in the field of sustainable business. Martina Rogato advises companies on how to successfully integrate sustainability, business and human rights into their strategic considerations."

A hit off the screen, too: the Innsbruck Nature Experiences

The INFF offers its audience an experience that encompasses all the senses. In addition to the films, an extremely exciting supporting program is also presented. I myself took part in a great excursion last year and can therefore confirm that one should not miss the "EXPERIENCES" - i.e. the workshops, walks and exhibitions - either. Regardless of your interests and whether you attend alone, with friends or family, there is guaranteed to be something for everyone. What are your recommendations?

Johannes Kostenzer: "Certainly highly recommended is the cooking course 'Burgers 4 Future', which takes place in cooperation with the feld-Verein at the Genusswerk in the Viaduktbögen. Also particularly interesting - since it directly affects our city - is the Föhn excursion with the University of Innsbruck on the Nordkette."

"What will definitely be exciting is that we are taking a poetic approach this year. On the one hand, we have a reading on October 20 with Spiegel bestselling author Jan Haft and DJ/musician and author Dominik Eulberg, who will be spinning at Club Cubique afterwards. Secondly, fittingly, Oscar-nominated cinematographer Christian Berger will present his short films - or as he calls them, 'Visual Finger Exercises' - on October 21. In between, Anna Greissing will read short texts and poetry around the theme of nature. This is a very different approach that we have deliberately chosen to appeal to a broad audience."

Environmental protection with all senses

What do you want to convey to the audience?

Johannes Kostenzer: "Our main message always revolves around the central theme: How can we be mindful of our planet? This can be conveyed in many different ways. However, it is important to us that this is not done in a lecturing or restrictive tone, but in an enlightening and encouraging way. Our goal is to present a positive approach and inspire visitors to think. INFF aims to appeal to all the senses. A great example of this is our twelve Gusto Partners. These selected restaurants offer regional and seasonal dishes throughout the year, but especially during the festival. They are our ambassadors in gastronomy that we can highly recommend to festival visitors."

The INFF goes on a journey

The INFF takes place annually in October in Innsbruck. However, the festival goes on the road throughout the year - is on tour, so to speak. What can you tell us about this, what can we imagine under „INFF On Tour“ imagine?

Johannes Kostenzer: "The INFF has gone on tour in recent years. We have started to bring selected modules and certain films, sometimes accompanied by experts or filmmakers, to various Tyrolean communities. The focus is on screening high-quality films on topics such as nature, the environment, climate and a good life. We work closely with local partners such as municipalities or tourism associations to organize a 'mini-INFF' with a diverse supporting program. It is a particular concern of mine that the INFF is mobile and does not only take place once in October in Innsbruck, but spreads beyond the borders of our provincial capital and becomes better known."

An advocate for the environment

You are a biologist by training and an environmental advocate. Together with your team, you are not only responsible for the planning and implementation of the INFF, but also supervise and initiate a variety of projects throughout the year. You advocate for nature and the environment in various areas and also represent these interests in official proceedings. Can you tell us more about your work?

Johannes Kostenzer: "One of the main focuses of our work is to connect with the population on the topic of nature. One example is our involvement in a project around old grain varieties from Tyrol. Another matter close to our hearts is the fight against light pollution. We are committed to ensuring that artificial light is used carefully outdoors in order to minimize the environmental impact. In this context, we are particularly pleased to welcome a star guest from the USA at this year's INFF: Ruskin Hartley is a renowned conservationist and Chief Executive Director of DarkSky International, one of the leading certification bodies for light protected areas. Also of great interest is the 'Blüten.Reich' project, an initiative of the Tyrolean Environmental Advocate's Office, in which we are working with communities to preserve, renaturalize and connect species-rich flower meadows and wildflower areas."

"In Austria, nature conservation is closely linked to our picturesque landscape. By international standards, we already have solid standards, but of course there is always room for improvement and measures adapted to global warming. My concern is to send a positive message. We should be proud of taking care of our environment - this fundamentally changes the perspective and opens a new approach to the issue."

"When we talk to entrepreneurs and make them aware of the uniqueness of nature, which may be under threat, a new perspective opens up. Entrepreneurs have a clear objective in mind and strive to achieve it. My job is to show them ways and alternatives to achieve their goals while being mindful of the environment. We have weekly success stories to show that this approach is bearing fruit."

Thank you for your time and interesting insights!

The Jury

I am curious to see which films will win the coveted prizes this year. It is certainly particularly difficult to evaluate art, compare films with each other and ultimately choose a winner. However, I am sure that the INFF's colorful jury, consisting of filmmakers and experts around the topics of nature conservation and the environment, is perfectly capable of doing so.

Don't miss it

Finally, I would like to warmly recommend you to visit this year's INFF at the Metropol Kino and also participate in the supporting program. It's unbelievable, but most of the workshops are free of charge - an offer you shouldn't miss. As already mentioned, whether you go with friends, alone or with the family: there is something for everyone.


22. Innsbruck Nature Film Festival
When: October 19-22, 2023
Where: Metropol Kino, Innstraße 5, 6020 Innsbruck

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