EKOTOPFILM – INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FILMS
Ekotopfilm is the oldest festival of sustainable development films in the world. A new generation has grown up alongside. Let’s go back and have a look at its roots.
In 1974, an idea to organize a showcase of the newest technical, scientific and educational films arose. A showcase organized in one city became a complex Slovak event, later a national event.
First annual was called Festival of scientific films. It wasn’t an easy period; many critics found the festival to be ideologically not suitable. Festival successfully attracted submitters and directors from abroad.
Since its third annual, festival published an informational booklet, which brought news from the previous days – attendees’ opinions, information on next events – aimed not only to attendees but also official guests and journalists.
In the next years the Slovak translations of the films improved, the number of screening days increased, and the technical topic of films was supplemented by the topic of environment protection. Festival started to come up with accompanying activities such as seminars and the quality of co-operation with scientific professionals has deepened.
Festival of scientific films has gradually and systematically started to focus on children and youth. With its environmental education the festival tried to support children’s relationship towards nature. The international conference – Environmental and ethical education for schools and school facilities – has been established.
1983 was a significant year, a discussion with film directors was held for the first time.
In 1990, festival has become a competitive showcase, presenting the Grand Prix award. The government departments started to take interest in the event and co-operate.
After 1993, when the Slovak Republic was established, the festival changed its venue from Trnava to Žilina and started to use its new name – EKOTOPFILM.
25th annual brought a novelty, the Honour of Ekotopfilm, award presented to personalities for their work and effort in the field of sustainability. First laureate of the award was Jacques-Yves Cousteau for his lifelong work in the name of nature protection. Festival’s motto became: ‘to love means to protect’.
In the subsequent years, the capital city Bratislava became the festival’s co-organizer and its venue to this day. More than 3000 films from more than 70 countries has been screened during festival’s first 25 years. Ekotopfilm festival has been growing from one year to another, increasing the educative work with children. The co-operation with the youth eventuated in the individual event – Junior Festival – Ekotopfilm for children and youth.
Within the festival discussions, many topics were covered. One of the most important one was the seminar focused on the integration of the Slovak Republic to Euro Atlantic and European structures. Many activities were organized after the festival – showcase of the awarded films in Vienna, Prague, or Košice.
During the 30th annual the festival welcomed famous documentary filmmaker Pavol Barabáš with his film Tatras’ mystery. Another exceptional personality honoured the festival with his presence. Albert II, Prince of Monaco personally collected the Honour of Ekotopfilm award. Grand Prix suggested by the International Jury was this time presented by the Government of the Slovak Republic.
Within the 35th annual the greatest films from 2004 – 2007 were screened. Year 2008 brought new festival activity called Ekotopfilm Tour Slovakia – festival showcase of awarded films in regional cities – Košice, Žilina, Trenčín, Trnava.
Honour of Ekotopfilm for lifelong work was presented to Michael Jackson.
At the beginning of 2015 a partnership between two traditional festivals Ekotopfilm and Envirofilm was established. Two festival joined forces to bring more quality to attendees simultaneously in two regional cities Bratislava and Banská Bystrica.
In 2016 we hosted renowned primatologist and activist Dr. Jane Goodall, who received the festival award Honour of Ekotopfilm for her lifelong work.
Over the course of time the festival has flourished to become internationally acclaimed and extraordinary with its focus on sustainability. Festival has earned professional and moral credit abroad. It is thought to be the forum of the newest and greatest films covering broad spectrum of economic, industrial and humane activities of mankind with focus on the sustainable development.