at 2Rivers Film Festival 2020

11 films were represented in the student competition, in which we were able to award two prizes this year. The Martin-Görlitz-Foundation had donated a 500 EURO prize for the best film in the category “Sustainability”. The winning film in the category “Food Cultures” also received 500 EURO, which had been awarded within the framework of the BMBF-funded research project “Food Cultures” at the University of Koblenz.

Greetings from Martin Görlitz on the “2Rivers Sustainability Award”


This year´s winners of the Student Competition are: 

In the Arms of the Ocean by Renate Bijlholt in the category “Sustainability”

In Aiye´s Garden by Eyob Defersha in the category “Food Cultures”




A NEW ERA by Boris Svartzman | FR 2019 | 71′

A Chinese village’s fight during 7 years against their land expropriation, exemplifying the fate of billions of peasants forced to urbanize each year. Synopsis: In 2008, local authorities evict 2,000 villagers from Guanzhou, a river island in Southern China to build a presumed Ecological Parc. In spite of the demolition of their houses and police pressure, a handful of inhabitants return to the island. For 7 years, Boris films their battle to save their ancestral land, from the ruins of the village where nature is slowly reasserting itself, to the worksites of the mega city which inexorably advances towards them. Will they share the same fate of 5 billions of Chinese peasants expropriated yearly?

BAREFOOT IN THE FOREST by Julie Alva Cleve | NO 2019 | 28′

Barefoot in the forest is about activist Christoph ‘Huck’ Middeke and his experiment with life. In the forest of Finland, with his bicycle and various equipment, he sets out to explore how one can live closer to nature and how we can all do our part in supporting the web of life. Huck dedicates himself to putting thought into action – repairing our culture, living without money or fossil fuels and without producing rubbish – to be a part of nature. But Huck´s dream is tempered by the realities of life; supporting a family, living in a city and raising a young son.

BEYOND by Magdalena Reichinger | AT 2019 | 47′

In times of impending ecological collapse, it seems increasingly urgent that research and technology for the permanent colonization of Mars progress. Beyond accompanies two people who firmly believe in the future of their species outside Earth and presents their visions and ideas of possible design concepts for an alternative future. Just as the two potential astronauts are constantly torn between past and future life realities, the film also plays with the question of reality, in times like these.

FREDDY by Ian Bertorelli | USA 2018 | 10′

An otherworldly and existential tour through the interior of a plumber’s van.
Freddy is a Chicago plumber and his big red van is packed with a dizzying array of esoteric parts and tools. This short film abstracts and expands the interior of Freddy’s van as he describes the dilemma of maintaining the mobile stockpile that makes him a master at his job. As he approaches retirement, Freddy must decide what to do with the tools and parts he has collected over the course of his career.

IN THE ARMS OF THE OCEAN by Renate Bijlholt | NL 2019 | 25′


Fishermen are at the front-line of environmental changes that appear at sea. Storms impact their catch, rising sea levels endanger their island. The changing climate impact the rhythm of ocean life, shaking up life on land, shaping knowledge of the seascape and reshaping cultures. Fishermen are now forced to adapt to the new ways of the sea, altering the way they interact with their environment, changing the rhythm of their lives.

THE DEPTH BENEATH, THE HEIGHT ABOVE by Andrea Bordoli | CH, UK 1028 | 18′

The Depth Beneath, The Height Above consists in an exploration of the high alpine region of Robiei, southern Switzerland. Conceived as a sensory piece, the film particularly focuses on the existing relationships between the humans, animals, infrastructural and natural elements that compose Robiei’s specific landscape.
Through a juxtaposition between the aesthetics and activities that takes place above – the continuous stream of water, the movement of animals, the processes of production of cheese – and respectively below the ground level – the mechanisms, machines and technologies involved in the hydroelectric production, as well as the humans interacting with them -, the film seek to grasp the natureculture and multispecies assemblages through which Robiei and many other contemporary Swiss alpine landscape are being produced.

THE RIVER, MY FRIEND by Hannah Ambühl | SE, Ch 2018 | 47′

The River, My Friend is a portrait about the lives of four women and their relationship to the Lule River in northern Sweden. The film gives insights into the past and present consequences of the water power on the Lule River: many Sami were forced to leave their land to make way for the dams. These circumstances in connection with the colonization of Sápmi (“Lapland”) led to the loss of indigenous culture and way of life (such as language, reindeer husbandry, food and songs). At the same time, the film shows the deep friendship between the women and the Lule River: “Every day the river flows through me, searching for memories,” says storybook author Eva-Stina Sandling. The film expresses both the alienation and the growing bond between man and nature.

THERMOPLASTIC ELASTOMERES by Melina Rieder | CH 2019 | 11′

Thermoplastic elastomers: A Christmas Movie is a plastic-based essay film and uses a pair of green eyes to explore the question of our future shaped by artificial intelligence.
In many parts of the world, people’s lifestyles are increasingly influenced by constantly evolving technologies. To deal with the growing challenges of climate change and social upheaval, we will need a great deal of creativity; in dealing with our environment and in shaping our relationships.

How is this creativity influenced by the fact that many people’s everyday lives are shaped by more and more “smart” objects that influence our decisions and collect data in the process? What happens to human relationships and gender stereotypes when we can shape bodies of our own choice and order them home? And what if we fall in love with them?
Human-like robots are not yet quite ready to be the perfect conversational partners* or to clean our homes. But development is moving very fast. When is the right time to analyse this topic from a social science perspective and to raise pressing questions?
The filmmaker prefers to find sooner rather than later, and that is why this essay film approaches the robots as close as possible to the moment: in the form of a so-called ‘love doll’, still without artificial intelligence. The film is meant to be a starting point for discussions on this topic, raising more questions than answers.


IN AIYE’S GARDEN by Eyob Defersha | ET 2019 | 41′


Enset is well known by its unique feature of drought resistance. Studies show that enset collects rainwater towards a barrel-like pseudostem’ and conserves its body. Hence, even during drought periods when other cereals easily succumb to drought, enset can survive and maintain its green and lush appearance structure for longer periods of time looks like large, thick, single stemmed banana like plant
In Aiyes’s Garden. Processing Enset in the Gamo highlands is one of the film in GPL film series. It is 41 minute documentary film (currently produced under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, and Germany) about local knowledge about enset plant and how the people extract food from it.
The film aimed to provide opportunity to understand how the people interact with their surrounding environment. Specifically how they produce organic food by simple farming tools without polluting the environment. In addition to that in the film it is clearly showed how over centuries indigenous people have learnt and practiced how to grow food and to survive in their environment.
Additionally In Ayes Enest Garden: the processing of enset in Gamo highland tells as how the women are the backbone of the enset production and their effort to improve food security. The work load in the area performed by women such as farm management (duping animal dug and west materials between plants) processing and storage activities handled by women and it is culturally taboo for male group to process, store, and food preparation.

THE CRY OF THE ROOSTER by A. Fersztand & R. Cerullo | CH, FR 2019 | 8′

Our film is located on the intersection of sustainability and food culture. We examine a lifestyle of reestablishing the connectivity to consumed meat as a living being in a Central European context. With this, we are looking to provide the audience with a thought-provoking impulse, food for thought, on the sustainability of a food culture centering around animal products by having the viewers witness the process of ‘life top plate’ without demonizing the consumption of meat.

TOFU NIGHTS by Eim Chan Thar | MM, DE 2017 | 17′

It’s a long day’s night for the workers at Yangon’s ‘top’ tofu factory Shwe Pyi Thar which prides itself on making tofu completely without the use of chemicals. A hot and laborious job, from dusk till dawn.