The Włodzimierz Puchalski International Nature Festival, with its motto ” The promotion of European nature and landscape” is not only the biggest presentation of nature films in Poland, but above all, it is a great festival of ecologists, filmmakers- naturalists, photographers and painters, who are aware of the issues of the present world and the nature surrounding us. The Festival has been held every second year in Lodz since 1980, and in 2001 it changed its status to international.
The goal of the Festival is promoting Polish and international nature films, evaluation of the present state and future prospects of the nature film development, defining the possibilities of using nature films in educating the young and honouring the most valuable films and TV programs dealing with nature issues. The films which participate in the Festival are short or medium – length, dealing with problems of nature, environment protection, the coexistence of man and nature, and related topics.
The main prize of the Festival is Włodzimierz Puchalski Grand Prix for the best film participating in the competition. The total amount of the festival prizes is € 12,000.
The Festival is known internationally. The Selection Committee receives films from all over the world. Producers and filmmakers, as well as organizers of film festivals from many countries arrive in Lodz during the Festival film competition.
The Włodzimierz Puchalski International Nature Festival belongs to the ECOMOVE International organization, which has been formed for nature film festivals from Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Portugal, Japan and Italy, thus promoting Polish cinematography, especially this particular branch – the nature film.
Apart from competition viewings the Festival offers various, unique accompanying events. The participants of the Festival take part in photography and picture previews with talks, meetings discussing the presented films or field trips where they can see what is done in real life to save the environment. The workshops conducted during the Festival aim to teach the youth how to express their emotions and knowledge, how to use various artistic means of expression : there are photography, film and art classes.
The Festival is named after Włodzimierz Puchalski, who was born in 1909 in Mosty Wielkie near Lvov. He was an engineer of agronomy, studied at the Academy of Agriculture in Dublany, at the Department of Agriculture and Forestry. He assisted professor Witold Romer at the Department of Photochemistry of Lvov Polytechnic, where he developed a method of making nature films. His great love for nature together with his skills as a photographer and filmmaker resulted in renowned photography albums and nature films. They brought him popularity and recognition in Poland and abroad. In 1937 he received the gold medal at the Great Hunting Olympics in Berlin for his photography “ Wild Boar in Winter”, and the premiere presentation of his nature film “Bloodless Hunt” in 1939 was a sensation. “A Film Poland Has Never Seen” – that was the title of one of the reviews. In the 1950s he began his cooperation with the Educational Film Studio in Lodz. He made 58 films; won many awards at Polish festivals and abroad. He died in 1979 on King George Island, during the film expedition in the Antarctic.