The new Dutch nature film Wild Port of Europe , an ode to the flora andfauna in the port area of Rotterdam and Moerdijk, is causing a lot of angeramong environmental organizations. Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and DeJonge Climate Movement, among others, believe that the film, which will beshown in at least 90 cinemas throughout the country from Thursday, is’greenwashing’. The makers are biting off.
Willem Berents and his wife Melanie Kutzke have been working almost day andnight for the past four years Wild Port of Europe. Their mission: to showthat industry and nature are not necessarily mutually exclusive. “And thatpolecats, larks and hares that choose this terrain deserve to be seen,” saidKutzke. A large part of their time, they say, was spent approaching andgaining the trust of countless companies in the port area, so that they couldactually go everywhere with the camera.
The fact that oil companies are also included is not a good idea for 24environmental organizations that previously made a joint statement against thefilm on this website. ‘Nature flourishes under the smoke of the pollutingpetrochemical industry. That, in short, is the message of the documentary’,they say. ‘It will therefore come as no surprise to anyone who the proudsponsors of this film are: BP and Shell. Wild Port of Europe is thedefinition of greenwashing.’
Willem Berents is the director of Wild Port of Europe, which is set in theports of Rotterdam and Moerdijk. © Frank de Roo
Documentary maker Willem Berents thinks the fuss is unjustified. ,,Filmmakerslike us do not receive a cent from the Netherlands Film Fund for their firstmajor production. Then you have to look for municipalities, provinces, natureorganizations and companies to raise money. Because we wanted to film on theirsite, we also asked BP and Shell to participate. And yes, we got some fundsfrom that too. Without that help we would not have been able to give a face tonature in the port. By the way, they promised not to influence our work andthey kept that.” Berents emphasizes that institutions such as Staatsbosbeheerand the Dierenbescherming have also contributed to the film.
Don’t you run the risk of people saying that it is apparently not too bad withall the climate problems with a nature film that takes place in the port?Berents: ,,That could be, but first watch the film and then make your ownjudgment. Nature struggles to survive, while humans intrude everywhere. Youcan also read it that way. We try to seize something without prejudice.” Hiswife adds that probably not a cent is left with the film. “We even took out anextra mortgage on our house to complete the budget. We thought it was soimportant to make this current, relevant and nuanced film.”
Wild Port of Europe with a voice-over by Sacha de Boer and music by thewell-known trumpeter Eric Vloeimans, will also be the subject of debatetonight in De Balie in Amsterdam, where the makers and the protestingenvironmental organizations will talk to each other.