Nature director Rudi Blattner’s new film “Animals” celebrates its premiere. Talk about his work and climate.
Rudi Plattner’s latest work “Animals” celebrated its premiere last week at Cinema Liberty in Winfelden. The film took the nature filmmaker to Finland to see brown bears, jaguars in the Brazilian Pantanal wetlands and polar bears in the Arctic.
Nature Film Maker
Rudi Blattner is a Swiss filmmaker who has been making nature documentaries for 40 years. The trained machine animator gradually trained himself in wildlife biology and learned how to make films. Many of his films: camera, editing, sound, music. On his expeditions, he takes a handy camera with spare batteries and a tripod with him. Gross weight: about 15 kilos. The 70-year-old was born from St. Margareten TG in Basel but has lived in Thurgau for the past 17 years.
SRF News: You’ve been photographing animals in endangered environments for 40 years. This is time consuming and requires good preparation. What is more important planning or patience?
Rudy Blattner: Both. Some projects may take three or four years to plan. Suddenly she says: Let’s go. Then patience and knowledge, and depending on the animal, a good guide is required. Then there is tension. When the animal I want is in front of the camera, I’m like a little boy and I start dreaming.
What is your most impressive experience?
There are some salient points. In 1982 I was one of the first photographers with mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Four years ago in the Pantanal in Brazil I met a Jaguar. In general, Brazil offers incredibly diverse flora and fauna.
One imagines that the life of an animal filmmaker is an adventure. How is that?
It’s a mixture of biological curiosity about a rare animal and adventure. You pass through swamps, battling mosquitoes or leeches – but when shooting, you are so focused that everything around you is forgotten.
Were there dangerous moments?
A few. A hippopotamus attacked us 42 years ago. Once again startled by a snake. I am not afraid that this is a mistake. Respect for animals is important.
The polar bear is the only predator with humans on the list.
They were with bears. Are they dangerous?
The brown bear is more than a flying animal. In a sudden encounter in the forest, he can attack. Escape is useless. On the other hand, the polar bear is dangerous. From Longyearbyen, a research station in Svalbard, you are never allowed to go outside without an armed game observer. Not to kill the bear, but to scare him with air shots. The polar bear is the only predator with humans on the list.
In the movie you want to show how humans threaten or destroy animal ecosystems, but also how beautiful nature is. Is the message audible?
Yes, in the first performances Echo was enthusiastic almost without exception. More than I expected.
Is it a balancing act that is not considered ethical?
There are some subtle sharp comments at the end of this movie. We show more beauty. I am convinced that politically we will not achieve any solutions with the fingers of threat. People need to realize for themselves that they want to help. The film takes a step-by-step approach to the topic. The warning was eventually well received.
The mass consumer who walks headless in malls is just as responsible as me.
I’ve traveled the world for the movie. Critics can say that this is not environmental.
If you want to protect something, you need to research. Biologists have to fly, too. But the mass consumer wandering the malls without a head is just as responsible as me.
If someone wanted to become a wildlife videographer, would you recommend it?
I would advise this, but I would like to say: basic knowledge of biology does not hurt. One must be able to read the language of the animal. No point in setting up the camera and the animal runs away. I would choose the profession again. It is beautiful, in nature, in the forest. And photograph something cute at the same time.
The interview was conducted by Sasha Zurcher.