“Cactus Hotel” is the winner of the second edition of LYNX Festival

Between June 4 and 9, the second edition of the LYNX Festival took place in Brașov, the only photography and documentary film festival dedicated exclusively to nature, from us in the country.

The Lynx Festival team

The event included in its program 13 documentaries released in the last year and appreciated in festivals around the world, including the premiere of Wild Transylvania, whose production had been announced at the festival itself, during the previous edition, by the director and producer John Murray. In addition to the films, the program also included 5 nature photography exhibitions, 3 masterclasses with international (Morten Hilmer, John Murray) and local (Cosmin Dumitrache, Daniel Mîrlea and László Potozky) special guests, a varied series of educational activities for children, as well as numerous meetings and debates with specialists from several environmental NGOs at the end of each screening.

More than 2,000 spectators attended the documentary screenings at Cinema Astra and Cinema City, all of which were sold-out a few days before the start of the festival. Free tickets could be booked online to allow everyone access to the nature documentaries and the debates organized around the important topics they bring to the fore. In the communication campaign, the organizers promoted responsible behavior on the part of the spectators, encouraging them to announce if they will not make it to the screenings for which they reserved a seat. All unfulfilled or canceled reservations were made available to the public coming directly to the cinema, so the theaters were always full.

Nature specialists

Among the guests with whom the spectators could talk directly were specialists from NGOs or environmental foundations such as Barbara and Christoph Promberger (directors of the Conservation Carpathia Foundation), Camelia Ionescu (coordinator of WWF Romania's water program), Mihai Pop ( member in the IUCN Bear Specialist Group), Bogdan Papuc (executive director of the Romanian Ecotourism Association), Teodora Sin (Conservation Manager and Ecologist within the ACDB), Adrian Aldea and Liviu Ungureanu (specialists of the Conservation Carpathia Foundation on beaver and bison), but also documentary filmmakers Zoltan Török, John Murray and Michael Schlamberger.

“Festivals like LYNX are a wonder that, just like a wonder of nature, must be protected. Events like this connect nature filmmakers from many parts of the world, who have the chance to discuss their films with each other and sometimes think of new projects or approaches together. But most importantly, it exposes the general public to these kinds of films and shows them nature as they may not have had the opportunity to see it before. We noticed that LYNX was attended by a lot of young people, a lot of children, who had the chance to ask us questions – these Q&A sessions after each screening are incredibly useful for everyone involved. I was impressed by the extremely intelligent questions that the children raised on the net, it gave me hope that what we are doing has an impact for the new generation,” said Michael Schlamberger after the premiere of The Raven's Tale.

During the 6 days of the festival, viewers could vote for their favorite documentaries, and during the Closing Gala on June 8, Cactus Hotel was awarded the Audience Award. Directed by Yann Sochaczewski, in just 50 minutes of stories built around a Saguaro cactus, the film managed to impress audiences of all ages. The trophy was handed over by Delia Cioc, Corporate Communication Division Garanti BBVA.

Also during the Closing Gala, the 15th edition of the Milvus International Photography Contest, the most important nature photography contest in Romania, announced its winners. The Grand Prize was awarded to the work entitled “Silhouette”, by photographer Ervin Horesnyík from Slovakia, an image that impressed the jury with its simplicity and sensitivity. Present at the festival, Ervin thanked the organizers for the chance to receive this distinction and told those present at the gala about his first participation in the competition, a few years ago, when he received the Audience Award and thought it couldn't be better than both: “But when I was informed that this year the image I submitted was receiving the grand prize, it almost didn't feel real. It is a huge honor and happiness that I feel and a special joy that my photo of the mountain world, which is so dear to me, received this award.”.


The trophy was presented to Ervin by Morten Hilmer himself, one of Europe's best-known nature photographers and among the most anticipated special guests of this year's edition. Just a day ago he held the masterclass “Chasing my Lost Spirit” (powered by Nikon), revealing many details from behind the scenes of his career and having a very honest and personal approach in the dialogue with the photographers present. “Photography is about bringing beauty to people's lives. Nature photography also brings awareness – both to the person taking it and to the viewer. We need nature, it's in our DNA, even if the pace of recent decades seems to have disconnected people from it. We need to remember that WE are nature. Every nature photography exhibition, every nature documentary screening, every event that facilitates access to this type of content is, in fact, a form through which we bring nature closer to people, through which we expose its beauty to them, in the hope that they will fall in love with her. Because you can't love what you don't know. And you can't defend what you don't love,” said Morten Hilmer.

The winners of the other categories – Nature, Wild Animals and Nature of Romania – were Thomas Vijayan (“Austfonna ice cap”), Fáth Ádám (“Flowers of the drained lake”), Miguel José Ávalos González (“Microcosm”), Willem Kruger (” Ostrich two in dust”), Gianluca D'Amico (“Chasing shadows: the thin pursuit”), Stanislao Basileo (“The Fox”), Claudiu Mircea Bîrliba (“Into the light”), Peter Levente (“A foggy day” ) and Radu Pătrașcu (“Medusa”). This year, a special prize was also awarded, in the Junior category, which went to Mara Cornelia Puiu for the work entitled “Barn owl from Livermere village in United Kingdom”. The Public Award remained in Romania, the work “A foggy day”, by photographer Peter Levente, also being awarded with this distinction.

The exhibition, which presents the beauty of nature and wild life, can still be visited until June 28, outdoors, in the area in front of Brașov City Hall or online at https://photocontest.milvus.ro/gallery/2024/.

I feel a bright sense of fulfillment at the end of the 2nd edition of LYNX festival. And I am grateful for the audience reactions and guest feedback, which were overwhelmingly good, for the dedication of the team and volunteers, who put every bit of their best into the foundation of LYNX, for the catalytic experience of the festival, which gave us close to both nature and ourselves. Although it seems that 2025 is still a long way off, preparations and excitement for the III edition have already begun! See you soon!”said Matei Truța, the director of the festival.

The next edition will take place in June 2025 and will include a more complex program of screenings, including outdoors, as well as a diversification of activities related to photography and documentary film production. Details will be announced on the festival's official website and Facebook page.