Grand Jury Spotlight: Melanie Haft

New York Festivals 2018 Television & Film Awards Grand Jury represents 32 countries on 6 continents. Known for its powerhouse jury comprised of prominent international broadcast and film industry executives, NYF’s jurors are award-winners themselves and are passionate about excellence and innovation. Their reputation in diverse areas across all platforms provide each entry with the utmost of attention and make them qualified to select the World’s Best TV & Films.

NYF’s Grand Jury Perspective offers an intimate glimpse into the thought process and creative insights of the award-winning industry superstars who serve on the TV & Film Awards Grand Jury.

Melanie Haft, Managing Director and Production Manager, Nautilusfilm










This week, New York Festivals TV & Film Grand Jury Perspective shares the industry observations of Grand Jury member, Melanie Haft, Managing Director and Production Manager for Nautilusfilm GmbH Germany. Melanie studied Media and Communications in Augsburg. She joined Nautilusfilm as assistant producer in 2001 and has been Head of production since 2004.  She has an impressive filmography of 21 films including: WILD SLOVAKIA (BR, ARTE 2014), GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINs (NDR, ARTE, NAT GEO 2014), MAGICAL MOORS (THEATRICAL RELEASE, BR 2015), CHIEMSEE, A SEA IN BAVARIA (BR, WDR, ARTE 2015), CHILDREN OF THE SUN – WILD BEES (BR, WDR, ARTE 2016) and FJORDS OF NORWAY (NDR, ARTE, NAT GEO 2017).

Chiemsee-A Sea in Barvaria

Chiemsee-A Sea in Barvaria earned 2 Gold World Medals and 1 Silver in 2017. The film showcases the Chiemsee or Bavarian Sea, one of the largest freshwater lakes in southern Germany. Nestled against a backdrop of the Alps, its clear waters are fed by glacial streams. It is one of the region’s jewels in the crown and attracts vast numbers of both human visitors and wildlife.

In the interview below, Melanie shares her insights on creating great content, career success, projects on the horizon and much more.

New York Festivals: Talk about what qualities makes great content?

Melanie Haft: Great content comes from authentic stories, aesthetical pictures and if it is emotionally captivating you will have a “winner” film.

New York Festivals: What was your mantra for career success? Was your path to success linear or a winding road…how so?

Melanie Haft: Never stop believing in your dreams, work hard, be real. Our path was not linear, but we kept going, working on our films the way we thought was best and we had other people believing in us and supporting us – so it is always also about a little bit of luck.

New York Festivals: What are some of the tools you use to keep your audience?

Melanie Haft: We share our knowledge on nature and wildlife with our audiences and it always happens to amaze the people. We share pictures on social media and we show clips that didn´t make it into our films. So, people get an idea of what it was like to produce a wildlife film over the period of 2-3 years.

Magical Moors

New York Festivals: Share your thoughts on freedom of the press?

Melanie Haft: Honestly, I think the press is not as free as it should be. One big problem is the lack of time for most journalists…they copy the content of press releases and real research is a luxury most cannot afford anymore – in this fast-moving world it is crucial to be the first to release a story…. even if you did not have the time to validate it.


New York Festivals: How important is building a social experience around a program?

Melanie Haft: I think it is very important to do so – it helps a program to approach audiences upfront and to keep them close.

New York Festivals: What projects are on the horizon for you?

Melanie Haft: Further wildlife films for German cinemas, International TV and some wildlife shorts.

New York Festivals: How has video streaming changed your creative approach?

Melanie Haft: Not really.

New York Festivals: Talk about how story structure has changed with the spread of mobile?

Melanie Haft: We are now also able to tell short stories and work on clips, this was not part of our work 10 years ago.

New York Festivals: How will storytelling continue to evolve to keep pace with the omni-platform environment?

Melanie Haft: I think that as always, we will have a greater diversity of film genres but stories that worked great on one platform will always work – maybe the structure of the film will be different, but the essence of the story will still be the same.

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