Simon Straetker is a filmmaker, tireless explorer and eco-activist known for creating inspiring short films at the furthest corners of earth. He is widely recognized for shooting elusive subjects—extreme adventurers, wildlife, boundless landscapes—and for asking pressing questions. Namely, how can we compel people to fall in love with nature again?
For the past five years, Simon has been searching for the answer. In 2012, he co-founded the Pangaea Project e.V., an international youth network dedicated to ecological change, which organises conservation projects for curious youth in Brazil, Serbia and South Africa. In 2013, Simon’s visually stunning short film about Germany’s Black Forest, his home, propelled him forward in the filmmaking world. He was awarded the German Conservation Award, Google Zeitgeist Award, and has recently been included in Forbes’ 30 under 30. Then he leveraged this newfound success to co-found Abenteuer Schwarzwald, a multimedia brand that seeks to combine his two greatest passions—eco-stewardship and film making. The project’s humble aim is to inspire young people in Germany about the Black Forest, using youth camps and social media to show them that you don’t have to hop on a plane to experience nature, and that grand adventures can be found in whatever slice of wilderness is closest to home.
Recently, Simon partnered up with some of the most promising creatives in Southern Germany to found the Black Forest Collective, a visionary storytelling brand that crafts dynamic films and photographs for a wide variety of clients such as Geberit, Vaude, EuroAirport, Ashoka and the Unesco. This year alone, Simon has traversed war-torn South Sudan, waded through the thick, muddy waters of the Amazon, and even travelled to the arctic edges of Siberia for a film project with Greenpeace Germany. He is slated to speak all around Germany in the coming years and host a series of workshops on filmmaking. When Simon isn’t traveling, he is back home filming the Black Forest and mentoring the young changemakers of tomorrow, guiding them up the same dusty trails that made him fall in love with nature in the first place.