Sunspot Award 2020 – Between Corona und one of a kind shots

It was exciting until the last second. Ten filmmakers were selected from more than hundreds of submissions. From October 3rd – 10th, 2020, they were given the unique opportunity to explore Usedom and capture their personal view of the island in a creative video clip. The task was short and to the point: produce a 100-second film in 100 hours. The prizes were 10.000€ (including a new Sony A7s iii), a unique network and the Sunspot Award. But this year, the pandemic made it very difficult to organize and participate.

Sunspot Award 2020 – Between Corona und one of a kind shots

The Sunspot Award is a marketing initiative of FMD | FilmemacherDeutschland ( for the Usedom Tourismus GmbH with partner Sony. Sascha Gottschalk (founder, managing director and production manager) and Tariq Khan (founder and community manager) tell us what is behind this award and what happened behind the scenes to start and carry out such a competition. The beginning of the Sunspot Award goes back to a project from 2018. For the Tourism Board of Abu Dhabi and with partners such as Etihad Airways and Mercedes Benz, the Falconlens Award was created at the end of 2018. This was one of the most complex international video competitions. A total of 20 of the most talented filmmakers from all over the world were cast and invited to Abu Dhabi to shoot a video in 100 hours that could be 100 seconds long. As Usedom was enthusiastic about the results and the worldwide unique concept of the Falconlens Award, the concept was scaled down for the island. The result is the Sunspot Award. Sascha Gottschalk briefly describes this competition:

“10 one of a kind creative people in search of unique motives.”


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The application for participation in the competition could be submitted quite easily via social media, primarily Facebook. Since FMD | Filmemacher Deutschland is in charge of one of the largest Facebook communities of filmmakers around the world, they have access to a gigantic pool of professional and creative filmmakers for projects of this kind. In addition, the competition was advertised worldwide via ad campaigns to spread the search for creative filmmakers beyond Facebook.  The focus at FMD | Filmmakers Germany is primarily on using the shortest possible digital communication channels. In this way, filmmakers were able to apply directly via a posting during the first application phase. Subsequently, 50 filmmakers:innen were selected who posted or submitted the most interesting reference projects and were asked to submit a mood board with their vision of the Usedom film. In the final selection phase, FMD | Filmmakers Germany and their partners evaluated all submissions and invited the 10 best finalists to a closed Facebook group, which was then used for almost all communication.


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What is the secret to the success of such a competition?

Since FMD | Filmemacher Deutschland has been working primarily remotely with its team since its foundation, short and uncomplicated communication channels are no new territory for them. Facebook has always been a central point of communication for FMD | Filmmakers Germany. In addition, management tools and WhatsApp were used for the Sunspot Award. Real-time communication with participants, partners and clients is always important. The experience FMD | Filmemacher Deutschland has gained over the years was of great advantage, especially in the pandemic year, as hygiene regulations could change at any time. Using classical communication channels, such as email, short-term changes often cannot be communicated quickly enough. FMD | Filmemacher Deutschland, it has also been very important to make the communication between the team, the participants and the client transparent and at eye level. Closed Facebook groups, in which not only the participants and the team were invited, but also the clients, are particularly suitable for this.

The evaluation also focuses on tracking as much of the customer journey as possible and finding out how individual users behave. Whether they go to the corresponding landing pages and whether anything really changes as a result of the initiative of this campaign in the coming weeks.


This year was a very complicated year for a project as complex as the Sunspot Award. FMD | Filmmaker Germany was lucky to have great partners, like the hotel partner (Strandhotel Ostseeblick), as active support on the side. Above all, the Usedom Tourismus GmbH of the island of Usedom itself, showed great courage in times of volatility and pandemic-related decline in tourism in Germany. Everyone pulled together for the implementation of the Sunspot Award and everyone knew that something could change every day. Three hygiene concepts had to be worked out in advance and adapted to the respective circumstances and requirements at any time in close coordination with the client and partners. Real-time communication was of great advantage here, because it was essential to inform all partners and also the participants without delay of any changes to the hygiene regulations. Although the participants had mainly filmed outdoors, shooting was not possible without restrictions. The Award Night was a special challenge for everyone, because especially after the award ceremony the participants want to network and celebrate in a relaxed atmosphere. But there were strict rules here as well. Only a certain number of people were allowed into the event room. The team had to make sure that the equipment did not take up too much space and that there were certain free spaces and escape routes. FMD | Filmemacher Deutschland had very strict regulations, but they were happy to follow them, because in their eyes it was a privilege to be able to realize a project of this size in these times.

The Winners of The Sunspot Award 2020

  1. Place – Romek Watzlawik
  2. Place – Daniela Lucato 
  3. Place – Susanna Kosa

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