Walter Köhler

Walter is founder and CEO of the internationally acclaimed Terra Mater Studios, based in Vienna/Austria. He looks back on more than 30 successful years in the film business, nonfiction as well as narrative. In the 1990’s, he created the Natural History Unit of the Austrian public broadcaster ORF and made it one of the leading brands in factual television worldwide. He also helped nature to re-conquer the big screen by being involved in the BBC features ‘Deep Blue’ (2003) and ‘Earth’ (2007). Therefore, a BBC colleague once called Köhler an ‘industry legend.’

In 2011, Köhler launched his production company Terra Mater Studios (then: Terra Mater Factual Studios), and since then, he has gained international recognition with more than 250 international film awards, including several Panda Awards at Wildscreen Festival and Grand Teton Awards at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.

One of Köhler’s biggest industry coups was for his film, The Ivory Game, to be recognized on the Academy Award® Best Documentary Feature Shortlist in 2016. The thrilling feature documentary about the illegal ivory trade had its premiere in 2016 as a Netflix Original Film. Not only was it a huge success in the film business, but ‘The Ivory Game’ helped to save the elephant population when the Chinese government banned ivory trade two months after the film’s release on Netflix.

Another docu-thriller with huge impact was “Sea of Shadows” about the Vaquita, the most endangered whale on Earth, and the vicious Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers that play an evil role in the devastation of the region’s marine life. At Sundance Festival 2019, ‘Sea of Shadows’ had its world-premiere and won the prestigious Audience Award, catalyzing action on a broad international political scale.

Köhler continues to strengthen this integral part of Terra Mater Studios’ vision by producing films that show a unique and very fragile part of Mother Earth and help to bring about change.