World Premieres Film Festival highlights environmental awareness with Cine Verde

The first World Premieres Film Festival (WPFF) to be launched next week will have a special section dedicated to environmental awareness aptly called "Cine Verde." Film entries in this section deal with particular concerns on the protection and restoration of the natural environment, pollution control and protection of plant and animal diversity. The festival theatrical run will be from July 2-8 at SM Cinemas.

These films include The Ideal City from Italy, The White Slopes and Green Umbrella from Iran, A Flash in the Tropics from Brazil, Home from Turkey, Holy Water and Coast of Death from Spain, A Thirsty World from France, and Walter and Tandoori’s Christmas from Canada. These films are eligible for the Cine Verde Prize for Best Environmental Feature.

Italy’s The Ideal City directed by Palermo-born Luigi Lo Casio tells the story of an environmentalist, Michele Grassadonia, who moved from Palermo to Siena, his ideal city. He tries living in full self-sufficiency, without running water or electricity in his flat, until he gets caught up in a series of confusing and mysterious events. His joyful experience in the ideal city starts to waver.

The White Slopes and The Green Umbrella, both from Iran, tackle different environmental aspects. In The White Slopes, directed by Mohammad Ebrahim Moayyeri, the last of the ancient eagles of Mount Damavand is trapped by smugglers who want to transport and market it in the southern ports of Iran. A group of environmentalists, along with some children try to release the rare bird. On the other hand, The Green Umbrella directed by multi-awarded director Naser Refaie, deals with new explorations of a ten-year-old boy.

Meanwhile, A Flash in the Tropics by scientific journalist, writer, and director Iara Caradoso deals with how lightning has affected the lives of people. The film was released in 2013 and screened by Cinemark – the largest movie theater exhibitor network in Brazil, marking the first time a Brazilian scientific documentary was exhibited by a commercial cinema chain.

Muzaffer Özdemir from Turkey, who has worked in irrigation and infrastructure projects, debuts with his feature film titled Home. The film is about Dogan, a pessimistic and neurotic architect, who gets ill while camping with his friends in nearby Istanbul. After his doctor had advised him to travel, and also longing for his homeland, Dogan sets off for a short break to the town of his childhood he has not seen for years. He realizes the countryside has not escaped the modern technological age and liberal mentality inimical to the earth, as he would seek in vain for the days he remembers to be tranquility itself.

The film Holy Water from Spain directed by Octavio Guerra takes place in a small village in Costa Rica, where people from Nicaragua face a drought forecast for the coming summer months. Don Nelson, a school teacher, writes a skit telling about the problem in his hopes of informing others. Their aim is to educate the people on the importance of building an aqueduct that may help them in their cause. Geiner, an 11-year-old boy however believes that only the spirits through shamans are the only ones who can make it rain and bring water back to their village.

The film Coast of Death, also from Spain and directed by Lois Patino tells the story of Costa da Morte, a region in the northwest of Galicia, whose name comes from the numerous shipwrecks in this area made of rocks, mists and storms, and about the people who inhabit the place.

France’s A Thirsty World, a film made by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, directed by Thierry Piantanida and Baptiste Rouget-Luchaire takes viewers through a magnificent and unprecedented journey into the heart of the least known regions of our planet. Filmed in extreme geographical conditions all over the globe, it describes the modern Odyssey of people who go out to discover the vast ocean.

Kids will find delight in the animated feature Walter and Tandoori’s Christmas by Sylvain Viau. Just before Christmas in the village of Hart’s Landing, an ominous shadow threatens to cast its dark pall over the tiny town, as a wealthy businessman without scruples plans to install a huge retail box store smack in the middle of the village. It is up to friends Walter and Tandoori to stop his ministrations before the village gets swallowed by environmental degradation and excess.

Cine Verde is one of multiple programs of the Film Development Council of the Philippines to help in global efforts to promote environmental awareness. On June 29, as part of its annual International Film Expo, the FDCP will initiate the first International Film Commissions’ Conference on Climate Change (IFCCCC).

The conference was established with the goal of helping change societal attitudes through the medium of film and other audiovisual materials. Local and foreign film industry members and environmentalists will be engaging in discussions on how best to use film and audiovisual images in raising awareness on relevant environmental issues.

At the 38th Hong Kong International Film Festival last year, the FDCP presented The Heart of the Storm, an eight-minute documentary chronicling the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban City, Leyte in November 2013.

Taken from footage captured by the FDCP team during a trip to the Leyte provinces, the documentary showed the extent of Typhoon Haiyan’s damage and the daunting task of rebuilding the lives of those severely affected by the calamity. The documentary was meant to give the public a glimpse of what lies ahead for a population still reeling from collective shock and facing many uncertainties.

The World Premieres Film Festival will run from July 2-8 in selected SM Cinemas in Metro Manila.



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