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Abu Dhabi film fest highlights green issues

Entries from 16 nations will touch on a range of topics from pollution to disasters

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi International Environment Film Festival will open on Saturday at 6 pm at Abu Dhabi Theatre, with American Emirati film ‘Promised Land’ by Gus Van Sant being screened soon after.

About 17 feature films and documentaries from 16 nations across the world will compete in the first round of the six-day festival ending on April 25, said a press release issued by the organisers on Thursday.

Held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region, the festival will screen films and documentaries from the US, the UK, France, Spain, Japan, Belgium, Netherland, Columbia, Bolivia, Croatia, Turkey, Egypt, Bangladesh, India, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. They will compete for the Golden Deer Award for the best feature film and a special award by the judges.

Film enthusiasts can enjoy a host of exciting films including the Indian film ‘Chachar, the no man’s island’ directed by Sourav Sarangi. It tells a story of 14-year-old Rubel who smuggles rice across the Ganga river between India and Bangladesh. The film depicts how Chachar island was formed due to flooding by the Ganga. Homeless people from both countries such as Rubel’s family started living on the island.

Based on the same theme, a Bangladeshi film ‘Are you Listening’ reveals the sufferings of the people of the small village of Sutarkhali, which was traumatised by a tsunami in May 2009. The Japanese film ‘No man’s zone’ is also based on the tsunami which hit Japan in March 2011 and resulted in the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The French film ‘Living building’ directed by Clemence Ancelin tells the story of a French company, which constructed a road in the middle of the Chadian desert where workers live in three camps during work and villagers come asking for work or for establishing stores to serve them.

The Turkish film ‘A few brave people’ tackles the struggle of residents of the Black Sea region in Turkey to preserve the natural environment they live in. Their life is affected by the government projects to build dozens of hydraulic stations by private companies although the government justifies the project citing developmental needs and self-reliance in power generation.

The film ‘Cerro Rico, Tierra Rico — Cerro Rico rich land’, which is the name for the Conical mountain in Bolivia tells the story of depletion of more than half of the mineral wealth of the mountain, and the keenness of the miners searching for zinc, silver, and various metals. The film raises several questions about how the Bolivian people use the wealth of their country to achieve development and progress.

Actor Jeremy Irons, star of the British film ‘Trashed’ reveals the scale and effect of the problem of waste in the world. He travels to beautiful areas polluted by waste, while conveying feelings of anxiety, terror and hope.

The Romanian film ‘Chernosaurus’ tackles the issue of radiation following the Chernovadia nuclear reactor explosion, by portraying how it gives rise to a new life form.

Croatian film ‘Dr Andrija Stampar, a visionary’ tells the story of Dr Andrija Stampar, the leading authority in epidemiology and a pioneer of preventive medicine, one of the founders of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its first president in 1948. He was arrested by the Nazis and kept in custody in Graz in Austria. He promoted public health in Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Meanwhile the Dutch film ‘Hum of Holland’ tackles road noise and inquires if there is one quiet place left in The Netherlands.

The Belgium film ‘Himself he cooks’ tells the story of hundreds of volunteers in Amristar golden temple in India to prepare 100,000 free meals distributed daily to visitors.

The Czech film ‘Immortality’ tackles the idea of the end of life on earth due to wars and domination of technology.

The joint German Romanian film ‘Close to heaven’ tackles exciting stories and amazing legends away from our real world lived by Dumitru Stanciu, one of the few mountaineers in Europe.

The Egyptian film ‘Dabaywa’ directed by Sa’ad Hindawi, resolves around Al Baja tribe in East Sudan. The word Dabaywa means Are you safe? and summarises the tribe’s fears of strangers due to the rich minerals in the area.