Better World Fund is an organisation that uses cinematic art and technology to create a better future for humanity. Recently, they held an event at Expo 2020 Dubai, in strategic partnership with the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth, we took the opportunity to speak with Manuel Collas de La Roche, President and Founder of Better World Fund, on a host of topics ranging from the intersection of film and fashion to NFTs and independent content creators…
How does the Better World Fund leverage cinema and filmmaking to raise funds for the causes you support?
Partnering with key collaborators, the Better World Fund aims to build a platform that unites the world of cinema and the arts with science and the environment to raise awareness about the main humanitarian and sustainability issues of our time. Through our conferences, events and fundraising activities to support impact projects, our objective is to educate and take action to reduce inequalities, improve the well-being of all, and protect our planet and our ecosystems.
Do you have any comments about the Dubai event?
The event was tremendously inspiring.. As part of the Dubai Expo, we organized two mastermind conferences – one of which through our new partnership with the University of Paris-Saclay - to raise awareness about persons with disability, and look at both challenges and opportunities notably through innovation.
We also hosted a prestigious gala dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel with inspiring artists and personalities such as Melody Gardot, Gabriella Zanchi and Sir Clifford LeRoy Edwards who jointly acted as the patrons. Having the support of such global icons has been pivotal to the work we do.
We screened at the opening of the gala the film “Dear Mother” written by Pierre Filmon and directed by Fadel Al Mheiri.
The film is about an incredible story, about the challenges of disability, and the power of love, motherhood, belief and commitment, values which are very much in tune with the values of the Better World Fund. The strategic partnership of the UAE’s Ministry of Culture and Youth – the French Embassy and French Institute have also been key to choosing disability as a major theme of focus, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
We will organise a new set of events on March 25 and 26, again as part of the Dubai Expo, focusing on the environment and climate action, particularly the protection of our oceans and the blue economy.
How do art and fashion contribute to philanthropy, in your view?
A study by the Cone Cause Evolution, carried out in 2021 which investigated consumer attitudes towards corporate social responsibility and sustainability, found that 85 per cent of consumers had a more positive image of a brand when it supported a charity they care about and were more likely to shop somewhere with proven corporate social responsibility.
In our day and age, it has become a moral obligation to be considerate and to bring about impact – notably for the move vulnerable – and positive change. Philanthropy in art, music, fashion, business, and our daily behaviours have become intertwined; we must all be philanthropists in our lives and we must all use our voice and the tools available to us (i.e. art, fashion, music, etc) to bring about the political, social, and environmental transformations that the world so desperately need. For us and the future generations.
Out of cinema and art, which do you feel has greater potential in the long run?
I believe cinema is an art so in that sense, I feel they are the same and have equal potential. If we were to make a point about which is more powerful and influential however, I would say cinema. The world of cinema is backed by some of the most influential and recognisable names in the world and they are all starting to use their voice to bring about positive change. The average person is more likely to have heard of Sharon Stone than Andy Warhol or Jean Michel Basquiat so in that sense, cinema has more potential but what is key in my mind is commitment and action – whether in art, science or business. Every discipline, every sector, everyone in fact has the potential to contribute to a better world whatever our focus. Engaged artists are champions; through their actions they can inspire all of us.
NFTs are a growing trend – what are your thoughts on that?
Recently the Better World Fund is proud to announce SHIBU Token as their official sponsors and partners for the next 10 years SHIBU does not operate like other cryptocurrencies, it is the only payment method on the celebrity and influencer NFT marketplace which is already in development today because of a successful private sale.
As a deflationary Binance Smart Chain Token, SHIBU aims to address a range of humanitarian needs. Through the sale of SHIBU Tokens, USD30,000 has already been raised for the Better World Fund. Some of Hollywood's biggest stars have endorsed the SHIBU Token, including several well-known stars from the European film industry. It provides humanity with much-needed assistance through its ecosystem.
A number of technical features make this platform highly beneficial and up to date, making use of cutting-edge technology capabilities and smart tokenomics. In creating the SHIBU Token, Hollywood celebrities combine their influence with the disruptive nature of blockchain technology into a Token that benefits people globally. Through its partnership with Better World Fund, these objectives can be accomplished efficiently and seamlessly. SHIBU was established in order to raise global awareness about humanitarian challenges and problems as well as to provide them with solutions. Further, the objective is to spread a message of shared inspiration for a better world for our future generations.
Is fashion an area where you seek greater presence? If so, why?
Fashion, as cinema, can be a powerful tool to bring attention to critical issues, seek solutions and promote positive actions. When we can partner with fashion we do – for instance at our gala events – even if the prime identity of the Better World Fund is to use the power of film-making to advocate and bring awareness.
What about independent content creators, are they on your radar?
To a certain extent yes, notably influencers and artists on social media; we ourselves are content creators through our events and our social media presence.
Any further comments you’d like to add?
Yes, I believe that everything that happens never happens by chance and that in these troubled times lies an opportunity for every human being to grow and evolve in consciousness.
In my opinion, the key note of this time must be the opportunity for all humanity to rediscover its innate capacity to love and unite to create a better world.