Abu Dhabi: A Turkish documentary depicting the struggle of residents of the Black Sea region in Turkey to preserve their natural environment has captured the Golden Deer Awards for best feature film in the first Abu Dhabi International Environmental Film Festival (ADIEFF).

A Few Brave People, directed by Ruya Aroz Koksal depicts life in the region affected by government projects to construct dozens of hydraulic stations by private companies necessary for development and self-reliance in power generation.

The six-day festival, the first of its kind in the region, ended Thursday evening with a colourful green carpet ceremony at Abu Dhabi Theatre, where filmmakers were feted for the six best films in three categories.

Shaikh Shakbout Bin Nahyan Al Nahyan and Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahd, UAE minister of environment and water presented the awards.

Egyptian film stars Khalid Abol Naga and Laila Elwi, special guests of the gala evening, congratulated the winners while addressing the gathering.

Held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative of the Western Region, the six-day festival screened 50 films from 32 nations.

A German documentary Reptile Mafia, directed by Andrews Ewels and Green Water, directed by Hayan Ismaeel also won the Golden Deer Awards in the short film and the UAE Environmental film categories respectively.

A German-Romanian documentary Close to Heaven (feature film), directed by Titus Faschina, a Serbian animation film Michael Pollan’s Food Rules (short film) directed by Marija Jacimovic and Benoit Detalle, and a UAE documentary Cloud Seeding, Story of Life (UAE Environmental film), directed by Mahmoud Moustafa, won the special jury awards in their respective categories.

Laila Al Hassan, on behalf of the head of jury Razan Al Mubarak, the secretary general of Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, jury members Deborah Young and Qais Zubaidi also attended the ceremony.

Mohammad Al Hamadi, the president of the festival, said in his speech that it was just the first step in a very long journey inspired by the slogan of the festival “dreaming of Earth as a better place for life.”

It is an ambitious dream, indeed, not only for the UAE but for all mankind.
“We will spare no efforts to make this dream come true,” he said.

He said the festival was an attempt to create a new culture through the films to address burning issues by provoking minds and souls of humanity.

Mohammad Monir, executive president of the festival, said they received 170 entries from 42 nations and 50 films from 32 nations were selected for screening in an initiative designed to take advantage of cinema’s popularity to raise environmental awareness.
“The perspective is the Earth is the only planet that harbours life and we cannot afford losing it. Our shared destiny imposes huge responsibilities on us to protect our planet,” he said.

The festival also aimed at creating a new filmmaking culture to document all environmental aspects in the country. Art has proven to be an effective tool of communication with all segments of society and does has an influential impact on changing the behaviour of individuals, he pointed out.