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Director of Film That Will Be Presented at the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF) Receives Important Humanitarian Award
Santo Domingo, 08/27/2011

One of the international guests of GFDD and FUNGLODE’s initiative, the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF), has been awarded a special humanitarian prize in Canada for his films on climate change and his work with the United Nations. The Gemini Awards, the Canadian equivalent of the Emmy Awards, are handed out to outstanding members of the television and mass media industries, in recognition of their excellence.

Scientist and director, Mark Terry has produced over 20 television series and documentaries, the most significant of which are The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning (2009) and The Polar Explorer (2011), the latter being one of the films that will be screened during the Festival.

These films were the only two films selected by the United Nations Environment Programme for screening during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen and Cancun and are considered to be among the most influential documentaries in the history of environmental politics.

DREFF has the privilege of presenting Mark Terry, who is one of the 22 international guests represented in the Festival. His film, The Polar Explorer will be screened at Biblioteca Pedro Mir Auditorium, in Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, on Friday, September 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm. The screening will be followed by a discussion panel on the controversy surrounding scientific evidence that corroborates climate change and it explores the scientific process of how this evidence supports political decisions. It will also feature a discussion on how measurements are performed, on how experts assess the main signs of climate change in the region, and its physical impact (such as damage to the environment and increase in diseases), as well as a calculation of the current levels of greenhouse effect gas emissions and the possibilities of mitigation.

DREFF I, which will take place between September 8 and 11, 2011, will offer the youth, and public in general, the opportunity to watch dozen of the world’s best and most beautiful, informative and educational environmental films of the year, and learn about pressing issues the world’s ecology is facing. Some of the topics that the selected films will expose to their audience are pollution, climate change, biodiversity, forests and food security, globalization and consumerism and ocean preservation.

Link: http://www.muestracinemedioambientaldominicana.org/index.php


GFDD and FUNGLODE present the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival, September 8 - 11, 2011
Santo Domingo, 08/17/2011

Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and its sister institution in the Dominican Republic, Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), announced the dates of their new initiative, the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival, which will be held on September 8 through 11, 2011, in Santo Domingo and Santiago, Dominican Republic.

Conservation and protection of the environment has been a high priority concern for both GFDD and FUNGLODE, and the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF) will bring much needed attention to this topic in a format that is as educational as it is entertaining. This Festival will also serve as an eagerly anticipated accompaniment to the Dominican Republic Global Film Festival (DRGFF) during which, in 2006, the need for more quality films focused on raising awareness about the environment was first discussed.

The Environmental Film Festival will provide youth and general audiences the opportunity to watch dozens of the world’s best and most beautiful, informative and educational environmental films of the year, and learn about pressing issues the world’s ecology is facing. Some of the topics that the selected films will expose to their audience are pollution, climate change, biodiversity, forests and food security, globalization and consumerism and ocean preservation.

In a series of presentations, the Festival will highlight topics of interest to the Environmental Community including: a) a history of the conservation efforts of marine mammals in the Dominican Republic, with a special 25th anniversary celebration of the Marine Mammal Sanctuary, featuring a keynote address by renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle, who will address the subject of the importance of marine protected areas and “Hope Spots”; b) a focused analysis of the global problem of ocean pollution, especially in relation to the disposal of non-biodegradable plastic trash in waters worldwide; and c) a celebration of the Dominican Republic’s wealth of ecosystems and species, which makes it one of the richest countries in the world in terms of biological diversity.

FESTIVAL OVERVIEW AND HIGHLIGHTS

A) VENUES

There are 3 venues for the films, 6 of which will be screened at the FUNGLODE auditorium, 7 in the Manuel de Cabral Auditorium in Biblioteca Pedro Mir, at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, and the final 5 in the Centro Cultural Eduardo Leon Jiménez auditorium, Centro Leon in Santiago.

B) FILM SELECTIONS

This year the Festival will present 17 documentary films, including 13 features and 4 shorts.

Features:

1. Bag It
2. Parque Nacional del Este: Refugio de la Naturaleza y Cuna de la Cultura
3. Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization
4. The Polar Explorer
5. Cuba: The Accidental Eden
6. The Last Lions
7. Vanishing of the Bees
8. Dirt! The Movie
9. The Economics of Happiness
10. Play Again
11. Wild Ocean
12. Ocean Voyagers
13. Where the Whales Sing

Shorts:

1. Plastic Bag
2. Luchando por la Vida- Una Historia del Mar
3. Once Upon a Tide
4. The Story of Stuff

C) OPENING NIGHT ACTIVITIES

Santiago – September 7, 2011

Opening night in Santiago will present the feature film “Bag it”, in which director Suzan Beraza tackles the issue of discarded plastic. In the movie, an average man makes a resolution to stop using plastic bags at the grocery store. Little does he know that this simple decision will change his life completely. He comes to the conclusion that our consumptive use of plastic has finally caught up with us, and looks at what we can do about it, right now.

Santo Domingo – September 8, 2011

Opening night will take place at the FUNGLODE headquarters in Santo Domingo, on the evening of September 8, 2011, and the festivities will include a screening of the feature film “Cuba: The Accidental Eden” by writer/producer Doug Schultz, as well as a presentation celebrating the publication of the newly released Environmental Dictionary.

“CUBA: The Accidental Eden,” is a movie about Cuba and how, despite the fact that it may have been restricted politically and economically for the past 50 years, its borders, and especially its under developed islands, have remained an irresistible draw to wildlife. Should the U.S. trade embargo be lifted, however, most experts predict that Cuba’s wildlife, protected until now, could suffer devastating consequences. Tourism and the economic development associated with tourism could change the face of what was once a nearly pristine ecosystem. Alternatively, Cuba could set an example for development and conservation around the world, defining a new era of sustainability well beyond its borders.

A discussion with the film’s writer and producer, Doug Schultz, and actor David E. Guggenheim, who stars in the film, will follow the screening. Special guest, oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, also known as the “Ambassador of the Oceans”, will round off the discussion with a keynote address highlighting many of the marine-life related issues raised in the movie. Dr. Earle is Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society and to date has led over 70 expeditions, logging more than 6500 hours underwater.

The newly released Environmental Dictionary, which represents the most up-to-date and complete source of information on the country’s environment and natural resources, examines the current state of the environment in the Dominican Republic and its relationship and impact on other areas that are vital for its development. It includes an incredible 712 environmental term definitions, 58 charts, 123 graphics, over 900 photos, as well as 19 scientific articles which focus on present day environmental challenges and the conservation methods that can be used to overcome them.

The Dictionary, a result of almost seven years of intense work carried out by an international team of experts, was initially launched in electronic format in Spanish with the fundamental idea of turning it into an interactive project, to which both national and international environmentalists would be able to contribute. An English version of the book is due out later this year.

D) ACTIVITIES & WORKSHOPS

The Festival will also offer opportunities for spectators to interact with leading figures in the environmental community - producers, directors, researchers, adventurers, and explorers - through a series of 6 community activities/panels/workshops and 3 networking events designed to share best practices and support the sustainable development of the country. To that end, more than 50 national and international panelists and environment advocates will come together to appreciate and value the diversity and beauty the country has to offer and promote greater environmental stewardship.

These leading experts and film makers include:

  • Doug Shultz y David Guggenheim: Cuba: the Accidental Eden
  • Lisa Kass Boyle: Plastic Pollution Coalition
  • Suzan Beraza: Bag it!
  • George Langworthy y Maryam Henein:, Vanishing of the Bees
  • Mark Terry: Polar Explorer
  • Meg Merrill y Greg LeMieux: Play Again
  • Andrew Stevenson: Where the Whales Sing

Panel discussions will cover environmental documentary filmmaking, the importance of biodiversity, the challenges of discarded plastic, education and nature, the omnipresent issue of climate change, and the importance of scientific exploration, amongst other topics.

E) SCHOOL PROGRAM

The Festival also offers a school program in partnership with the Ministry of Education, designed to inspire Dominican youth to adopt practices that will ensure the country’s current and future environmental sustainability and health. There will be 5 morning screenings dedicated solely to this purpose. In addition, there will be community activities such as beach cleanings and the creation of community gardens.


FUNGLODE GFDD Launch the Book Dominican Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Environment and Present the Documentary "Chocolate Country" in the Upcoming Dominican Get-Together in the Big Apple
New York, 15/06/2011

On Friday, July 8th, 2011, GFDD and FUNGLODE will use the platform of their ongoing cultural program, Dominican Get-Togethers in the Big Apple to: 1) present a documentary on the Dominican Republic and, 2) launch an interesting new initiative, the Dominican Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Environment. This double event will take place in the Beatrice Theatre of the School of Visual Arts, at 333 West 23rd St., at 6:30 PM.

The internationally acclaimed documentary "Chocolate Country", by Robin Blotnik, focuses on the harsh reality facing small farmers in the Dominican Republic and the immeasurable potential that organic agriculture can offer. After the film, there will be a Q&A session with the director, as well as a presentation, the book launch, a photography exhibit and a raffle of the Dominican Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Environment.

The launch of the Dictionary will highlight sustainable agricultural practices, by providing a vision on current knowledge, attitudes and practices that promote the preservation and sustainable use of natural resources. During the subsequent reception, GFDD will offer samples of food products for tasting, such as coffee and chocolate from the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Environment provides the most complete and up-to-date information on the environment and natural resources of the Dominican Republic. It is available online in Spanish (coming soon in English) as well as in print, and it contains 712 definitions of terms in a broad range of subjects, 19 scientific articles that highlight the main environmental challenges in the Dominican Republic and the possible solutions to date, as well as 900 photographs and illustrations.

The Dominican Get-Togethers in the Big Apple are part of GFDD’s mission to promote an understanding and appreciation of the Dominican culture, values and heritage and to create opportunities for discussion on current topics that are relevant to the Dominican society, both within the country and offshore. GFDD reaches out to the community of Dominicans living in New York’s metropolitan area, and to all others interested in Dominican culture, through the ongoing promotion and organization of events.