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Nobel Peace Prize Winner from 2007 and Landfill Harmonic Are Highlights at the Closing Ceremony of the DREFF 2016

September 19, 2016

Santo Domingo – The sixth edition of the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF)  came to an end with a flourish today after six wonderful days, 140 screenings in over 40 venues in 11 cities, making 2016 the largest and most influential Festival to date. Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and the movie, Landfill Harmonic, winner of the Green Film Network Award, the Oscar of  environmental film, were the stars of the evening, which took place at Funglode’s headquarters in Santo Domingo. The DREFF and Dominican Republic were this year’s hosts and organizers of the prestigious Green Film Network Award, held for the first time in a Latin American country.

The evening’s welcoming remarks were given by Natasha Despotovic, Director of the DREFF  and Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD), who highlighted the resounding success of this year’s Festival, noting that it reached more than 10,000 people, many of whom students of all ages, in all parts of the country. She graciously thanked the many cooperating institutions, more than 70, “without whose unconditional support, it would not have been possible to organize and undertake a festival with an impact of this magnitude.”

Ms. Despotovic introduced the Green Film Network Award given to Landfill Harmonic, a US-Paraguay co-production, directed by Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley. Rodolfo Madero, the film’s executive producer who came from Mexico City, accepted the award on their behalf. Landfill Harmonic, which opened last year’s fifth edition of the DREFF, was selected from among 14 films by an international jury representing more than 20 countries.

To hand over the award, Eleonora Isunza, co-director of Cinema Planeta of Cuernavaca, and Peter O’Brien, member of DREFF’s International Advisory Committee, took the stage. Both are members of Green Film Network’s board of directors, an organization comprised of over 30 of the most important environmental film festivals in the world, which DREFF is part as of last year.

Landfill Harmonic revolves around the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan band whose instruments are made entirely from trash collected in the open landfill surrounding the neighborhood in which they live. The DREFF had the honor of hosting the young orchestra members and their director, Favio Chávez. They received the Colibrí Award last year in recognition of their inspiring work, which has touched the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

The Threat of Climate Change
During the closing ceremony, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri – 2007 Nobel Peace Prize recipient on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – received this year’s highest recognition of the Film Festival, the Colibrí Award, for his outstanding academic and professional career. In addition to receiving the award, Dr. Pachauri, born in India, also gave the keynote speech entitled, “Sustainability and Sustainable Development: A Challenge for All.”

Among other issues, the renowned expert talked about climate change as a “threat” to sustainable development and how it has exacerbated natural and social systems by placing additional burdens on them, especially among the poor. Dr. Pachauri said we must intervene in order to achieve a world in which the patterns of consumption and production and use of all natural resources – from the air to land, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans – are sustainable.

He also talked about the work being done by the organization he directs, Protect Our Planet (POP), especially among young people.

POP is an initiative designed to address the urgent need to share information and knowledge with young people as a solution to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations. POP mobilizes young people around the world to adopt the necessary collective measures to mitigate climate change and to protect threatened ecosystems. Since his arrival here last Friday, Dr. Pachauri has been meeting with leaders from public, private and non-governmental sectors to create links and connections with the goal of soon launching the POP movement in the Dominican Republic.

As part of the acclaimed academic’s agenda, tomorrow he will attend a conference entitled “Climate Science and the AR5 Reports” at the Academy of Sciences, at 7:00 pm.

Dr. R. K. Pachauri is the founder and executive director of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and founding director of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute (YCEI). He has taught in the United States, Finland, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico and India, among other countries. From 2002 to 2015, he chaired the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), during which time the organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Dr. Pachauri has received 25 honorary doctorate degrees and prestigious recognition from the governments of India, Belgium Finland, Japan, Mexico and Italy, among others. He has published 30 books and over 300 scholarly articles. Dr. Pachauri’s connection with global youth and his concern for the future are the driving forces behind the Protect our Planet (POP) Movement, which he recently founded.

About the DREFF
Since its creation in 2011, the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival, an initiative of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and the Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (Funglode),  has been providing Dominicans with a platform of knowledge and debate on the environment and sustainable development, as well as examples of best practices to achieve them, while celebrating the unique beauty and natural heritage of the Dominican Republic. /
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