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Chasing Coral Elicits Reflections in Santo Domingo and Punta Cana

December 8, 2017

Santo Domingo, R.D. – The Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF) and Fundación Grupo Puntacana presented the documentary Chasing Coral to the Dominican Republic alongside the film’s editor and 5-time Emmy Award winner, Dave Wruck.

On December 6th and 7th, two free film screenings were held for the acclaimed documentary Chasing Coral, directed by famed director and recent winner of the United Nations’ Champions of the Earth award, Jeff Orlowski. The film highlights the changes that are occurring in the world’s oceans and corals due to the effects of global warming, and has been shortlisted for the 90th Academy Awards consideration in the Documentary Feature award category.

The screenings, which were brought to the Dominican Republic and coordinated jointly by DREFF and Fundación Grupo Puntacana in order to bring about environmental awareness and sustainability best practices throughout the country, were held at Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) and Puntacana Village. Both screenings were met with a full house of distinguished guests and interested parties. DREFF is an initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and its sister institution in the Dominican Republic, Funglode.

Following the screenings, the Dominican audiences had an opportunity to share their experiences with film editor and 5-time Emmy Award winner Dave Wruck in addition to experts in the areas of marine biology and sustainable development such as Jake Kheel, Vice President of Fundación Grupo Puntacana, Rubén Torres, Director of Reef Check RD, and María Victoria Abreu, DREFF’s programming director.

“I thank DREFF and Fundación Grupo Puntacana for their invitation to the Dominican Republic and the opportunity to continue spreading the message of the importance of knowing what’s happening to coral reefs around the world. This island is also already suffering the impacts of climate change, and joining forces with initiatives like the ones here today proves that there are people and organizations ready to unite to confront them,” expressed Wruck.

“Since seeing this documentary, we realized the importance of putting on screenings in the Dominican Republic to bring awareness about the grave threat to our oceans and coastal zones presented by climate change,” stated Jake Kheel, Vice President of Fundación Grupo Puntacana. “It is an honor to have Dave Wruck here with us today to tell us about his personal experiences in making this film.”

For her part, Abreu stated: “Chasing Coral is a powerful documentary that brings us to reflect on the effects of global warming on the world’s oceans and our own lives. It is important for DREFF to continue promoting environmental awareness in the Dominican Republic with tools like this film.”

The screening at UNIBE counted on the presence of authorities from the university such as Dr. Loraine Amell, Dean of International Affairs, professor Milagros Rodríguez, professor Sardys Medrano, and esteemed Dominican marine biologist Dr. Idelisa Bonelly. Bonelly expressed her happiness in being able to participate in the screening of what she considered to be an extraordinary documentary of utmost importance to bring about environmental awareness in the Dominican Republic. In addition to the educators, a group of students from the American School of Santo Domingo in attendance participated very actively in the post-screening discussion.

Meanwhile, in Punta Cana, members of the resident community and representatives from Grupo Puntacana such as Franchesca Rainieri participated in the screening. In celebration of Wruck’s attendance, Fundación Propagas hosted him during a lunch in Pat’e Palo, located in Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial. Representatives from DREFF, Fundación Grupo Puntacana, Reef Check RD, and The Nature Conservancy were also in attendance. Not to be outdone, Fundación Grupo Puntacana offered Wruck a lunch in Playa Blanca restaurant and a guided visit around sustainable development-focused initiatives, including a coral restoration project, that are taking place across Punta Cana.

The activities were held alongside local partners such as Reef Check RD, The Nature Conservancy, Nicolás de Ovando Hotel, and Best Day, among others.

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