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Inspiring to Protect and Conserve the Country’s Natural Resources in Punta Cana

September 15, 2016

Punta Cana – The Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF), in collaboration with Grupo Puntacana and the Fundación Grupo Puntacana, held a screening of Death by a Thousand Cuts in Puntacana Village on September 14th. In a unique setting, under the starry sky of Punta Cana and a warm sea breeze, more than 150 people applauded Jake Kheel and Juan Mejia Botero’s film. Afterwards, the audience actively participated in an interesting debate on the issue of deforestation and trafficking of coal along the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Francesca Rainieri, administrative vice president in charge of finances for the Grupo Puntacana, gave the welcoming remarks. Afterwards, Jake Kheel, film co-director and producer as well as vice president of the Fundación Grupo Punta Cana, gave a short presentation followed by Maria Victoria Abreu, DREFF director of programing.

“This work is not only a great effort by Jake, it is a powerful weapon that now we all possess in order to continue protecting our country and preserving its natural resources, our heritage,” said Ms. Rainieri in her introduction. Mr. Kheel thanked the DREFF for the opportunity to present the documentary in five different places around the country during the sixth edition of the film festival, which took place from September 13-18.

David Searby, founder of BeachCorps, was among the audience that enjoyed the evening.

About the film
In Death by A Thousand Cuts, Eligio Eloy Vargas, alias Melaneo, a Dominican Park Ranger in the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park is found brutally murdered by machete. Melaneo was believed to have been on patrol investigating illegal charcoal production by Haitians working within the protected Dominican forests. This murder becomes the metaphor for the larger story of increasing tension between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over illicit charcoal exploitation and large-scale deforestation. As in so many global struggles for natural resources, the fight for survival leads to scapegoating, xenophobia and clashes between communities.

About the DREFF
Since its creation in 2011, the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival 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. With a wide selection of documentaries and numerous panel discussions, workshops, seminars and community activities, the DREFF seeks to promote dialogue and the exchange of knowledge and experience with the goal of encouraging Dominicans to take measures that will contribute to the appreciation, conservation and sustainable use of the country’s unique natural resources. /
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