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Report: France

Amazon gold and Green concerns at Paris film festival

The Fife poster
The Fife poster

Berlin steals the film-festival show at this time of year. But Parisians can learn about how an illegal gold rush is devastating the Amazon rainforest in just one of the films at a long-running environmental cinema festival.

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The International Environment Film Festival (Fife) is in its 31st year and features animation, documentary, fiction, also web documentaries - which you can watch online during the festival - this year, meetings with directors, debates on environmental topics, kicked off with a prize-giving ceremony at the start of the week.

Also this week, FFAST Alternative South Asian Film Festival with films old and new from India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In its second year, the festival which is organised by a group of true amateurs, is a selection of the growing range of art-house and lesser-known movies.

Showing at the Reflet Médicis and Arlequin cinemas.

Fife is part of the Green Film Network and GFN's first Bumble Bee Award went to Amazon Gold, a 53-minute documentary directed by US director Ruben Aaronson, about the devastating effects of illegal gold mining in the

Cannes 2013

Amazon forests of Latin America.

Amazon Gold's producer Sarah Dupont struggled to hold back the tears when she and Aaronson collected the prize from Michèle Sabban, the vice-president of the Ile de France regional council, the local government body which sponsors the event.

A very young jury will decided on which film wins another new prize for films which raise environmental awareness among little ones.

It pays off when you start teaching people early to have a responsible attitude to nature, resources and pollution, organisers argue.

“I’m confident because the younger generation began learning when they were small about the dangers facing the planet and I have the hope that they will contribute to finding solutions and applying solutions,” Sabban tyold RFI.

So no surprise that a 90-minute animation film, Tante Hilda (Aunt Hilda), was the opening film.

Made by Folimage, a French film production company which had a tremendous success with Raining Cats and Frogs in 2003, Tante Hilda is also in competition at the 64th Berlin film festival in Germany.

Aunt Hilda is a botanist heroine on a bicycle, in love with a Russian scientist.

Together they save the world from genetically-modified disaster, even if she can’t prevent big business from cleverly making a buck from the damage caused.

Aunt Hilda took seven years to make because all the images are hand-drawn and the decors hand-painted in water colours and, of course, there are thousands of them.

It would have taken even longer if those drawings hadn’t gone through the digital production mill.

While there are 110 films from 34 countries, Fife also chose, for the second year running a special section of films from the Mediterranean. Egypt, Spain and Tunisia.

And, hard to believe but true, the films are free for all. Its accessibility is another reason why this festival stands out among film festivals.

The International Environment Film Festival, 4-11 February 2014, in and around Paris ... accessible by public transport, bicycle, and... on the web!

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