United Nations Development Programme

Russian Federation


31.05.2010 First Environmental Film Festival supported by UN agencies in Moscow

The Environmental Film Festival H2O, organized by 35mm Cinema in Moscow and supported by UNDP, UNESCO, UN Information Centre and the Resident Coordinators Office in Russia, took place on 27th-30th May, between the UN International Biodiversity Day and the International Environment Day.

The programme of the festival included six international award-winning documentaries on themes related to key environmental issues, and a programme of short films on climate Reel Change screened in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Arts and Film Festival. The H2O film festival also included discussions with experts on climate change and biodiversity, and side-events such as a Russian award winning photo exhibition on wildlife, a fair of environment-friendly ideas and activities and a presentation of movements supporting organic products in the country and abroad.

The festival was opened on the 27th May by Frode Mauring, United Nations Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative, and the organizers of the festival, with a Russian premiere of the documentary film Climate of Change, presented by the film director Brian Hill.

Key side events at the festival included the launch of the joint UNDP and Coca-Cola Company project Every Drop Matters Lake Baikal on Friday 28th May, followed by a master-class on wildlife documentary filming with screenings of video clips on Baikal. The training, conducted by a prominent Russian documentary film-maker, Evgenia Golovnya, was attended by more than 40 students from faculties of cinema and journalism.

Another seminar focused on climate change, attracting about 100 people who were interested in this burning topic. Alexander Averchenkov, UNDP Adviser on Energy Efficiency and Climate Change opened the panel discussion, highlighting the importance of this issue for the current and the next generation. Igor Podgorny from Greenpeace Russia explained the principles of this global process and what we need to do to overcome this environmental problem. Yuriy Safonov from the Higher School of Economics described the mechanisms of the Kyoto protocol, while Dinara Gershinkova from the President Advisory Office informed the participants about climate change mitigation and the current situation in Russia.

The ecological fair attracted many people during the weekend. Many of them came with their children, to find out about a wide range of environment-friendly initiatives in Moscow, from protecting parks and stray animals in the city to DIY crafts workshops.

The screening of the Austrian film Our Daily Bread on Sunday 30th was followed by the presentation of the Slow Food movement in Russia, where the public learnt about the ecological advantages of locally produced food products, and tested their ability to sense the natural taste of food.

The H2O film festival received very positive response from the Russian public and the media, which could be traced back in various influential magazines (such as Variety) and popular web-based social networks. The feedback demonstrated the Russian audiences concern with the environment, with many highlighting the importance of this festival for Russia.

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