United Nations Development Programme

Russian Federation


23.05.2011 International Film Festival H2O in Moscow Saves Trees

Second Environmental Film Festival "H2O" organized with the United Nations and supported by Russian Federal Forestry Agency, the Moscow City Government, UNDP and UNESCO took place on May  20-22 at Moscow's "35 mm" cinema.

The United Nations declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests. In recognition of this important global agenda the second "H20" Film Festival in Moscow was devoted to the preservation and sustainable use of forests.  Press-briefing Forests: Resource or Heritage and  a seminar Forests. Men. Fire. were conducted as part of the festival programme.


The  Deputy Head of Federal Forestry Agency Nikolai Krotov,  the Head of UNDP project support office Elena Armand,  Dmitry Zamolodchikov from the Centre of Forests Productivity and the manager of WWF Forests Programme Elena Kulikova took part in the press-briefing.  Alexander Popov,  Head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Use in the Komi Republic,  National Director of UNDP/GEF forest conservation project  came all the way from the Komi Republic -  one of Russia's most forested regions and the World Natural Heritage Site - to participate in the Festival.  Tatiana Kargina spoke about all-Russia ECA project of forest-planting engaging schoolchildren and volunteers.

Gesche  Karrenbrock, Chair of the UN Country Team in Russia, opened the "H20" Film Festival. Welcome addresses have also been delivered by the Head of Environmental Department of the Moscow City Government Anton Kulbachevskiy and the Head of Forest  exploitation and reproduction Department of the Federal Forestry Agency Alexander Mariyev.



The Seminar on forest fires raised a great stir in the Festival audience, so time slot had to be prolonged due to the overwhelming amount of questions. Vladimir Dmitriyev from Federal Forestry Agency, Alexander Popov from Komi Republic, Alexei Yaroshenko, coordinator of Greenpeace Russia Forest Programme, and George Safonov from the Centre of Environment and Natural Recourses Economy were answering questions, mostly connected to the last year's anomalous heat waves and forest fires situation in Moscow region that caused thick smoke and crtical health effects in the region.

The main Festival film program included 5 foreign full-length documentaries, IFFF shorts programme, photo exhibition of National Geographic magazine, Q&A with the representatives of EcoLoft experimental project  and a lecture on the  recent discoveries in astronomy.

The Festival was opened with Yann Arthus-Bertrand's documentary Of Forests and Men.  The great director was asked to produce the official film for the International Year of Forests by the United Nations.  Following the success of 'Home' which was seen by 400 million people, the photographer produced a short 7-minute film on forests made of aerial images from 'Home' and 'The Earth from Above' television programmes.

The film was screened during a plenary session of the Ninth Session of United Nations Forum on Forests (24 January - 4 February 2011) in New York. It is available to everyone for free, so it can be demonstrated worldwide.

The Shorts Programme was presented by International Forest Film Festival (IFFF), organized by the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat (UNFFS) and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival within the frames of The International Year of Forests.  Most of the shorts were screened for the first time at UN Head Quarters  in February 2011.

 We are very happy that H20 Film Festival got such a big audience, especially of young people", says Natalia Olofinskaya, Head of UNDP Environment Department. "It means that our society really care about whats going on with forests in the world. Its not possible to make people responsible just by introducing new laws and regulations. Arts and  culture are vary powerful ways of influencing people's behaviour".


There event was free with 1 kg of scrap paper as suggested admission.  Over 1,500 people have visited H2O Film festival and over 1 tone of used paper have been collected by Greenpeace volunteers during the event.

More information about the "H2O" Environmental Film Festival can be found at www.H2Ofilmfest.ru.

Photos by Vadim Kantor/Greenpeace, E. Surovikina

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