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Why we’re supporting TVE biomovies


The TVE biomovies competition – where everyone’s invited to make short videos on an environmental theme – has been running for three years, and WWF has helped sponsor a category from the start. I put together a short Q&A for some category sponsors to ask why they wanted to get involved – starting with myself…

Greg Armfield, film and photographic manager at WWF-UK

Why does your organisation support TVE’s biomovies?

It felt natural for us as we were one of the founding members of TVE back in 1984 and have always understood the crucial role visual media plays in portraying our planet and the issues it faces.

As the competition has progressed over the years, it’s been so inspiring to see so many entries from around the world. This year we’ve seen over 80 countries represented, with the age of entrants ranging from 12 to 65.

It’s fantastic to see how many people are aware of the issues facing all of us and how they would like to represent them in film. Yes, the ideas sent in have sometimes been leftfield to say the least (!) but sometimes, to make change, you have to think outside of the box. If it doesn’t work then fine, back to the drawing board – but if it does, people will sit up, take notice and hopefully take positive action.

And who knows, one day that particular director may be making films for WWF!

Fresh water flowingFresh water – the actual lifeblood of every thing on the planet. © Staffan Widstrand / WWF

What’s your film category, and why did you choose it?

Our category is ‘Fresh Water in Focus’. As we all know, fresh water is the lifeblood of our planet – not just for drinking and growing our food, but in producing energy and even the clothes we wear. A good category choice, I’d say!

And a popular one too. We received over 150 entries this year, up from around 50 last year. It’s inspiring to think that people from around the world are taking time to sit down, get creative, draw up scripts, and enter their film ideas.

What stood out about your two winning scripts, and how do you think/hope they’ll work as films?

What’s not to like about a film with the title ‘The Frog Father’?! This film immediately stood out as having not only a great title but also great relevance to the YouTube generation. It’s fun, it’s personal and it has the potential to highlight how all of us can do our bit to help nature – and create our own biodiversity hotspots!

Our second film is called ‘Wash’ and, once again, it has all the ingredients (including sludge, toxic waste, garbage and oil) to make a great little film that will sit perfectly on YouTube. It was obvious from reading through the script that a great deal of time and attention had been spent on creating this idea and I’m really hopeful they will be able to pull it off. You never know for sure, and that’s what makes this competition so inspiring and so unpredictable.

So, both films have the potential to make you laugh, make you sit up and most importantly make a difference.

Claire Ricklefs, communications adviser at EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction & Development)

Why does your organisation support TVE’s biomovies?

The competition is ideal for raising awareness about the environmental issues facing us all in a way which hopefully captures the imagination of young people – the internet generation who don’t get their information from press releases, newspapers or television news.

Last year the films in our category got 100,000 views on YouTube, which is a phenomenal success. Many of those people went on to view links that tell them more about some of the EBRD’s project. So it’s also a great way for us to reach out to a younger audience whom we would not normally expect to follow our activities.

Women can be more adversely affected by climate change – which is why the EBRD is sponsoring their category. © Simon de Trey-White / WWF-UK

What’s your film category, and why did you choose it?

Our category this year is ‘Women and Climate Change’ – we wanted to highlight that women are disproportionately affected by climate change in many of the countries where we invest, including the southern and eastern Mediterranean, central Asia and eastern Europe.

Women are very often responsible for making sure the family is cared for – and the extra time they spend seeking water or food is time they’re not spending in school, in job training, in paid work, or even enjoying leisure activities. Women may even miss meals for the sake of their children, and suffer more climate-related health problems than men.

But women can also be part of the solution to climate change, and that’s one of the themes we’re looking for in the proposed films.

What stood out about your two winning scripts, and how do you think/hope they’ll work as films?

What we like about the ‘Climate Heroine’ script is that it’s all about the empowerment of women. It’s a collective call for action, for all women to come together and work together for change in the global approach to climate change.

The other script is a literal ‘Masterpiece’, which creatively plays with the concept of ‘mother nature’ and the influence of different generations of women on their environment.

Two very different proposals and we look forward to seeing them realised in moving pictures!

Jens Ambsdorf, Lighthouse Foundation

Why does your organisation support TVE’s biomovies?

We support the TVE contest because we see that although many people have a positive emotional relation to the sea, and many are aware that the marine environment is under big threat caused by human activities, not many see that they can do something about it.

Lighthouse and lightningThe Lighthouse Foundation want sustainable development and protection for the oceans. © Frank Parhizgar / WWF-Canada

What’s your film category, and why did you choose it?

We chose the ‘Oceans’ category, because obviously the Lighthouse Foundation is the Foundation for the Seas and Oceans and our concern is sustainable development in relation to our ocean environment.

What stood out about your two winning scripts, and how do you hope they’ll work as films?

This competition is a new and creative first step for engagement. And the winning scripts are exactly that, fresh and creative. So we simply want to see them because we believe they have the potential to reach out to many other people.

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