Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, the wife of Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, visited the Millenium Festival for the screening of ‘Green’ on Monday the 16th of April. The film of Patrick Rouxel invites us to accompany Green, a female orangutan in the course of the last days of her life. A film filled with emotion that reveals the treasures of the Indonesian forest, but also uncovers the devastating impacts of deforestation. ‘Green’ was awarded with the Objectif d’Argent by the UNDP, for the most compelling development message of Millenium Festival 2011.
During the Opening ceremony on Tuesday the 17th of April, the Festival was also honoured by the presence of Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Associate Administrator effective 1 February, 2010. Ms. Grynspan is a strong and consistent advocate for human development. She has helped focus global attention on the need to reduce inequality, build social cohesion, empower women, and achieve the world’s Millennium Development Goals. Her many contributions include spearheading the design and implementation of Costa Rica‘s National Plan Against Poverty and initiating Human Development Reports for Latin America and Caribbean which broke new ground in highlighting the inter-generational transmission of inequality.
The Award ceremony took place on Sunday the 22th of April. The 2012 Millenium Documentary Film Festival’s jury, led by Italian filmmaker Stefano Savona, awarded its Golden Lens to the movie “When the Bough Breaks”, by acclaimed Chinese director Ji Dan, on Sunday night at the Flagey Studio 4 in Brussels.
The documentary follows a group of migrant children growing up next to a rubbish dumpsite in Daxing, in the southern suburbs of Beijing. As high-rise buildings begin to encroach them and threaten to swallow up their makeshift hut, the children try to come to terms with the limited choices before them and begin a struggle to fight against their fate.
The Silver Lens, awarded by the UNDP for the Best Development Message, went to the Honduras/UK film “Up In Smoke” directed by Adam Wakeling. The award was handed by UN/UNDP Director in Bruxelles, Mr. Antonio Vigilante, acknowledging the work of the director and his main character, former Cambridge researcher Mike Hands, in promoting a safer, greener alternative to the “Slash And Burn” agricultural technique employed by over 250 Million farmers around the world.
Member and Vice President of the European Parliament, Mrs. Isabelle Durant presented the Best Message of Democracy Award to the documentary “Fragments of a Revolution”, an anonymous recount of the 2009 protests in Iran. Mrs. Durant praised the courage and determination of the unknown filmmakers who managed to give the movie a feeling of urgent authenticity through a very compelling visual narrative.
Brothers Mohamed and Atia Al Daradji won the Bronze Lens, offered by the OHCHR for Best Human Rights Message for their documentary “In My Mother’s Arms”. The movie tells the story of 32 orphans and their caretaker, Husham, victims of war and sectarian violence in Iraq, in the face of a two-months eviction notice out of the two-room house in which they all live. According to the directors, the aim of the film is to raise international awareness on the problems facing Iraq’s most vulnerable, a country with little to no infrastructure to care for the thousands of orphans the conflicts produce.
After reading the jury’s decision, Mr. Jan Jařab, Regional Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, insisted on the importance of the film’s message, reminding everyone that orphan care is still an omnipresent issue in the world today.
The Millenium Documentary Film Festival will go on for another two weeks until the 5th of May with screenings, conferences, workshops and the Millenium Web-Doc Meetings (www.milleniumwebdoc.org).