Oct 4 2018

Sara Pereira de Oliveira /  Scott Rappaport


Sara Pereira de Oliveira

October 13th to 15th, Seia, Serra da Estrela, Portugal

With the participation of 36 festival directors from across the globe  

CineEco organises the 1st World Meeting of Environmental Film Festivals

The 24th edition of CineEco – the International Environmental Film Festival of Serra da Estrela, Portugal, starts next October 13th and will go on until the 20th of the month. One of its highlights will be the very first International Forum of Environmental Film Festivals. From October 13th to 15th, CISE – the Serra da Estrela Interpretation Center shall be the meeting place and epicenter of all discussions regarding the importance of film and festivals on environmental issues to the appreciation of the topic, as public-attracting cultural offerings and sustainable tourism events.

It is highly likely that something special will happen, since it was not easy to gather in the same place members of institutions such as the United Nations, World Bank, Unesco, National Geographic, and even an indigenous leader to discuss Environmental Cinema. This year, CineEco has exceeded all expectations.

The 1st International Forum of Environmental Film Festivals features a world class and eclectic panel of speakers for the defense and promotion of the environment. Among these speakers are Catherine Beltrandi, from the United Nations Environment Program; Ailton Krenak, Brazilian Indigenous Leader, Environmentalist and Author; Giulia Camilla Braga, Communications Officer & Program Manager of the World Bank; Helena Freitas, UNESCO Chair Holder in Biodiversity Safeguard for Sustainable Development; and Ashley Hoppin, National Geographic Executive Producer.

Additionally to these distinguished guests, the Forum will count on the participation of 36 directors of environmental festivals from across the world, members of the Green Film Network (GFN). «In total, more than 40 personalities will be representing 30 countries: Malaysia, Serbia, Turkey, Mexico, Italy, Germany(3), India, USA (3), France (3), Kosovo, Dominican Republic, Russia, Spain (2), Albania, Brazil (3), Switzerland, Colombia, Argentina, Montenegro, Japan, Iran, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Canada, Croatia, South Korea and Portugal», urges the director of CineEco, Mário Branquinho. «During these days, the festival directors and speakers will be focusing the debate on what can cinema contribute to environmental matters, at a time of great concern for global warming and climate change. Simultaneously, we will be raising common questions among such festivals, strengthening ties and fostering reflection about the preponderance and sustainability of the audiovisual platforms that stimulate social change», he adds.

The opening ceremony of the 1st International Forum of Environmental Film Festivals will be held on Saturday, October 13th, at 09:30 am, overseen by the President of the Republic of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of Seia City Hall, Carlos Filipe Camelo, the President of the Central Portugal Tourism Board, Pedro Machado, the President of GFN, Gaetano Capizzi, and last but not least, the Director of CineEco, Mário Branquinho. On the following day, October 14th, between 10:00 am and 05:30 pm, the GFN General Assembly will take place. The Forum will close on Monday, October 15th, with most of the participants taking a tour around the Serra da Estrela region.

The programme can be seen here www.cineeco.pt.

Between October 13th and 20th, more than 80 films will be screened in both auditoriums of the Seia House of Culture, on a lineup that comprises workshops, concerts and talks about environment and planet-driven topics.

On par with the competitive sessions, Seia CineEco shall include two screenings for childrens; a talk facilitated by Fernanda Botelho on the journey of plants and their traditional uses in Portugal and several Portuguese speaking countries; a blindfolded concert, orchestrated by Luís Antero; workshops and exhibitions.


CineEco 2018 is organised by the Municipality of Seia and will hold this year its 24th edition. One of the oldest Environmental Film Festivals in the world, it is a founding and directing member of the Green Film Network, a platform which comprehends 40 different international environmental film festivals.


19 UCSC film students collaborate on documentary about Santa Cruz housing crisis

By Scott Rappaport

Feature-length film to screen at 2018 Santa Cruz (California) Film Festival

At Capacity—a collectively-made documentary feature film by 19 students in a UC Santa Cruz film class—will screen twice at the 2018 Santa Cruz Film Festival, which takes place downtown October 3-7.

It was created in UCSC film and digital media professor Irene Lusztig’s winter quarter Documentary Production course, where the students spent three months working together on a 73-minute film about the housing crisis in Santa Cruz.

The result is a timely look at the many complex issues affecting local housing. The film documents activities ranging from the local rent freeze campaign (from signature gathering to the city council vote), to high-end real estate tours, to housing lawyers on the job. It also covers topics such as Santa Cruz’s growing homeless tent encampment, new construction, and tiny home dwellers.

“My students are really excited about getting to show at the festival,” said Lusztig. “It’s their first time at a film festival for most of them, and it’s such an important issue right now.”

“I have done this kind of group project a number of times before, but I think this time, in particular, all of the students felt like stakeholders and were really invested in the topic, because housing in this area affects every single one of them,” she added. “Most of them personally knew friends who live in cars, tents, garages, pool sheds, or on couches.”

The film notes that Santa Cruz County is currently the fourth least affordable housing market in the world, with home values rising 8.6% in the past year and on track to reach an average price of $892,000 by January of 2019.

“It was difficult to find subjects who were willing and able to talk about their housing situations, since a lot of people are living in spaces that they’re not necessarily supposed to be in,” observed senior film and digital major Tessa Jagger-Wells. “We had to work very hard to make sure people felt like we were on their side, and that we would protect their identity.”

“It’s also just a very sensitive topic in general, and most people feel strongly about different issues. It was a challenge to represent different perspectives and create a relatively unbiased film, but we certainly tried to talk to different kinds of people and tell the most complete story possible.”

“I learned a lot about Santa Cruz itself,” she added. “It’s an incredible city with a complex history that has led us to where we are today. A lot of the complications that have resulted in the housing crisis come from the fact that Santa Cruz has so much to offer. Some people try to take advantage of that, but I think a lot of people really appreciate it and are trying to protect it.”

Lusztig noted that the class offered students a rare opportunity to work together on a large project. Every aspect of the film was produced collectively, from research to shooting to editing. In the process, the students not only learned a great deal about filmmaking, but also about how to collaborate and negotiate with others, as well as how to be accountable for their own work in a group.

“The most important thing I’ve learned from this experience would have to be building a strong relationship with the group I’m filming with,” said senior film and digital media student Kelly Leonardson. “Some of us handled the cameras better, others knew how to talk and plan out shoots better. We were able to help each other learn more about filmmaking along the way. I’m pretty sure I’ve made lifelong friends from taking this class.”

“Overall, I still can’t believe we were able to make a feature film in 10 weeks,” she added. “This class has definitely given me hope for the future.”

Jagger-Wells added that she was surprised by how easy it was to collaborate with her classmates.

“A lot of it was due to the flawless guidance of our professor. Irene was able to provide us with the tools we needed to create the film, while keeping enough distance to let us make our own creation. We also had a really great group of people, with a great work ethic and a variety of skills. I learned a lot about working in a group, especially a large group. It can be difficult when everyone has a different vision for the final product, but we were able to create a cohesive film that represented the work we all put in.”

The film was directed by UC Santa Cruz students Jazmine Corona; Joshua Cosbey; Andrea Diaz; Bianca Galeana; Jiaxun Gao; Carlos Gonzalez; Alexis Guzman; Michelle Hua; Tess Jagger-Wells; Noel Kabe; Enrique Labrada; Kelly Leonardson; Kathy Liang; Juliette Perrault; Bojun Qiu; Collette Quach; Tatianna Stapleton; James Tanjuatco; and Hui Zhang.

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