Chilean film festival highlights environmental issues

Tackling issues such as climate change, deforestation and desertification, FICAMS 2011 promises to be thought-provoking as well as entertaining.

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Located in Chile’s deep south, Punta Arenas is best known for its freezing winds and its proximity to penguins and the Patagonian wilderness.

But this week the city has been transformed into a cultural hotspot with the launch of the first-ever Antarctic International Film Festival on Sustainability and the Environment  (FICAMS).

Running from Tuesday, November 22, to Saturday, November 26, the festival will screen nine films from Chile, Peru, Iran, North America and Europe, which tackle a broad range of ecological issues from the wilds of Antarctica to the deserts of Africa.

It will also contain a series of talks and panel discussions on topics such as renewable energy and climate change.

Organized by the Magellan Audiovisual Group, the festival will take place daily from 4 pm to midnight at the Pavilion Cinema located inside the Mall Espacio Urbano Pionero.

And best of all, admission to all events is free. Here is our list of suggestions from the films on offer.

How To Boil A Frog
6pm, Wednesday, November 23
(English language with Spanish subtitles)

Created by Canadian activist Jon Cooksey, this comedic documentary in the style of Michael Moore explores the environmental challenges confronting our planet. Cooksey manages to combines grim facts and expert analysis with humor as he unravels the problem of overshoot – or as he puts it, “…too many people using too little planet”. He finishes off by sharing a list of practical, personal solutions to contribute to the planet’s well-being.

I Bought A Rainforest
11pm, Thursday, November 24
(Swedish with Spanish subtitles)

Growing up in the 1980s, Swedish student Jacob Andrén was involved in several fundraising initiatives to save the rainforests. As he grew up, Andrén began to wonder about what became of all the trees that he and his classmates helped to “buy.” So he set out for Costa Rica with a camera to trace down the rainforest they helped preserve, filming a moving and inspirational documentary as he went.

Ice People
10:40pm, Friday, November 25
(English with Spanish subtitles)

This adventure documentary produced by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Anne Aghion takes viewers where few cameras have been – beyond the penguins and ice floes to an enchanting Antarctic landscape filled with volcanoes, boulders and glaciers. Aghion accompanies a team of scientists and researchers to demonstrate what it’s like to live and work in this harsh environment. And in the process, she happens to witness an important discovery about climate change lying hidden beneath the ice.

The Man Who Stopped The Desert
6.50pm, Saturday, November 26
(English with Spanish subtitles)

This U.S.-produced documentary follows Yacouba Sawadogo, an illiterate farmer from the Sahel Desert region of Burkina Faso, West Africa. After his village was hit by drought and famine in the 1970s and ’80s, Sawadogo set out on a mission to improve soil quality and ensure his people’s future.