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    Opening Night of the DREFF 2015 Starts a Great Week of Films and Environmental Education in 11 Cities across the Country
    Fernando Villalona to Reflect on His Life, Music at New York Dominican Get Together

    Opening Night of the DREFF 2015 Starts a Great Week of Films and Environmental Education in 11 Cities across the Country
    Santo Domingo, September 9 2015

    The 5th Dominican Environmental Film Festival, which will be held from September 8th to 11th in 11 cities in the country, was inaugurated in Santo Domingo yesterday with the film Landfill Harmonic and the special presence of its protagonists: the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura from Paraguay, who are the guests of honor at this year’s festival. In a room full of people at the Palacio del Cine at Ágora Mall, international and national guests, environmental experts, representatives of governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations, and spectators of all ages were present for a night filled with good movies, surprises. and lots of emotion.

    The evening started with cocktails and the music of the experimental percussion group Sonidos de Capotillo, who warmed up the atmosphere with their excellent interpretation of well-known songs. Afterwards was a program attended by many people, including the Embassador or Paraguay, Pedro Sánchez Leguizamón; bussinesman José Manuel González Cuadra; Ruth Urry, cultural assistant at the United States embassy; Víctor Gómez Valenzuela, PhD in Science, Technology and Sustainable Human Development at INTEC: and Alberto Sánchez, national coordinator for the Small Subsidies Program of the PNUD.

    Natasha Despotovic, the executive director of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and the director of the festival, gave the welcoming speech and explained that this year, the DREFF (its English acronym) will bring more than 35 national and international films to the country, with current themes ranging from recycling and green activism, to food waste and the extinction of different animals. A total of 11 cities in the country and more than 30 screening rooms will be the site of projections and free activities open to the public.

    Special Thanks to Partners and Collaborators
    In addition to an excellent team of volunteers, without whom it would not be possible to organize the huge amount of logistics required by every festival each year, the festival is possible thanks to the immense support of business partners, collaborators, sponsors, and friends of the DREFF. “Thanks to the invaluable participation of around 70 private institutions, both public and non-governmental, for the past 5 years during the month of September, more than 7,000 spectators have been able to attend a festival with more than 80 screenings of free films,” Natasha Despotovic stated.

    The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura and its conductor, Favio Chávez, who recently arrived from a concert in Portugal, got up on stage to receive the Festival’s Hummingbird Prize, as recognition for being a “source of inspiration in the promotion of environmental consciousness.”

    On stage, Chávez explained that the orchestra is a musical group formed of youth and children who live in the area around the Cateura dump, the main and largest dump in Asunción, the capital of Paraguay, as well as other young people from nearby communities, who are interested in the experience of being a part of the Orchestra.

    The group’s distinctive feature is their interpretation of musical works with recycled instruments, made from solid household wastes, in the luthier workshop owned by the group in Cateura. The recyclers, advised by Favio Chávez, an environmental technician who has been working in the area since the year 2006, have started to use the remains of “garbage” to build instruments that make musical sounds.

    Among their repertoire is classical music, folkloric music, Paraguayan music, Latin American music, and music by the Beatles and Frank Sinatra, among others.

    To the public’s delight, the orchestra played various pieces from their repertoire to close the night.

    Along with the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura from Paraguay, the festival has three other guests of honor this year: the writer, filmmaker and National Geographic explorer Jon Bowermaster (who had to cancel his trip to the country at the last minute for family reasons), and the daughter and wife of the late Robert Hunter, first president of Greenpeace: Emily and Bobbi Hunter, who will also receive a Hummingbird Award next Sunday, during the closing ceremony at Funglode.

    A Very Special Premiere
    The opening night also welcomed a very special premiere: the short film Valor Vital, (The Value of Life) the most recent production of the GFDD/Funglode. The short film was produced by a team from GFDD under the direction of Natasha Despotovic and discusses natural capital and sustainable development in the Dominican Republic. What we saw on the screen last night represents a preliminary version of a feature-length film being developed by GFDD/Funglode, which will premiere during the sixth annual Dominican Environmental Film Festival next year.

    About the Festival
    Since its creation in 2011, the Dominican Environmental Film Festival – an initiative of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Funglode (Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo) – provides the Dominican public with a platform for knowledge and discussion on the environment and sustainable development, its challenges and best practices, as well as a way to celebrate the beauty and unique diversity of the Dominican natural environment.

    With a variety of films to choose from and many panels, workshops, seminars and community activities, the DREFF promotes dialogue and the exchange of knowledge and experience, inspiring the Dominican public to act in a way that contributes to the appreciation, conservation and sustainable use of environmental resources.

    To see the trailers for the films, click here.

    To see the complete program, click here

    DREFF app:
    Apple (iTunes): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dreff/id1029535649?mt=8
    Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.sched.dominicanrepublicenvironmen2015

    www.dreff.org / info@dreff.org

    Twitter @MuestraCine /

    Facebook MuestraCineMedioambiental


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