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    Cinema as Inspiration: DREFF Motivates Young People to Create a Softball Team Promoting Shark Protection
    Fernando Villalona to Reflect on His Life, Music at New York Dominican Get Together

    Cinema as Inspiration: DREFF Motivates Young People to Create a Softball Team Promoting Shark Protection
    Santo Domingo, November 18 2015

    Inspired by the films screened during the 4th and 5th Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF), a group of young people have decided to raise awareness on the importance of sharks for preserving biodiversity through a new softball team: the Las Galeras Sharks.

    This team has taken the messages of films screened at the Las Galeras Villa Serena Hotel – among them Extinction Soup (DREFF 2014) and Shark Girl (DREFF 2015) – very seriously, and aim to support shark protection through their sport. “Shark hunting is an activity that’s still being practiced, especially due to the search for their fins – much sought after above all to prepare the famous ‘shark soup’ – and it’s taking these populations to the edge of extinction,” explained team manager Ricardo Jiménez.

    Team member Fernando Vásquez de León, for his part, says, “It’s a fact that sharks need much greater protection, because if we lose them, as key predators in the food chain, the consequences could be terrible. Other forms of aquatic life will suffer the knock-on effects of their extinction. Everyone can help protect sharks!”

    According to the members of this particular team, lots of people, due to lack of awareness, are afraid of sharks and have the idea that the oceans would be safer without them. “And although the evidence shows the opposite, there are still a lot of people who believe that sharks are human killing machines and they certainly don’t want to share the water, swim, or boat near them.”

    These youths affirm that sharks are losing the battle for their survival, as each year humans kill more than 100 million of them. Although lots of sharks are trapped by fishing, others die due to human ignorance and fear.

    “Sharks have existed for around 400 million years. They are intelligent (they can even be trained), and to lose them within the lifespan of a single generation of humans just because of our irrational fear and greed is undoubtedly something we cannot be proud of,” noted team captain Ricardo Jiménez.

    A worrying case, according to the players, is that of the hammerhead shark, recognized worldwide for its distinctive head, and which was added to the official list of endangered species and could disappear very soon if appropriate measures are not taken. “Our softball team is supporting this cause.”

    About DREFF
    Since its creation in 2011, the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival, an initiative of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and the Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (Funglode), has offered Dominicans a platform to learn and debate about sustainable development and environmental issues, as well as related challenges and best practices, while celebrating the incomparable beauty and wealth of the Dominican Republic’s natural heritage.

    By screening a broad array of films and holding numerous panels, workshops, seminars, and community activities, DREFF promotes dialogue and exchange of knowledge and experiences, thereby inspiring Dominicans to adopt practices that contribute to appreciating, conserving, and sustainably using their environmental resources.

    In the latest edition of DREFF, held between September 8 and 13, some 120 screenings of a total of 37 films were shown in 11 cities and 30 different venues around the country. One of these venues was the Villa Serena Hotel in Las Galeras, Samaná.

    For more information:
    www.globalfoundationdd.org www.dreff.org villaserena.com

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