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2nd Annual Festival: Palmerston North, 14 - 17 Sep

2nd Annual Aotearoa Environmental Film Festival screens Palmerston North, 14 – 17 September

Looking for films on today’s stories that matter? Tired of the same old Hollywood plots? Then get your fix at the 2006 Aotearoa Environmental Film Festival - Te Mauri o Papatuánuku. With 20 New Zealand premiers and over 30 films, the AEFF is running at the Globe Theatre in Palmerston North September 14 - 17. The ultimate in reality cinema, the Festival features an eclectic mix of documentaries, animations, and mini-dramas; all focusing on life on earth. The Globe Theatre, with its comfortable seating, massive screen, and beautiful foyer makes the perfect venue for the Festival. “Plus with a name like ‘The Globe’, our Festival just had to be there” says volunteer Abigail Allan.

Organisers of the Festival, an all-volunteer group called Southern Solutions, previewed over fifty films for the Festival. The longest selected is just over an hour, the shortest finishes in just 4 minutes. Subjects range from natural history of NZ wildlife to consumer power in a global economy, and the chilling international legacy of antipersonnel land mines.

“Previewing and selecting among fifty excellent NZ and international films was a challenge for the team, but we’ve been able to bring forward the best of the best for a New Zealand audience” says Allan.

Following the sell-out success of the inaugural AEFF in July 05, this year’s Festival is shaping up to be another expo of quality films telling excellent stories. Screenings will be over four days starting Thursday 14 September, including three evening sessions plus a Sunday matinee. Each session is unique and will screen new films from both New Zealand and international directors.

“We’ve seen tremendous support from Palmerston North residents in 2005, challenging us to create an even better Festival for 06. We believe we’ve done that; more films, more sessions, and some producers on-site” says Allan. “Community support is the key to growing the Festival, and keeping it in Palmerston North.”

“We’ve received financial support from Palmerston North City Environmental Trust, Eastern and Central Community Trust, Manawatu Branch of Forest & Bird, and the KnoWaste campaign headed by Alan Fielding at PNCC. This support base has allowed us to keep the ticket price low and value high; with concession rates to ensure access to the entire community is affordable” says volunteer Jason Blair.

The Festival opens on Thursday 14 September. Session 1 includes 9 films, with a total running time of approximately three hours, with an interval after the first 90 minutes. The Festival opener, ‘French Fries to Go’takes a fresh look at one man’s high-energy approach to biofuels in the Rocky Mountains, USA. The first session also includes films on urban land rights, conservation in East Timor, the Tui’s melodic role in myth and nature, cycling, climate change, and water access. Two Session 1 films are by New Zealand producers.

Session 2 on Friday features four New Zealand and five international films. “The highlight is ‘The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil’ (Faith Morgan/53 min/USA/2006). This film looks inside Cuba’s post-Soviet transition from large-scale industrial agriculture to small organic farms and urban gardens, and shows how their communities became stronger in the process” says Blair.

Session 2 has films looking at two hot topics in NZ; biosecurity and genetic modification. ‘Under Their Skin’ is creative and takes a look at all sides of the pests and poison issue. “It has just won at a top environmental film festival overseas, we’re lucky to have the chance to screen it” says Allan. Session 2 also takes a humorous look at road rage, a quick look at urban farmers, the Save Happy Valley Campaign on the West Coast, and a recent feature on sustainable economic development in the South Pacific.

“As was the case in ‘05, Saturday night is the highlight of the entire Festival, not just because it has a catered interval” says Blair, “but also that some films will be introduced by their producers. “This year we’re screening the world-class documentary ‘Disarm’, an intelligent and critical investigation of the use of antipersonnel landmines, and their impact throughout the world. Filmed in 12 countries on 4 continents, Disarm is a must see feature, co-directed by New Zealander Mary Wereham. The film was just released in 2005, we’re extremely lucky to have the chance to get it on the big screen here in the Manawatu.”

“Saturday night really is a great line-up” says volunteer Julie Dalziel. “Two new features from Dunedin based producers are sure hits, ‘Mad Mac and the Flat Ugly Snail’ an entertaining revision on the paua industry, and ‘Long Fin’ exploring the amazing life-history of NZ long-finned eels. “The cinematography in Longfin is outstanding” says Dalziel.

The Saturday night session also features ‘Wind Over Water’, a look at the swirling controversy around wind farms in significant landscapes. “Globally, industrial scale wind farms are seen as a blessing by some and a curse by others, both sides claiming protection of the environment as their goal. This film takes us to the middle of one of America’s wealthiest communities to watch the drama unfold” says Allan.

Session 4 rounds out the 06 Festival with a Sunday matinee featuring 7 films. “This session is the most focused of the Festival, with a lot of content looking at the power of consumers in a global economy” says Allan. “It also has an eclectic feel, a funky marine conservation expedition in the Pacific, and a look at the impact of modern imperial aspirations on culture and environment in the Himalayas. The Himalayan film, ‘Paving Shangri-La’ is one of the most beautiful mountain films in the festival” says Blair. “The NZ focus in Session 4 is a look at the use of the NZ falcon in the vineyards of Marlborough.”

The Aotearoa Environmental Film Festival - Te Mauri o Papatuánuku is screening at the Globe Theatre, September 14-17. All Festival details are listed on the website Ticket prices: $10/$15 with multi-session concessions. Tickets are available from all Ticketdirect outlets (including the Regent on Broadway and Arena Manawatu in Pascal St.), at or by ringing 0800 484 253.


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