Ecolnoa: Call-Out for Israel's Second Environmental Film Fete

Israel is getting an annual environmental film festival of its own. Now officially in its second year, Ecolnoa (a play on words of eco and theatre in Hebrew) is planned for 21-23 May 2007. Called the Tel-Aviv International Environmental film festival, organizers are inviting filmmakers and celebrity environment promoters from abroad to join in the festivities and screenings.

"The Israeli film industry is at a peak moment," says Ecolnoa's website. "We have the ability to make inspiring and creative environmental films. But due to low environmental awareness and the constant issues on the agenda such as the conflict, environmental film is only beginning to evolve. Some great environmental films have been made but usually they find it hard to reach large audiences. Ecolnoa is a new platform which can help these films reach larger parts of the society and give Israeli film makers more opportunities and financial resources to create films dealing with environmental issues. ::See related ::Ecolnoa brochure (PDF)The story of Eco cinema Israel -- written for TreeHugger by Ecolnoa organizer Tsur Mishal

For many years environmental awareness and it's linkage to social and health problems has been peripheral in our society. As a small and densely populated country, Israel cannot afford to keep neglecting its environment. Although this has begun to change in recent years, thanks to a vibrant and constantly growing local environmental movement, still one of the most effective and popular means of communication, television and cinema, has only rarely been used to tell the environment story.

The first Environmental Film Festival in Israel took place in December 2004, at the Tel-Aviv Cinemateque. Ecolnoa was an initiative of the main environmental organizations in Israel, among them Green Course — Students for the Environment, a non-profit organization, and Life and Environment, the umbrella environmental organization of Israel.

A group of students, environmentalists and filmmakers working enthusiastically and mostly on a voluntary basis formed the production and organizational backbone of Ecolnoa.

From the outset Ecolnoa was embraced by the public and the media, and became an important event of the environmental movement here. Approximately 2000 people attended the films and public discussions held at the inaugural Tel-Aviv festival.

Since then the festival has been growing. In order to reach diverse sectors of the society we held an event in the south of Israel and another in the north with close to 1000 people attending each. In addition to the films, we held an outdoor organic food market, hikes in the area, outdoor theatre and activities for children which were very successful.

The Next Events:

16-18 November- The next Ecolnoa will take place in the Galilee town of Rosh Pina. This event will focus on the sustainable development of the northern region of Israel, also with regard to the war and the environmental damage which occurred to the region. The festival will also hold a special screening in the Arab city of Sachnin. Other important issues will be the rivers of the north and their saving, and also global warming. The opening film will be Al gore's "An inconvenient Truth". Alongside the films we will hold an organic fare, activities for children and hikes in the area.

21-23 May 2007- The Tel-Aviv International Environmental film festival

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