DREFF Represented at the Annual Environmental Media Awards (EMA), Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, October 19, 2013Tweet
On a kind invitation by Stuart and Julie Sender, director and producer of Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, an acclaimed environmental documentary screened at DREFF 2013 and nominated for 2013 EMA awards, the DR Environmental Film Festival (DREFF) was invited to participate in the biggest environmental, media and entertainment event of the year held annually in Burbank, Los Angeles.
DREFF Director, Natasha Despotovic, attended the event as well as numerous social events and networking meetings organized around it, in an effort to establish new connections and initiate projects that would benefit the GFDD and FUNGLODE programs oriented towards fostering and supporting environmental awareness and protection, sustainable development as well as filmmaking and multimedia development.
Environmental Media Association (EMA), in existence for twenty-four years, “links the power of celebrity to environmental awareness and believes that through television, film and music, the entertainment community can affect change in a positive way”. As EMA states on its website (http://www.ema-online.org/), its “work is widespread, from subtle messaging on the screen to promoting sustainable lifestyle choice and educating influential people on the power of green”, with the goal of “inspiring the path to a healthier planet”.
EMA was founded as early as in 1989 by two of the most prominent couples in Hollywood entertainment industry and philanthropy: Lyn and Norman Lear (TV writer and producer of mega sitcoms like: All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Maude) and Cindy and Alan Horn (currently Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, previously President of Warner Bros.). They started off with a simple but powerful idea that “through television, film and music, the entertainment industry can reach millions of people with a message of concern about our environment and examples of concrete action individuals can take to make a difference.” This initial drive still permeates all EMA’s programs of which the Annual EMA awards are a crown jewel.
Among numerous activities and events organized throughout the year, EMA carries out three flagship programs. EMA Green Seal has awarded fifty EMA Green Seal certifications to film and television productions as well as award shows and galas. EMA School Gardens supports urban gardens and greenery in urban schools across Los Angeles. California Green Communitiespromotes the Green Community Action Plan in ten communities in the LA area.
Celebrities like Daryl Hannah, Marisa Tomei, Hart Bochner, Frances Fisher, Ed Begley Jr, Jeff Skoll and Blythe Danner are Members of the Board of EMA; they attended and co-presented the 23th EMA awards. The big winners of the night were Bill McKibben, named “the planet’s best green journalist” by the Time Magazine and awarded the EMA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the unbelievably accomplished Matt Damon who received the Board of Directors Ongoing Commitment Award. Damon’s non-profit organization Water.org has transformed lives of more than 1,000,000 people in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean by providing access to safe water and sanitation.
While receiving his award, McKibben made a strong call to action in order to curb carbon emissions and pointed to the urgency of making a dramatic shift in the way we live, produce and consume. His grassroots climate campaign 350.org, named for the safe levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. His book The End of Nature, published in 1989, is regarded as the first book on climate change for general audiences and has since been printed in 20 languages.
Damon gave an impassionate speech on access to water and sanitation as a human right and a prerequisite not only for healthy but also hopeful, joyful and creative living. He recounted numerous anecdotes of his travels around the world that testify to the resilience of poor communities, their strife for better life and their transformation to a more dignified and productive life once their basic needs are provided.
The other honorees of the night include a prolific writer, activist and philanthropist Anna Getty, a recipient of the EMA Green Parent Award; a child-youth prodigy Hayden Pannettiere who was distinguished by the EMA Futures Award and Screen Actors Guild Awards, recognized with the EMA Green Production Award.
Promised Land won in the category of feature films; Gasland Part II as a documentary film; House of Cards was chosen the best among television episodic drama nominees; Last Man Standing, Mother Fracker as the best television episodic comedy; Vice, Gangs and Oil was awarded the Reality Television EMA Award; Nick News with Lind Ellerbee, What’s the Deal with Fracking? (Nickelodeon) won the Children’s Television Award and Overview by Planetary Collective took home the Digital Content EMA Award.
The presence of so many accomplished, inspiring and forward-thinking luminaries created an atmosphere of effervescence, hope and drive to action. The event which initiated by Darren Criss of Glee, singing What a Wonderful World, and ended by Matt Damon’s passionate call to help, must and will produce an adequate and productive sequel in personal and professional lives of all who attended in person or at distance.
Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF) will follow up on numerous contacts established and ideas shared, in its mission to forge partnerships with distinguished institutions and create ongoing joint programs for the benefit of the Dominican Republic, Latin America and the Caribbean.
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