The British Council is presenting the Wildscreen Film Festival
on 15th and 16th February at Prasads IMAX and Prasads Labs Preview Theatre. The 2-day film festival will witness the screening of a few of the world-class films on environmental issues and wildlife. The festival also includes master classes on various aspects of film-making, and screenings of international wildlife and environmental films, some which are winners of the Panda Awards, aka the Green Oscars.
The festival is a part of the British Council's Climate Change Program which aims to mitigate the effects of climate change in an urban environment. As part of the festival, "The Man Who Stopped The Desert" is being screened on 16th February at Prasads IMAX, screen 5.
The Man Who Stopped the Desert is a one-hour documentary telling the story of Yacouba Sawadogo, an illiterate African peasant farmer who has transformed the lives of thousands of people across Sahel. During the 1970's and early 80's, this vast region was hit with drought after drought. Families abandoned their villages in search of food and water, but Yacouba Sawadogo remained and pioneered a technique that battled the approaching desert.
This is not simply an agricultural story. Yacouba Sawadogo's 20 year-struggle is pure drama. It is about one man's conviction that the land has the potential to benefit many thousands living in the Sahel region of Africa. Through cinematic reconstruction, Yacouba narrates his own back-story of how as a small child, he was sent away to a Koranic school in Mali where he endured an endless regime of physical labour and the arduous task of memorising the Koran.
Then, as a young man, he fights the accepted wisdom of the traditional land chiefs who are opposed to his new farming techniques. Opposition turns to anger when jealous neighbours burn down Yacouba's newly planted forest and millet fields. But Yacouba is undaunted. He perfects his technique, and today his name is synonymous with reversing the process of desertification. So much so that in November 2009, he was invited to Washington DC to share his story with policy-makers on Capitol Hill.
In late 2009, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation declared small farmers (like Yacouba) as key players helping alleviate famine and poverty amongst the world's poorest and launched a multi-million dollar research and investment program into local solutions for Africa.
Wildscreen is the world's largest and most prestigious wildlife and environmental film festival. Founded by Sir Peter Scott in 1982, the festival has been organised every alternate year in Bristol for the past 28 years. The Wildscreen Festival came to India in 2007 and toured Delhi, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai. In 2009, the festival visited Delhi, Guwahati, Bangalore, Mumbai, and also Colombo.
Entry is free for everyone. Please contact the British Council at 2348-3333 for further details.