Friday, 29 April 2022 10:32

The mirage of water in Niger in the film ABOVE WATER moved the audience in the theater: "More environmental awareness to shake up the West"

The screening was held in collaboration with the Cinemambiente Festival (Turin). Head of programming Lia Furxhi: "The silver screen is a powerful tool for spreading positive messages"


The mirage of water as a promise of a new life: this is the meaning of Aissa Maiga's film Above water, which was presented this morning to the young people at Verde Giffoni. The film, set in Upper Niger, was awarded last year at the Cinemambiente Festival in Turin as best international documentary. And today's screening in the Sala Verde of the Multimedia Valley marked the collaboration with this very film festival, which has been dealing with environmental cinema, environmental issues and ecology for 25 years.

The backdrop to the story involves the rainfall cycle in the village of Tatiste and the community that gathers and becomes aware of the need for a well as the only way to overcome the hardships of a life conditioned by the shortage of water resources. Childhood, parenting, the role of school and that of women and men: this is how a realistic and powerful insight into the life of a village in Niger lands on the big screen.

At the end of the screening there was a meeting with Lia Furxhi, head of programming at Cinemambiente Festival, whose 25th edition will take place at the Cinema Museum of Turin from June 7 to 12.

"In 1895 cinema was born - said Lia Furxhi when introducing Cinemambiente - and in 1896 the first environmental film was made. This shows how cinema and environmental issues have always been strongly linked. In 1997 the Kyoto protocol was signed, marking the peak in environmental awareness worldwide. So Gaetano Capizzi, founder and director of our festival, came up with this idea, which regarded cinema as a tool to promote positive messages. The festival was thus born out of his love for cinema and the desire to spread knowledge about environmental issues. Today there are so many festivals that address these topics to the point that in 2007 we established a green network with 40 member festivals".

Why was this film selected for screening at Verde Giffoni? Obviously because of its content. But that's not all: "This film seemed to be an excellent example of what environmental cinema is like today - said the Cinemambiente head of programming - it is an observational documentary. Today environmental films are big film productions. Therefore, there is a part of the film industry that is interested in environmental issues. On film platforms, documentaries are widely watched. Fiction cinema is aligning itself with this growing demand from audiences. Even Hollywood has been discovering environmental matters for a few years now with environment-themed fiction films".

The Cinemambiente festival has grown a lot over the years and today the selection process involves around three thousand films that are submitted to join the festival competition. How do you choose them? "We try to cover as many topics as possible - explained Lia Furxhi - in order to offer the audience a wide range of opportunities to learn about many themes. Then we try to have films from different countries so that the audience can appreciate different styles and languages. Finally, another selection principle we often use is this: since we are trained as filmmakers, we try to figure out whether a film can actually work on the silver screen and what kind of effects it may produce on the viewers".