Peruvian filmmaker wins UN contest

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A short made by young Peruvian filmmaker Elio Alonso Vásquez Miranda was one of five films chosen as winners by the United Nations in its “Forests for People” short film contest.

According to information published by the UN, “Forests for People is a short film contest that invites everyone, in every part of the world, to create and share a personal film about their own relationship to the forest. How it inspires you. Shelters you. Nurtures you. Contributes to your life, or even makes life possible.”

Vásquez’s film, entitled “Feel like a Mountain” (above, narrated in Spanish with English subtitles) focuses on the relationship that Peruvian mainstream culture has with the country’s rainforests. According to Vásquez, too many policymakers in Peru focus on exploiting forests instead of living in harmony with the environment. He highlights the 2009 protests and resulting violence in Bagua province in the northern rainforest, encouraging Peruvians and world citizens alike to respect indigenous communities’ rights to land and self-determination.

Vásquez, a native of Peru, attends an international school in Norway. He cites his experiences living in a small town “in the middle of the forest” as changing his perspective on nature. Student film highlights conscientious use of natural resources.

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