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The XVII Gran Paradiso Film Festival
Photo by archivio Fondation Grand Paradis - Foto Enrico Caracciolo
The film "Il ritorno dell'upupa" by Florain Berger and Stephan Polasek, winner of the trophy Stambecco d'oro, Gran Paradiso Film Festival 2013
Photo by Fondation Grand Paradis
Dario Vergassola at Gran Paradiso Film Festival 2013
Photo by Fondation Grand Paradis
The awards ceremony of Gran Paradiso Film Festival 2013
Photo by Fondation Grand Paradis

Gran Paradiso Film Festival: the big show of mother nature

03.09.2013 by Simonetta Radice

A look into a forgotten and neglected world that lies right under our nose: the Gran Paradiso Film Festival (August 26th – 31st in Cogne, Rhemes Saint Georges, Valsavarenche Villeneuve and Ceresole Reale) presented an opportunity to consider our relationship with nature.


The movies

There are no more bees left in China. A senseless use of pesticides caused the extinction of these precious insects, from which depend one third of our foodstuffs. Now it’s farmers that have to pollinate flowers of fruit trees.
From Myanmar to Thailand, from India to Sri-Lanka, elephants are captured and domesticated through violent methods that can’t help making us thinking about the relationship between human beings and this species, as well as about our missed chance to understand their life and their uniqueness.
Watching wild animals in the mountains requires time, labor and patience. People who are devoted to this activity have a life made of long walks as well as of long waits, hours and hours standing still, regardless of the weather, looking for footprints of chamoises, highbecks, foxes and hares.
More than Honey, Life Size Memories and Mille et une trace are just some of the movies part of the International competition at the 17th edition of the Gran Paradiso Film Festival, the most important cinematic event in the Region of Aosta valley dedicated to nature cinema. The festival is organized by the Fondation Grand Paradis with the artistic direction of Luisa Vuillermoz.
The show ended up on Saturday August 31st and the documentary “The return of Hoopoe” by Florain Berger e Stephan Polasek was prized with the “Stambecco d’Oro Award”. The movie is about the life of this small and endangered bird, that seems to have found a new habitat in Austria, and specifically in the vineyards of the Wangram region, also thanks to the passionate work of a man who learned to “whisper to hoopoes”, creating the conditions for a proper environmental integration.

Not only movies
The event – with a massive presence of international films - also included “De Rerum Natura”, a cycle of conferences, shows and in-depth activities on topics related to science, nature and the environment. Held in the mountain villages of the Gran Paradiso National Park area - Cogne, Rhemes Saint Georges, Valsavarenche, Villeneuve and Ceresole Reale – the exhibition saw the presence of 9500 people.

Us and nature
As the Italian columnist Massimo Gramellini said in its opening message: “Nature is nowadays given for granted, and especially in Italy, where we are so lucky to live in a Country so rich of variety and beautiful”.
I would like to add to these words that animals, their life and their sensitivity are one of the biggest repressed collective thought in our society, where also people living close to them mainly do it for economical reasons.
A festival completely dedicated to nature cinema become thus a big opportunity to think about what we are risking losing and what we have already lost: by one side the sentiment of empathy towards other species, and the awareness of being part of a whole and unique living system by the other.
A life as a turkey?
Among my favorite movies, I would like to mention “My life as a turkey”, where the scientist Joe Hutto starts bringing up a group of wild turkeys, since the hatching of the eggs. "What did I learn form them? Living my life in the present. Animals just live in one dimension, the present, and they do it in most natural way. On the contrary, we are so pushed out between our past and our future that we miss the every-day magic of the present.
Yet John Lennon said that life is what happens to you while we are busy making other plans: don’t let it be.

by Simonetta Radice

>> The winners of Gran Paradiso Film Festival 2013

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