Best Environmental Film: "Illusion of Abundance" - Erika Gonzalez Ramirez / Mat Lietart, Belgium, 2022, 60'
The Eco Jury gave the following reasoning:
This year, as a jury, we had an easy time picking the top three movies, but a much harder time deciding which of those three would win first place. All three had a different theme, different style, and different approach, but they were also all well-made, had a clear ecological theme, and were interesting as films.
In the end we decided on the movie for which we had the strongest feeling that it fits the theme, suits the festival, and has an approach to ecology that we consider important to share. Still, because the selection was so narrow, before we announce the winner we wanted to highlight the other two.
The two runners-up are The Bet and Deep Rising.
Deep Rising should be mentioned from a visual and thematic aspect. Through this film we got a glimpse into the depths of the ocean which still seem like an alien world. Deep-sea mining is an important topic which is still understudied, and this documentary shows that corporate and political pressures to use this resource regardless of the consequences are already present.
The Bet was one of the most enjoyable movies to watch. The narrator draws us into the experience of filming and allows us to experience what it is like to be alone on isolated mountains, to wait for a certain animal, and to finally capture it on camera. The film is patient but dynamic, it changes cinematography and has different points of interest while remaining focused on the topic of birds.
The winner in the category of ecology is The Illusion of Abundance. The focus of this film is resistance to the exploitation of nature in South America, which is shown through three cases. The film showcases that progress is not linear, and that even European companies with clear nature protection regulations in their own countries are willing to exploit foreign countries with fewer regulations in the name of profit. The three cases are examples of people and communities taking action against the unimaginably powerful; the examples are concrete and rooted in reality – they do not paint a falsely positive picture, but they do show that progress is still possible, even in battles against corruption and against an opponent with drastically more money and power. Although the film is focused on South America, in many ways these are the basic problems for nature protection which the whole world is faced with. That is why we consider it important to show this film which so precisely depicts these types of battles and successes, and by doing so provides us with an example for a possible path forward.
Thank you Danka, Arta, Rebecca and Aleksandar from the Macedonian Ecological Society for your tireless work as jury members for this category. ❤️