Film Scouts Diaries

2007 Festroia International Film Festival Diaries
The 23rd Festroia International Film Festival, # 3

by Henri Béhar

"Man and His Environment"

Setubal, Portugal, June 6, 2007 -- Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth and Leonardo di Caprio's 11th Hour made quite a splash in Cannes in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Yet, over twenty years ago, Festroia very quietly created a whole new section called "Man and His Environment", showcasing shorts and features from all over the world dealing with global warming. To the best of my knowledge, it is still the only festival to boast such a section, and this year, it started working in conjunction with an initiative called CarbonZero.

According to its literature (partly reprinted in the catalogue), "CarbonZero is a voluntarily instrument that allows citizens and companies to quantify their carbon emissions and compensate them through the co-financing of indigenous forest areas in Portugal that seize the equivalent amount of carbon."

"It is based on the concept of the forest as an indigenous resource and [its goal is to guarantee] adequate forest management, the use of indigenous species, active prevention against forest fires and the use of the forest as a leisure area. " (more about this on

As far as the festival is concerned, considering that any human activity can be a source of pollution, a group of scientists quantified the greenhouse gases and emissions associated with the energy consumed in theatres and other spaces where the festival is taking place; treatment and disposal of waste; freight transport; and trips of the festival's team, guests and audiences, and set up a plan to offset them through "the sequestration of an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide by a new indigenous forest area (…), thus compensating its effect on the climate."

The result is Herdade da Gambia, "an area in which, at the end of the 2003, various indigenous species were planted, including cork oak and stone pine." Right now, the Festroia Festival is responsible for the planting and management of 1400 such trees (for at least 30 years), and Herdade da Gambia has become part of the Natural Reserve of the Sado Estuary.

In practical terms, that also means that the festival catalogue and its official booklets were printed on recycled paper and with "green ink". Even their new official website is hosted by a company that has gone carbon neutral. Yes, Virginia, every little gesture counts. Definitely an example to follow.

Most titles in this section are self-explanatory: Chernobyl: the Invisible Thief (quite remarkable), Carpe Diem, The Starfish, Selvagens: the Last Frontier… Only Carmine Amoroso's Cover Boy: l'Ultima Rivoluzione (Italy) doesn't seem to belong – unless, thinking in strictly social terms, you consider that man's exploitation by man is part of the environment. It is the story of Ioan, a young Romanian who comes to the West in search of a better future and finds that the grass isn't greener here and the streets aren't paved with gold. It is the story of the friendship between Ioan and Michele, an Italian who scrapes by in the midst of a society whose affluence barely masks the savagery of its dog-eats-dog inner workings. In Ioan's case, make that bitch-eats-dog. He meets a famous photographer (female) and falls in love, only to discover that he is being exploited and his post-sex nudity used in the "Wear the Revolution" campaign for the autumn/winter collection of a line of clothes. A bittersweet tale, well observed and well acted, but ultimately, and strangely, inconsequential.

Previous Installment | Next Installment

Back to Festroia International Film Festival Diaries

Look for Search Tips

Copyright 1994-2008 Film Scouts LLC
Created, produced, and published by Film Scouts LLC
Film Scouts® is a registered trademark of Film Scouts LLC
All rights reserved.

Suggestions? Comments? Fill out our Feedback Form.