Colombia's Greenest?

Colombia's first environmental film fest.
Colombia's Greenest?

The festival "Cine Ambiental VOCES" is the first environmental film screening series to be held in Colombia. The festival is the work of Pablo Velez Tobar. Tobar grew up in Colombia and studied environmental engineering at the University of Medellín. He then moved to Toronto to study environmental protection technologies. After graduating in May of 2008, Pablo began planning the festival.

Greatly concerned over the environmental future of his home country, Pablo decided to plan a film screening series in order to raise awareness. As Colombia modernizes and gains stability, Pablo is concerned the natural resources will be exploited. Pablo sees "the festival VOCES supporting a generation of green technologies and green projects for years to come."

Pablo is also greatly concerned over the inequality he sees in Colombia. Environmental issues such as clean water, clean air, polluted soil, etc, adds to the struggles the underprivileged face. Pablo hopes the festival can have a direct impact on these issues.

Pablo began screening films in early March in the city of Medellín. He screened the films at cultural centers, universities, schools, and in the surrounding barrios (neighborhoods). Pablo screened a mix of documentary, experimental and narrative, changing up the program to fit the various audiences.

After the initial screenings, the festival entered the "mobile" phase. Pablo began screening the films in various small towns throughout the Antioquia region of Colombia.

One of the small towns Pablo visited was Santa Rosa de Osos, a farming community 2 hours outside Medellín. Pablo spent three days in Santa Rosa screening films and hosting discussions with school children. He also screened a selection of films for the local government, including the mayor.

Pablo originally had 30 screenings set up, but continues adding more. Currently there has been over 43 screenings. The festival wraps up with a few final screenings at the University of Antioquia. Pablo estimates the festival will reach close to 2,500 people.

Pablo hopes to continue the festival for years to come. His goal for this year was to "reach as many people as possible and from different ages, economical situation, gender, education, interest and basically leave a reflection on the environment that surrounds them." In future years Pablo hopes to turn the festival into a "festival with action." He plans to develop a series of sustainable projects to introduce to the communities where he screens the films.