Week 14: CinéMaTerre

     This past weekend was one of the most anticipated events of the semester: CinéMaTerre. The European Institute of Ecology in Metz sponsored this film festival full of films that challenge all sorts of social, economical, and ecological problems in the world. Our part in the film festival was lending a hand to the Institute, helping to lead the guests and answer questions about the films and helping with a special event called Youth for Planet, which you may remember from one of my previous blogs. We were there selling tickets, handing out free green gifts, and watching a bunch of wonderfully made, and thoughtful films. The festival was a big success for the SLS program.

     While helping to set up and run the event, the team had a lot of fun talking to the other volunteers and among ourselves. When guests arrived, it only got better. Everyone attending the festival was joyous and full of excitement. I’m attributing some of it to the amazing Christmas markets going on outside the theatre in the plazas of Metz, but the spirit of CinéMaTerre had an impact, too. The films were spread over many diverse topics like pesticides in “Le Temps de l’Adaptation” or the cultural stressors of the downfall of hunting economy in Greenland in “Les Derniers Chasseurs de Glace”. The guests would often have questions, some completely technical (like the theatre number), some relating to the subject of a specific film; responding to questions about the films helped to solidify their concepts and the importance of those concepts in relation to our program. Seeing people come out to celebrate people’s hard work in investigating these issues was inspiring and added to my confidence in discussing them.

   My favorite part of the festival, overall, was helping during the Youth for Planet screenings and watching those videos. There were 5 schools that choreographed and scripted a video about things we should avoid and things we should do to live more sustainably. They talked about plastic bottles and packaging, explaining that people should do their part to recycle, pay attention to their water usage, and use earth-friendly transport. We lead all of the school groups to the theatre and handed out their award certificates at the end of the showings of each of their videos. It was heartwarming to hear them laughing with excitement when their videos would come on screen; one group wrote a song and sang at the end of their video. They gave us an impromptu rendition in the theatre after they’d received their awards, and I believe that it appropriately punctuated the event.

   This was the second edition of CinéMaTerre, and I highly recommend seeking out the third if you’re around Metz next fall. The people that we volunteer with at the Institute are dedicated and passionate about the work they do for the festival and for sustainable development in Metz. It’s an honor to be involved and a ton fun, too!