|Home > News||15 March 2007|
Give Asians a voice, TVEAP tells Wildlife Asia
TVE Asia Pacific participated in the inaugural Wildlife Asia film festival, with a call to enable more Asian film-makers to tell Asia’s stories to their region and the world.
The festival, held in Singapore from March 13 to 16, celebrated ‘the very best in wildlife filmmaking in Asia and throughout the world’. It was open to film-makers, conservationists and the public.
TVE Asia Pacific’s top executives were among the three dozen speakers at the festival. In two separate sessions, they showcased the regional organisation’s production and distribution activities.
TVEAP Director and CEO Nalaka Gunawardene was a speaker during the opening day seminar on the ‘indie scene’ – which looked at challenges and opportunities for independent film-makers producing environment and wildlife films in Asia.
TVEAP Programme Manager Manori Wijesekera spoke at the seminar on Educational Outreach initiatives on March 14. This brought together educators and conservationists tapping the power of moving images to raise awareness on environmental issues in Asia.
“This film festival’s slogan is ‘Giving Nature a Voice’ which is certainly needed. But where we are coming from, there is another equally important need: Giving Asians a voice,” Nalaka said in his remarks.
He added: “Quite frankly, we are tired of Asia’s stories being covered -– often not very well or very accurately -– by journalists and film-makers who don’t live and work in Asia. We still remember how they covered the Asian Tsunami, SARS and other major stories in recent years. One way to improve the quality and authenticity of Asia’s moving image stories is to match the abundance of Asian talent with those who wish to engage their services.”
TVE Asia Pacific is working on a Database of Asian Film Professionals, which will address this information gap. (See also the box below.)
Nalaka emphasized that TVEAP’s policy was to engage locally-based film-makers and TV journalists as much as possible.
“Importantly, we pay international rates to our local film crews no matter where in the world we will engage their services. In turn, we expect a world class service,” he said.
In her presentation, Manori Wijesekera described TVE Asia Pacific’s engagement of educational institutions and civil society groups.
TVEAP produces and distributes video and online content that is entirely free of copyright restrictions. “This is an important attribute of our material, which can be used for advocacy, awareness, activist and training purposes without license fee payments.”
Manori said all TVEAP material is produced for non-technical, non-specialist users, using a healthy mix of education and entertainment elements. “We respond to feedback from our users, and try to capture stories as close to the ground reality as possible,” she added.
She quoted Sombath Somphone, the Magsaysay-award winning development educator and TVEAP Board member, as saying: “We can make the media a tool for education by engaging the young to produce their own radio and TV programs. Let our children and young people regain and re-own the air waves.”