“The diversity of the world’s cultures is our wealth and our future”, pointed out Irina Bokova, former Director General of UNESCO underlining how important is to build our life on dialogue and full respect for diversities and genders.
What better medium to increase awareness on all major issues of our Planet than Cinema? On the basis of a special sensitivity and a long-established knowledge on solidarity-based projects, Manuel Collas de la Roche created, 3 years ago, the Better World Forum, a very “human” cinematic festival reflecting the need to make concrete actions to improve human conditions worldwide through the enhancement of human beings and ecosystems. A film festival which fits perfectly well in the Monegasque annual event program.
The 3rd edition of Monaco Better World Forum – MBWF (@betterworldforum), Cinematic Art at the Service of Humanity, held at the Princess Grace Theatre on the 21st and 22nd September 2018 focused on Education, Children & Women rights, Environment, Biodiversity and Disability. This unique film festival, under the auspices of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and supported by major ambassadors like Sharon Stone, Forest Whitaker and Mary J Blige, welcomed an international audience and qualified special guests pushing them to reflect on some of the most relevant social pillars, integral part of the concept of sustainable development.
A top-level set of independent movies from worldwide developed the core values of the MBWF in a very effective way. “Vincent et moi”, directed by Edouard Cuel and Gaël Breton describes gently the story of Vincent, born with down syndrome and highlights all social troubles related to that condition which requires courage, patience and sense of humour, now and then. “Street River” by Beto Macedo made the public reflect on the strict link between real human values and Nature through life stories and artistic expression in the Amazonian region. “Mountain” by Jennifer Peedom showed an unprecedented HD overview of the world of the mountains and their relations with Man through a flow of breathtaking images accompanied by an iconic soundtrack of music masterpieces interpreted live by the Australian Chamber Orchestra emotionally matched with the coached voice of the renowned actor Willem Dafoe.
“Itinéraire d’un enfant placé” by Ketty Rios Palma describes a delicate theme in a realistic approach: the ups and downs of a teenager whose mother is in prison, seeking for some love in a host family temporarily assigned by social services. “Daughter of mine” (Figlia Mia) by Laura Bispuri talks about a daughter being caught between two mothers, the one who raised her in a loving environment and her biological mother who wants her back by all means. Last but not least, the 3D movie “Wonders of the Sea” by Jean-Michel Cousteau and Jean-Jacques Mantello, shown on world preview, offered the audience an emotional dip into the wonders of tropical oceans to meet their fantastic and unknown creatures, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colours masterfully described by Cousteau, his daughter, his son and Arnold Schwarzenegger, also acting as film producer.
After the great success of the previous Forums, this one will be memorable! During the dinner Gala at the Yacht Club de Monaco on Saturday night the 22nd, Mr Collas de la Roche, in fact, had the honour to give the Sovereign Prince of Monaco a one-of-a-kind prize: the “Colombe d’or – Best Commitment” made with Humanium metal (@humaniummetal) resulting from the reuse of illegal firearms for peaceful purposes. A great act and symbolic significance as pointed out by Karolina Bomba, managing director of MBWF, and Peter Brune, head of International Department at the IM Swedish Development Partner, while showing HelloMonaco a Humanium bar made from a Kalashnikov, become harmless through a sustainable production chain. Other prizes, made by the same symbolic metal, were awarded to other celebrities, among them, the prize-winning filmmaker Wim Wenders who was given the “Colombe d’or – Best Achievement in Cinematography“.
HelloMonaco asked some of the protagonists what has meant to them the participation to MBWF. Lina Shehayeb, Founder of Gift for Life – Lebanon (@GiftOfLifeLebanon), an international non-profit organization aimed at curing worldwide heart and physical diseased children (over 35,000) and Ambassador for Monaco Better World Forum; Matteo El Khodr, Parisian-based talented countertenor whose mission is to involve new generations in opera music and Nicolas Imbert, executive director of Green Cross France & Territories (GCFT), a non-profit organization founded in 1993 by Mikhaïl Gorbatchev focused on sustainable development strategies.
HelloMonaco: Lina Shehayeb, how do you feel being special guest at MBWF?
L.S: I am so proud to represent this Association which is playing a pivotal role to change the World by affecting minds and hearts of people. Life is emotion but we are facing a reality where many things are not working properly, menaced by conflicts, environmental impacts, famine and lack of medical care. Children are innocent victims of all that. I have been always committed in the Humanitarian field as a mother and as a professional and I am deeply convinced that we need to act now in order to reverse this negative trend. It is very important, then, to fight against ignorance through awareness campaign and events like this one. It is not about raising money to fix a problem, it is about try to prevent and solve heart defects on time to allow a normal life for thousands of human beings.
HelloMonaco: Matteo El Khodr, which role can music play in making our Planet a better place?
MEK: I am very pleased to take part to MBWF. It was a real surprise to me and I welcomed the invitation by Mrs Lina with all my heart since I fully appreciate her efforts and the values on which MBWF is grounded so that my voice feels more responsible being devoted to the life of a child. At first, singing was what made me happy, then I realized my vocal tones had the power to inspire good vibes on people, and even improving their lives. Now, that is my mission!
HelloMonaco: Nicholas Imbert, what made you join the core values of MBWF?
NI: I am delighted to be here at MBWF since the association I represent aims at fighting for the Planet not really for its surviving but for the preservation of humankind, at the basis of sustainable local targets fixed at UN Rio Conference in 1992. Therefore, we are sharing high values of cooperation, solidarity and ocean protection both with MBWF and the Principality of Monaco to create a new good-oriented business model.
HelloMonaco: Which is then the MBWF 2018 key message?
«Education, communication and new generations involvement are playing a crucial role in making world a better place», concluded Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the renowned ocean explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, inseparably bound up in the history of the Musée Océanographique de Monaco. A brighter future through a full respect of all ladies as underlined by Gabriella Wright, English-French actress and model, Chiara Tilesi, founder of the non-profit film maker production “We do it together” (@WDITogether) and Marta Donzelli, “Daughter of mine” producer.