As part of this capacity building, MY forest not only supported EcoKnights, organiser of KLEFF 2019, but also offered other NSC members the opportunity to spread their message within the “MY forest Pavilion” exhibition space, which comprised four booths over the seven-day exhibition at the Publika Shopping Gallery. The slots were taken up by the MNS Selangor Branch Flora Group, Pulau Banding Foundation, The Habitat Foundation, Ecocentric Transitions and Yayasan Anak Warisan Alam (YAWA).
Highlights include YAWA featuring their “My Food Forest” programme, where participants can dedicate a fruit or flower tree to grow a community food forest and edible landscape, and Ecocentric drawing in children and adults alike with their RIMBA card game. The Habitat also took the opportunity to engage with the public during the week, with Justine Vaz conducting a public forum on community forests, and Dr Ahmad Zafir chatting about wildlife conservation.
On the film front, MNS for the first time sponsored the MY forest Special Award category for films with a forest governance message, believing that visual storytelling is an effective way of raising awareness about conservation. In her remarks at the launch of KLEFF 2019, MNS Vice-President Stephanie Bacon said MY forest was focused on improving the management of our rainforests for future generations, and one way to achieve this was through engagement with the public via films.
A total of 15 films were nominated for the award, and three sessions were conducted to choose the three winners. These winning films were chosen for their message, story and visuals, and their potential to touch hearts and possibly change minds towards protecting the planet’s forests.
Themed “Climate Change… Now!”, KLEFF 2019 explored stories of people and organisations committed to taking climate action to create maximum impact on sustainable development. Receiving 233 submissions on environment-themed films from 48 countries, the list was whittled down to feature 83 ground-breaking films of various lengths and genres.
The film festival was a platform that aimed to, said Dr. Yasmin Rasyid, KLEFF Founder and Honorary Advisor, uplift the country, and at some point use films to change politicians’ perspectives, to change policies, to change how Malaysians live their lives.
“Films are very powerful tools. I wanted to see how Malaysia can use films to get people to start thinking differently, to spark conversations, to take action, to make something out of everything.
“I hope KLEFF in its 12th year will resonate with the Malaysian public and inspire them to take immediate action for a better and sustainable Malaysia,” she said when launching KLEFF 2019 at Taman Tugu.
Stephanie also called upon Malaysians to take action in their own way. She said it shouldn’t be forgotten that humans changed the climate, and it was up to us to take action, to reduce our carbon footprint, use of fossil fuels and energy we use, to change our mode of life.
“One of the best things we can all do is to plant a tree, but it takes 90 years for a Malaysian rainforest tree to mature.” She said it would have been better to have planted a tree 20 years ago, “but if you hadn’t done it then, plant one today.”
MNS’s support in KLEFF 2019 also extended to the creation of the MY forest Special Award for films with a forest governance message, and Stephanie said the festival was a great platform for raising awareness about environmental issues.
The festival also featured a variety of activities surrounding the theme and also the environment in general. These included workshops, such as for making DIY furnishings, turning cooking oil into soap, recycling plastic into woven baskets and making eco-bricks. Then there were instructive sessions into, among others, wildlife photography and wildlife species and protected areas, and a bustling green market featuring sustainable products from NGOs and small companies.
This year, KLEFF also split into two sessions, thanks to a partnership with Malaysian Green Technology Corp., which organised the 10th International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition and Conference (IGEM 2019) at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from 9th to 11th October.
This was the second year of Malaysian Green Technology’s collaboration with KLEFF, according to its Chief Strategic Communications Officer Elina Jani. She said the impetus to collaborate came from Yeo Bee Yin, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change, and was part of the government’s focus on social contribution by businesses.
“Ultimately, the triple bottom line is where we collaborated with KLEFF, to showcase young filmmakers and global sustainability issues and how they relate to businesses,” Elina said at the launch. The adjacent activities at IGEM comprised the KLEFF 2019 Award Ceremony, informative booth, virtual reality experience and premier film screenings.
The Award Ceremony was held during a luncheon in conjunction with IGEM 2019, graced by Minister Yeo Bee Yin, who said in her keynote speech that such initiatives by NGOs should be supported.
KLEFF 2019 winners
Of course, we can’t go on about a film festival without touching on the cream of the crop, whittled down from 233 entries to 83 finalists, and winners in five general categories and four special categories.
Best Feature Film went to “Beyond Climate”, by Ian Mauro (Canada). Narrated by Dr. David Suzuki, renowned scientist, broadcaster and environmentalist, the film explores the human and environmental impact of climate change in British Columbia, which is a hotspot to visualise and experience how global warming affects local environments and communities, in terms of heat waves, droughts, melting glaciers, pest outbreaks, back-to-back record-setting forest fires and changes to the oceans.
Best Short Documentary was awarded to “Education on the Boat – A New Hope for Tomorrow”, by KM Taj-Biul Hasan (Bangladesh). This film focuses on the climatic adverse condition of “Cholon Beel”, the biggest wetland of northeastern Bangladesh that is inundated with water for eight to nine months of the year, and the inhabitants who are completely dependent on the mercy of the environment for survival.
Best Short Film and Special Merit Award went to “Sleepless”, by Sean Lin (Malaysia). A scenic view of Mongolia can’t mask the truth at ground level, where indigenous nomadic tribes are dying off from the impact of climate change. The film uses minimal dialogue and stirring music to contrast starkly with scenes of devastation, as the film solemnly declares at the end that Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbataar is the world’s most polluted capital, and communities such as the Tsaatan reindeer herders are being threatened into extinction.
Best Animation was awarded to “Barely Alive” by Chan Ming Chun (Hong Kong), which follows the harsh life of a teenage protagonist whose mother died in a heat wave.
Best Public Service Announcement: “Carbon Building Blocks of Life”, by SCM Asia (Malaysia), which was also the film used for the virtual reality experience throughout KLEFF 2019.
Special Jury Award: “Messages from the End of the World”, by Matteo Born (Switzerland). This 51-minute film tells the story of a retired couple who takes five young Swiss people – and the audience – to the arctic circle to observe for themselves the signs of global warming, and consequently to report on and utilise their youth and social media savvy to create awareness among their generation. The exploration of this icy landscape, especially the receding glaciers, and threat of thawing permafrost on the Global Seed Vault, brings to life the true costs of a warming planet.
Asean Young Filmmaker went to “Cloud Kingdom”, by Nady Afiqah (Singapore). This short documentary about Cameron Highlands, specifically the threat to the supply of clean water, also won second place in the MY forest Special Award.
MY forest Special Award went to “Hunting the Helmeted Hornbill”, by Tim Laman and Tom Swartwout (Thailand), focusing on the critically endangered bird hunted for its casque.
Improving Forest Governance Concepts & Developments – Internationally and in Malaysia
Date: 2-8 September 2018
Venue: Awana Genting Resort, Genting Highlands, Pahang
Training of Trainers
Date: 8-14 September 2018
Venue: Belum Rainforest Resort, Gerik, Perak
Trainers: Sarah Thomas and Téodyl Nkuintchua, Centre for International Development and Training, University of Wolverhampton
Participants: Delegates from Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia, Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Malaysian Timber Certification Council, Malaysian Timber Industry Board, Sarawak Forestry Corporation, Ecocentric Transitions, Camp Borneo, Environmental Protection Society Malaysia, Sustainable Development Network Malaysia, Pulau Banding Foundation, The Forest Trust, Tropical Rainforest Consevation and Research Centre, WWF-Malaysia; members from MNS Branches ~ Kedah, Langkawi, Penang, Selangor, Kuching and Sabah; and MNS Council Members.
Quick peek here!
MY forest updates
BirdLife International, by Dr Hum Gurung
MY forest 2018, by Balu Perumal
MY forest Financial Report, by Intan Zurani Abd Razak
Sharing Session by MY forest-funded projects
Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia, by Cabrini John
Belum-Temengor Orang Asli, by Kamal Solhaimi Fadzil
MNS Hornbill Conservation Programme, by Yeap Chin Aik
MNS Sabah Branch, by Anna Wong
MNS Sarawak Branch, by Au Nyat Jun
MNS Kedah Branch, by Lt Kol (R) Husamudin Yaacob (TUDM)
Komuniti PAKAS and UCF, by Sonny Wong
KL Eco Film Festival, EcoKnights, by Yasmin Rasyid
CIDT Forest Governance Course, by Lee Ee Ling
Treat Every Environment Special, by Leela Panikkar
National Stakeholder Committee Meeting No. 1/2017
Date: 14 December 2017
Venue: Vistana Kuala Lumpur Titiwangsa
Objective: To create the National Stakeholder Committee, and formulate a plan towards the successful implementation of MY forest in its target areas
Participation: Government agencies, NGOs and Malaysian Nature Society State Branches
Theme: Central Forest Spine and the CFS Master Plan
Date: 30 November 2017
Objective: To share information and brainstorm on ways to work with the government on the implementation of the CFS Master Plan.
Participation: Malaysian Nature Society State Branches - Langkawi, Kedah, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan/Melaka, Johor, Terengganu and Kelantan
NGOs - Environmental Protection Society Malaysia (EPSM), Institute of Foresters Malaysia, The Management & Ecology of Malaysian Elephants (MEME), Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands (REACH), pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (PEKA), Traffic Southeast Asia, Treat Every Environment Special (TrEES), Tropican Rainforest Conservation & Research Centre (TRCRC), WWF-Malaysia
A Decade of UNDRIP in Malaysia; Perspectives, Experiences and Hopes of the Indigenous Peoples of MalaysiaRead Now
National Seminar on 10 Years of UNDRIP (UN Declaration of Rights for Indigenous Peoples) as part of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration (PHOAS)
Approximately 350 participants, of whom 90% were from indigenous peoples communities around Malaysia.