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The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Gala

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The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation hosted its fourth annual gala and raised $30 million through a live auction. With his foundation, the actor follows his mission to protect the world’s last wild places, oceans, and endangered species. DiCaprio is also producing and supporting documentaries on these topics - films such as Virunga and The Ivory Game have been honored by Cinema for Peace with the International Green Film Award. The award was introduced as a kind of Green Oscar by DiCaprio and president Mikhail Gorbachev. Cinema for Peace and DiCaprio with his company Appian Way have joined forces to produce a film about Mikhail Gorbachev.

 

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Leonardo DiCaprio and Mikhail Gorbachev at Cinema for Peace Gala

 

The winner of this year’s International Green Film Award "The Ivory Game" deals with the effects of elephant poaching and ivory trade. Part of the money raised by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation on Wednesday will be donated to fighting elephant poaching.

 

 

 

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The Ivory Game
 

The documentary Film, directed by Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani deals with the ivory trade, which has become a global concern, pitting governments and environmental preservationalists against elephant poachers and Chinese ivory merchants.

 

 

 

The Forgotten Rohingya

 

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RANGOON - After years of turmoil under the military dictatorship in Myanmar, peace still seems to be a distant ideal for the country, as reports of the ongoing abuse and slaughter of the country’s Muslim minorities, the Rohingya, are being released from the UN. Despite the promising elections one and a half years ago, which lead to the new Democratic leadership under Nobel Peace Prize laureate and longtime opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, media and UN officials report human right atrocities. 

 

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In a message from house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi asked Cinema for Peace and artists to support democracy in Burma and the release of the comedian Zarganar. Cinema for Peace produced with Michael Mittermeier and Rex Bloomstein a documentary about the comedian with the title "This Prison Where I Live". Zarganar was released soon.

 

From 1962 until 2011, Myanmar (Burma) had been one of the world's worst military dictatorships. From 1989 to 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest, as to prevent her from assuming any political position. It was during this time that “The Lady”, as she is commonly called, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, making her one of the most famous political prisoners of the world. Cinema for Peace sent messages honored two films about her. Finally, in 2015, the laureate and her party, the National League of Democracy, won the national elections, making her the head of state. Unlike during her last election victory in 1990, the military did not prevent Suu Kyi from taking over government affairs. Worldwide, the country has been praised for its transition from a military dictatorship to a civilian democracy. 

Aung San Suu Kyi's father was a general who led Burma to independence and was assassinated when she was a child. After studying and working for the UN Secretary-General among others, she led the life of a housewife with two children in Oxford - when she had to travel suddenly back home because her mother was on her deathbed. She arrived in the middle of the students' and people's uprisings. When people recognized her, she was made against her will the leader of the people's movement.  

During the imprisonment, her husband suffered from terminal cancer. Aung San Suu Kyi faced the choice: to set herself free and live in exile, taking care of her dying husband and reunite with her children, or stay with her people: she had to make a heartbreaking choice as she had to follow her father's legacy and the duty to her people.

Now, a year since one of the world’s most famous prisoners came to power, it seems like there is no progress for the country’s equality. Statements released by the UN Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the Myanmarian government of continuing the violent treatment of the Rohingya Muslims and other ethnic minorities. The criticism, however, is not limited to the military, but also to Aung San Suu Kyi and her newly imposed government, as she has not worked on stopping human rights violations. Yet, The Lady emphasizes that her security forces are not behind the attacks and that she does not see the situation as drastic as the UN reports have stated. As she said to BBC: "I don't think there is ethnic cleansing going on," she said. "I think ethnic cleansing is too strong an expression to use for what is happening."

However, the extent of the problem is difficult to comprehend: In Myanmar, according to the UN, more than a million people are stateless, most of them Rohingya. They represent a religious minority, which is not accepted or tolerated in the Buddhist country. The Rohingya have no ID documents, hardly any access to the health and education system, and are not allowed to move freely within their homes. This also means that they have no way to defend themselves against legal violations of human rights - so many Rohingya victims are subjected to sexual abuse and blackmail by the police, and there have even been numerous reports of killings, torture and the use of individuals as human shields.

In an appeal to the UN Security Council, some dozens of Nobel laureates have called for a United Nations intervention against the violent persecution of the Rohingya, the "ethnic cleansing" and ongoing "crimes against humanity" in Myanmar. 

 

 

 

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This Prison Where I Live
 

Rex Bloomstein's documentary about going to Burma to see the jailed satirist Zarganar, who was detained for 35 years for mocking the military junta.

 

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Burma VJ
 

REPORTING FROM A CLOSED COUNTRY by Anders Østergaard tells the story of the 2007 protests in Burma by thousands of monks by using smuggled footage.

 

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The Lady
 

Luc Besson's story of Aung San Suu Kyi as she becomes the core of Burma's democracy movement, and her relationship with her husband, writer Michael Aris.

 

 

 

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The Venerable W
 

The film documents the controversial Buddhist leader Ashin Wirathu and a deadly anti-Muslim campaign in Myanmar.


 

 

 

 

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If you would like to join our global screening initiative and host your own human rights or environmental screening in your hometown, please feel free to contact us at info@cinemaforpeace.com.

 

 
 
 

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About Editor

Chatelin Bruno
(M21 Entertainment - filmfestivals.com)

The Editor's blog

 


 

 

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