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The FICMA: More than just a festival, we are a public service

The International Environmental Film Festival (FICMA) was founded in Barcelona, Spain, in 1993 and has been held every year since then without exception.

Second only to the festival in Washington, the FICMA is the longest running environmental film festival in the world and stands as the oldest of its kind in Europe. It is the only environmental film festival to hold competitions which do not accept productions that are more than a year old. This places it ahead of other festivals of this type. The FICMA is an internationally recognized festival and in the year 2000 received the Princes' Award (a European Community prize awarded by the European Agency for the Environment of the EC and the Princes' Award Foundation).

The FICMA is the founder of the largest and most important global network of festivals of this kind: The EFFN (Environmental Film Festival Network). The EFFN is made up of festivals in many countries such as the United States, Argentina, Peru, Spain, Portugal, Ghana, Israel, France and Mexico, and it aims to maintain a solidarity and a collaborative relationship between different events as well as being an international reference point for the latest news on cinema and the environment on the web.

The FICMA has given the cinema an important role in educating, raising awareness and informing, at the same time as entertaining. The FICMA up-holds and defends the idea that "the environment is a human right", a common good that has a great relevance and importance for our life and that of the planet. Ecology, culture, economics, migrations, wars, the widespread felling of forests and social issues, amongst many many others, are the essence of why this festival was created and continues to thrive until the present day.

It has prompted joint ventures with the Robert Redford Foundation and the Sundance Film Festival, with Tree Media (Leonardo DiCaprio's production company) editing a DVD for free distribution with two short films produced by the actor. It actively collaborates in teaching and education through the world's largest video library (which has over 4,000 productions courtesy of the authors and producers themselves).

During the 18 years of FICMA, many people in the world of politics, human rights and world cinema have come together to give their support, their solidarity and to contribute to the project. Among them include "our sponsors and ambassadors"; the actors Martin Sheen, Daryl Hannah and Daphne Zuniga. We have also had the honor of sharing with Goldie Hawn, Fernando Trueba, Hebe de Bonafini, Jeremy Irons, Charris Ford, Steve Macurry, Jorge Preloran, Paco Feria, Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Icíar Bollaín, Lola Dueñas, Barbara Williams, María Miró and Ingrid Rubio, as well as to actively interact with organizations like Green Cross International, Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Greenpeace International, The Cousteau Foundation and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The FICMA was also the first festival to launch a procurement policy, by involving global television networks such as the National Geographic Channel, the Discovery Channel, HBO, TVE, Odyssey and Arte, among many others.

Viewed as a worrying and unwelcome project by some and as a necessary and healthy one by others, the FICMA has taken its first steps. Over the years, its progress is becoming an internationally recognized and referenced reality. Today, almost two decades after its creation, we can now say that the International Environmental Film Festival, popularly known as FICMA, is more than a reality, it is a necessary and committed public service.

Thank you to all those who, in one way or another, have made it and continue to make it possible.

Claudio Lauria (President and Founder)