Special Screening of New York Wild Film Festival Documentaries at NYU-Shanghai
On Saturday March 24 2018, the second New York Wildlife Film Festival and New York University Shanghai co-hosted a special one-day screening event. Entering its fifth year, the New York Wild Film Festival is the first international film festival in New York to showcase topics ranging from wildlife to conservation.
In this one-day festival, 12 outstanding documentaries of the New York Wildlife Film Festival in 2018 were screened, including Owl Dance, Break On Through, Black Mamba, Rare, Adaptation Bangladesh and Searching For Christmas Tree.
Students from New York University Shanghai made a series of posters to promote the festival on campus.
JANE, a documentary made from old footage that had not been shown to the public in the past fifty years, was the highlight of the festival. It features Dr. Jane Goodall, world-renowned primatologist, United Nations Peace Messenger, founder of the global Roots & Shoots environmental education net work, as a young aspiring scientist, making groundbreaking discoveries in the jungles of Gombe. JANE received the Best Documentary Film Award at the New York Wild Film Festival in 2018 and won the International Green Film Award, which is considered the “Green Oscar”.
New York University Shanghai invited a good number of wildlife photographers, directors of outstanding documentaries and representatives of environemntal non-profit organizations to participate in post-screening panel discussions.
After the screening of Jane, Ms. Tori Lynn Zwisler, Board Chair of Shanghai Roots & Shoots, shared with the audience her personal stories with Dr. Jane Goodall, whom she has known for nearly 20 years, followed by a brief introduction of Shanghai Roots & Shoots.
The documentary captured the exciting days Dr. Jane spent observing wild chimpanzees in Africa. It was edited from over 100 hours of raw footage taken by National Geographic’s Hugh van Lawick.
Not only did Dr. Jane discovered that chimpanzees, like humans, know how to make and use tools, her success in the male-dominant scientific research areas also inspired many more young women around the world to follow their dreams.
Some of the Shanghai Roots & Shoots volunteers who saw JANE shared their thoughts.
Lulin LIU: As a movie fan and nature lover, it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to attend the New York Wild Film Festival at New York University Shanghai. I really enjoyed the documentaries. A 19-year-old record-breaking female rock climber never ceases to challenge herself; Photographers travelling all over the world to take pictures of beautiful species. Through these documentaries, I felt people’s energy and dedication to their dreams. Nothing can be accomplished overnight and we should never give up.
Yunting ZHAO: The screening of documentaries and the post-screening panel discussions with the filming crews and experts on exploration, wildlife, and environmental conservation, met all my expectations for the event. There was a documentary on ice climbing (Searching for Christmas Tree). The film depicted the hard work of an ice climber who chose to conquer an icy waterfall near the Taihang Mountain in China. The icy waterfall resembled a Christmas tree. I was shocked and moved by the climber’s courage to keep trying. I also enjoyed flying the hydrogen “Peace Dove” balloons after the screening.
Tong ZHAO: I learned about the story of Dr. Jane Goodall at a very young age. People are more familiar with her professional achievements than her life experiences or her exploration experiences in Africa. Today, I was very lucky to have seen the documentary Jane at NYU Shanghai. I was impressed by the excellent production of the documentary and its amazing footage. It made me think more about my own life. Life is about joy and sorrow, birth and death. Animals share the same life-cycle with humans. Chimpanzees for instance also have sympathy and compassion, as evidenced by the fact that they mourn the loss of their family members and they take gental care of their children. They are not so different from humans in many ways. So what right do we have to take away their habitats or even their lives? Protecting the environment and protecting animals is protecting ourselves.
** Photo and picture copyrights: Tong ZHAO, Wenchun Wang, JGI, National Geographic, NYWFF