The screening of the film Immuto at DEDI is followed by a discussion hosted by Ahmed Yassin, co-founder of Banlastic Egypt and hosting Social entrepreneur and former Minister of Environment Dr. Laila Iskandar and researcher Mohamed Younis. (Photo: Courtesy of Banlastic Egypt)
With a focus on plastic pollution, the films on the EcoKino platform inspire discussions on consumer behavior, corporate greed and the importance of limiting single-use plastic.
By Rowan El Shimi
It’s a hot summer day in July. Thirty or so youth gather at DEDI for the screening of The Recycling Myth, a documentary revealing the realities of global recycling efforts and how it’s more sinister than it seems.
This film takes a close look at an industry that is working to hide the consequences of the plastic problem rather than actually solve it. The film shows how garbage brokers illegally dump plastic waste abroad, industries that make money from incinerating garbage, and mafia networks that now make as much money from smuggling garbage as they do from human trafficking. The film also shows how some of the world’s largest consumer goods companies use recycling as an excuse to continue polluting without consequences.
“The title of the documentary, ‘The Recycling Myth’ made me want to know what the myth would be. I didn’t expect that recycling would be an industry for greenwashing and not a movement that works for supporting the environment. It’s manipulative and awful. I’m shocked by what I’ve watched,” Aya Fayez, a Mass Communication Student who attended the screening says.
Following the screening, a panel discussion took place led by Banlastic Egypt and hosting Abdelrahman Fahmy, green entrepreneur and co-founder of youthinkgreen in Egypt, and professor of architecture at Cairo University, Nabeel Elhady.
“I think the whole point behind the movie and the discussion is the consumption behavior this is the main driver behind the waste problem and the challenges. We have people living on this earth with very moderate and conservative consumption rates while others are consuming insanely,” Abdelrahman Fahmy says. “Consumption is the main driver behind the problems were living in and that’s where we need to start to make the change.”
“I believe films are one of the strongest communications methods to raise awareness because many people are more drawn toward visual communication, so I’m so happy with DEDI’s initiative which hopefully will raise awareness of a lot of topics before COP27,” he adds.
The screening was part of The Sustainability Documentaries Marathon which took place over the summer where each week, DEDI hosted a screening of one of the films available on its documentary film platform EcoKino and invited speakers relevant to the theme of each film to be part of the discussion.
The speakers, who graciously offered their time to engage with the youth attending the screenings, included university professors, researchers, entrepreneurs and professionals working in environmental organisations such as: Ahmed El-Dorgahmy (Climate Change Officer, UN Habitat), Youssra Abdelaziz (Coordinator of Plastic File, Ministry of Environment), Moemen Ahmed Rashed (Standards specialist at the Egyptian Organization for Standardization and Quality), Prof. Dr. Mona Abdel Rehim (Reasearcher at Packaging Materials department-National Research Centre), Mohamed Younis (Researcher at the Environmental Justice Unit at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights) and last but not least Dr. Laila Iskandar (Former Minister of State for Environmental Affairs and Chairperson and founding board member of CID Consulting).
EcoKino currently features four documentaries and seven short films about plastic waste and climate change.
The films are produced by WHY Foundation and Island Reach. All films are subtitled and dubbed into Arabic by Banlastic Egypt in collaboration with DEDI.
Organisations can borrow the films free of charge and host their own screenings.
The discussions following each film is an integral component of the screenings, as it serves to bring the themes discussed in the films home, and help answer the question of what can be done about this problem here on the ground in Egypt.
Far and wide
EcoKino has reached far and wide in its first six months. From two screenings at the Egyptian Youth Council in Cairo, to Aswan where Peace Makers Organisation hosted a screening in a public school and all the way to Arish in North-Sinai where Tree Foundation hosted three screenings.
The films have also been screened at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh and at the LCOY (Local Conference of Youth), where six screenings took place in Safaga, Luxor, Aswan, Fayoum, Marsa Matrouh and Alexandria.
Greenish Clubs also hosted a screening at Suez University in Ismailia.
The screening showed several of the short films available on EcoKino directly with no screening requests, along with one of the feature films Immuto. Produced by Island Reach Organisation and shown at COP26 in Glasgow, Immuto follows the stories of several changemakers living and working on the frontlines of rising sea levels and climate change.
Ending on a high note
After the successful screenings at DEDI with more participants applying to join on the registration link than the space can host, we ended the year with a screening in Alexandria in collaboration with Banlastic Egypt and hosted by the Anna Lindh Foundation.
We the Guinea Pigs, which explores the negative effects on plastic on reproduction and heath, was the film of choice, with more than 80 people attending despite the rainstorm at Egypt’s main Mediterranean city that day.
The discussion was moderated by Abdelkader El Khaligi, Co-founder of Banlastic, and invited Dr. Ahmed Abdelkader a consultant in research projects related to plastic waste minimization with a strong background in dealing with the plastic file and Dr. Mai Ramadan, a physician and researcher in the field of public health.
Amal Ghoneim, former area sales manager for a medical company spoke to DEDI after the screening.
“The film and discussion gave me a lot of new information and motivated me to take part in events like this and hopefully be a part of making change. Sometimes we read about these issues but when you watch a well-made documentary such as this one it adds more to your knowledge. It motivated me to read more about the subject and find more films that discuss green issues to further my knowledge.”
EcoKino continues to make films available for any organisations wishing to screen it. DEDI will also be organising an upcoming tour in nine Egyptian cities and towns to screen the films and help reach out to audiences.
This project was managed by DEDI’s project officer Youssra Fouda.