Among the many partners of Cinema e Ambiente Avezzano we had the pleasure to have the WWF in the person of Antonello Santilli, president of the aggregated organization of WWF Abruzzo, provincial section of WWF Italy. As it is known, the WWF is the world’s largest organization for the conservation of nature, habitats and endangered species. Through the help of citizens and the involvement of businesses and institutions, contributes incisively to the conservation of natural systems in Italy and worldwide. For us, Cinema e Ambiente Avezzano has been an honor to have had the opportunity, in recent years, to have the support of such an important institution.
Hi Antonello! How important do you think a festival of this kind with an environmental theme is in a city like Avezzano?
The Cinema e Ambiente festival is very important for the city of Avezzano because environmental issues are the most important themes that cities and people have to face at the moment. Unfortunately, Avezzano has lagged behind in many areas and one of these areas is precisely the environmental theme. So having an event like this that can arouse the critical spirit of citizens is really important.
You’ve said that Avezzano has lagged a bit behind on this environmental issue. Why in your opinion?
The city of Avezzano and its citizens have a very pragmatic spirit, tied very much to the economy of the area. We have roots in agriculture, we have roots in commerce, so the citizens are used to thinking a lot about the economic aspects of life and not about the social and other aspects, among which are the environmental ones. So Avezzano is behind on many environmental issues, such as sustainable mobility, land use, air pollution, and for this reason we at WWF are trying in recent years to foster a spirit of solidarity, a spirit that looks more to the future of the city than to the present.
What is the youth response you have observed towards the festival?
The response of young people to this event in my opinion has been important. At all the screenings there was a good participation, especially at the evening screenings. In the Friday screening, for example, I saw a great involvement on the part of the young people and I was very happy because it is from them that change starts.
So, in your opinion, cinema can be a great vehicle for raising awareness among young people?
Environmental cinema is certainly one of the greatest and most important vehicles for raising awareness among young people. Of course, with images, all the principles that we try to bring forward in the social issues of the environment remain more impressed. When you see the image of a broken mountain, when you see the images of elephant tusks, as for example happened in one of the evening screenings, I think that the concept manages to enter better into people’s minds, especially young people.
Regarding the work you do with WWF, what kind of relationship was there in the sponsorship with Cinema e Ambiente?
The national WWF and also the local WWF of which I am a representative was very happy to support, through patronage, this event of Cinema e Ambiente Avezzano. We appreciated very much the expertise in dealing with the issues and in choosing documentaries, both in this event, but already in the previous one in 2019, so we were happy and judge this partnership, a partnership to be continued in the future, hoping that there will be the next editions of the festival, as I wish it to the association.
What is your wish for the future?
My wish for the future, which by the way is a big wish that I make both to the association and to the event of Cinema e Ambiente and to the city of Avezzano, but also to all the people, because this is to be extended to the whole world, is that in the coming years we will be able to do a good job, a good job of raising awareness, a good job of educating people so that we can preserve our planet and bring it as a dowry for future generations.
We thank Antonello Santilli and look forward to continuing the strong bond between WWF and our festival.