• The theme of the sixth edition of the CMS VATAVARAN competitive Film Festival was Biodiversity. The jury consisting of 37 members selected 68 films for nominations (51 Indian & 17 international films) out of more than 300 entries for the film festival from 15 nations of the world. The 2011 VATAVARAN happened to be in a new avatar as the Indian audiences for the first time came face to face with foreign commissioners, international co-production houses during the Asian Filmmakers Summit, which was held as part of CMS VATAVARAN.
  • The fourth CMS VATAVARAN Environment and Wildlife Travelling Film Festival and Environment Forum’s theme was Climate Change and Sustainable Technologies. Over 400 films were screened in 8 cities at multiple venues. Series of panel discussion on the theme “Confronting Climate Change: Towards Carbon Neutral Indian Cities” were organized across these cities.
  • The fifth CMS VATAVARAN Competitive Film Festival’s theme was Climate Change and Sustainable Technologies. The festival attracted 366 entries from 20 Indian states and 23 foreign countries. Twenty two programmes were organised including workshop on confronting climate change, international environmental journalists congress, seminar on eco-tourism and climate change primer for teachers.
  • The third Travelling Film Festival, 2008-2009, held in eight cities (with the highlight on climate change) screened 304 films over 24 days. Seminars, symposiums, technical workshops, painting competitions, exhibitions, games, talks and eco-trips were held. Six national and 51 state partners lent support and 80,000 participants attended.
  • Awards for technical excellence and the Young Environmental Journalist Award were initiated. Based on climate change, the festival drew 275 entries from 18 Indian states and 18 countries. Workshops, panel discussions, exhibitions, summits, and a seminar on the state of Indian rivers were also held. Noted filmmaker Shyam Benegal was the jury chairperson
  • The Travelling Festival went overseas to Abu Dhabi and Sao Paulo apart from touring Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kashmir, Kolkata, Pune, Ranchi and Sirmour.
  • The third CMS VATAVARAN Competitive Film Festival received 244 entries in various environment and wildlife categories. The festival theme was forest for life and 5,000 people attended. There were 134 new filmmakers and nine awards worth INR 10 lakhs. The Steering Committee was chaired by Dr. Karan Singh, eminent scholar and a member of parliament, and the final jury was headed by Shyam Benegal.
  • The first Travelling Festival of CMS VATAVARAN Film Festival went to Chennai, Coimbatore and Mumbai. People began recognising and supporting the CMS VATAVARAN environment awareness movement.
  • The second CMS VATAVARAN Competitive Film Festival became biennial, it saw 154 entries and a year round outreach programmes. CMS and UNEP instituted an award ‘Prithvi Ratna’ for extraordinary contribution to wildlife filmmaking and natural history. The festival celebrated water for life theme
  • India’s one and only environment and wildlife Film Festival – CMS VATAVARAN - began its maiden run. It served a dual purpose – one, generating awareness on environmental issues, and, two, lending recognition to the endeavours of environment and wildlife filmmakers. The initiative was supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India

CMS VATAVARAN: An ideal to make the world better

Ideals are abstract. In 2002, CMS VATAVARAN committed itself to a process animated by a few, really abstract, ideals. Even as the natural world seemed to reach the end of its carrying capacity, environmental concern seemed restricted to a few. But how could that be? Why was it so? What could be done?

CMS VATAVARAN took the film festival route. Take an affective medium, create a platform for practitioners to interact with people, make the entire effort a collaboration. The ideals were out of the bag. Why couldn’t environmental issues be highlighted in a way understood by all? Why couldn’t the practitioners behind the lens get their due? Why couldn’t the craft itself be stimulated?

We wanted everybody in it: individuals, government departments, corporates, scientific institutions, colleges and universities - whoever dealt, in their various capacities, with questions of sustainability, technology and policy-making.

Today, CMS VATAVARAN festival has become one of the most prestigious film festivals across the globe and has successfully positioned India as a vibrant destination for environment and wildlife filmmaking. The last edition of the festival held in 2011 is evidence of the fact that the festival has grown immensely not only in size but in significance. CMS VATAVARAN 2011 focusing on the theme of biodiversity received 300 entries from 27 nations of the world. It happened to be in a new avatar as the Indian audiences for the first time came face to face with foreign commissioners, international co-production houses during the Asian Filmmakers Summit, which was held as part of CMS VATAVARAN.

Do you still say ideals are abstract? Or they can’t be concretised, put into practice? We have done it and will continue to do so....


A febrile practice: That's life

The practice itself has evolved, over time. Yes, we did begin with films. The format then turned rhizomic. To films, were added other interactive formats: discussions, seminars, hands-on training.

In 2004, CMS VATAVARAN turned mobile. We also began a travelling festival. We had to. The travelling festival was a response to urgent and repeated requests from participants and partners associated with the main competitive festival organised in New Delhi. They believed, rightly, that the festival’s vast panorama was not being shared with people in other cities. How could a veritable wealth of expertise and creative experiences not be shared?

So the first CMS VATAVARAN Environment & Wildlife Travelling Film Festival and Forum was organised in 2004 in Chennai. Since then, 34 festivals have been organised in 27 cities. This was possible only with overwhelming participation from cities, the lavish support of state governments, local administrations, industries and organisations and unbound public enthusiasm.

The travelling festival has now become an intrinsic part of the film festival and environment forum fabric and is held every alternate year. The Environment Forum has successfully created a strong pan-India network of environmental groups, schools, colleges, eco-clubs and NGOs in the country. Ideals are abstract, but they are necessary, too. They can be transformed into a felt experience, but can get only as febrile as the passion that pushes it. The questions that provoked us a decade ago remain. CMS VATAVARAN remains resolute.


Purposive platform

Who can participate to make the CMS VATAVARAN travelling film festival a success?
Everybody else, and you.
Development Sector Organisations working on environment and sustainable development, climate change, livelihoods, ecotourism, natural heritage, energy, water, agriculture and sustainable technologies.

Corporate Sector and Industries
Industries in the areas of power, renewable energy, water, waste management, transport, food grains, tourism, film and television, carbon trading, real estate and buildings.

Government – Central and State
Pollution control boards, municipal corporations and councils, state councils for science and technology, forest, environment and wildlife departments, etc.

Local, regional and national filmmakers from the fields of science, natural history and conservation filmmaking.

Regional, national and international journalists from print, electronic and new media.

Teachers, professors, researchers, principals and vice chancellors.

Mass Communication, journalism, environmental sciences, engineering and management.

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