The project focuses on biodiversity conservation and animal welfare through stories from the activities of the Centre for Nature Conservation and Development (CCDA) and Four Paws Viet Wildlife Conservation Centre.

Telling specific stories

The Bear Conservation Centre in Ninh Binh Province, under Four Paws Viet, is raising 39 bears recovered from illegal captivity and obtained from the wildlife trade. Each bear has its own characteristics and story.

Nguyen Le Thuy Linh, communications manager of Four Paws Viet said: “In October 2020, we travelled nearly 1,500 km to rescue seven bears from two captivities in Binh Duong Province. The bears had no names and were distinguished only by their chip numbers as they had been locked in cages for about 10 years. We named our seven new friends Lam, La, Sang, Khe, Xoai, Oi and Dua. Most of them had been abused for bile, so they faced serious health and psychological problems. Sang lost an arm, Lam Lam was blind, Khe was severely malnourished, Oi suffered spondylosis, and La was extremely panicky and aggressive. After nearly a year, Khe could step outside the semi-wild area and drop himself in the pool. Oi and Dua have become inseparable close friends. These bears have been once again able to do the “things of bears” as if they had never had to face prison hell over the past ten years.”

Meanwhile, the Xuan Lien Nature Reserve in Thanh Hoa Province, which had a very high protection value, is facing the risk of some natural forest in the buffer zone being converted to production forests, mainly for acacia trees. This has caused loss of habitat for all species, ecological imbalance, degradation of water resources and increase in extreme natural disasters. In 2021, CCD has supported the reserve to plant new and additional 45 hectares with native tree species.

The CCD’s Director Nguyen Manh Ha said that communication activities have helped people realise how important the environment is for us and a sustainable living will be. In addition, the CCD has taken advantage of tourism as a propaganda and educational tool. The experiential tourism activities have contributed to raising public awareness of the nature’s values. Therefore, through this documentary project, CCD expects to have films that can spread the message of protecting the environment and nature.

Opening more doors for independent filmmakers

The project’s jury will choose two from the participating filmmakers. The deadline for submission will be 11:59 pm on January 24, 2021. Each selected filmmaker will receive a support amount of EUR7,000 (VND185 million) for the production of a documentary with a minimum length of 24 minutes and a maximum of 30 minutes, along with at least 15 photos for the purpose of propaganda. The films’ contents should be creative in storytelling, respect the truth and say no with made-up stories.

Director Phan Dang Di, a member of the jury, noted that this topic has been exploited and expressed attractively in the world. However, there have not been many documentaries reflecting this special segment. The filmmakers should have clear scripts to show their ideas and the topic easily.

Another member of the jury, People’s Artist Nguyen Nhu Vu, who was also former acting General Director of Vietnam Central Studio of Documentary Scientific Film, said the project is very attractive because, with supported budget, the films will be introduced widely at a well-known festival on environment that has been held by the Goethe Institute for over 20 years. In addition, they can be submitted to other film festivals. The filmmakers will have the chance to participate in two seminars, along with leading European documentary experts.

The project’s developers have believed in the power of documentaries in spreading knowledge and messages about animal welfare. Because the issue of animal welfare in Vietnam has not received adequate attention, the project hopes to tell real stories about a real problem.