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Christian Aid’s web-doc ‘Big River Rising’ nominated for a Green Award at the Sheffield Doc Festival

Sheffield Film Festival Green Award Etmb

21 May 2013 - The internationally acclaimed Sheffield Doc Festival has nominated Big River Rising, an interactive documentary produced by international development agency Christian Aid, for a Green Award, its category to honour documentaries addressing major environmental challenges.

The web-documentary, which will screen at the festival from 12- 16 June 2013, was shot in the Philippines during the dramatic August 2012 monsoon deluge, and demonstrates the importance of science in helping slum dwellers in Manila cope with flooding that claims innocent lives every year. 

The severe monsoon weather caused flooding throughout the Manila metropolis and forced more than 700,000 people to evacuate. Big River Rising uses a combination of photography, text, graphics, audio and video, to tell the story of a poor riverside community forced to flee their shantytown homes. 

The web-doc, also shortlisted for a One World Media Award this year, follows mother-of-five Belen de Guzman, a trained river monitor, as she helps coordinate the slum’s evacuation while her own home disappears beneath the floodwaters.

It explores how scientists are working with Christian Aid and local partner organisations to train poor communities, like Belen’s, to understand their geological environment, the hazards they face and their local chaotic weather systems. They are encouraged to develop life-saving early warning systems and community evacuation plans, and to lobby the Filipino government for lasting solutions.

Emma Wigley, co-producer and multimedia officer at Christian Aid said: ‘It was a surprise and pleasure to be invited to show Big River Rising at the Sheffield Doc Festival and to be nominated for their Green Award. Online documentaries provide a great opportunity for organisations with small budgets, like Christian Aid, to communicate and explore important but complex subjects.

‘The work our partners are doing in the Philippines, combining science with disaster resilience, is truly inspiring and an innovative approach to development. We hope we have been able to communicate that, as well as giving a voice to the communities we serve.’   

Big River Rising was made with the help of the Manila Observatory, Marine Science Institute, National Institute of Geological Sciences, and Storyplanet, a multimedia publishing platform, which hosted the web-doc free of charge. It was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID).

Funding from UK aid helps support Christian Aid partnerships such as those in the Philippines with scientists, and groups representing the urban poor. You can watch Big River Rising via Christian Aid’s website christianaid.org.uk/bigriverrising

If you would like further information please contact Emma Wigley on 0207 523 2444 or email ewigley@christian-aid.org. Call the 24 hour press duty phone on 07850 242950


Notes to editors:

1. The UK government has committed to making disaster resilience a central element of its work through the Department for International Development (DFID).  DFID has taken a leadership role, developing ideas into practical action and committing resources to its implementation. DFID ensures its humanitarian responses support long term resilience and development work, and deliver the right results, along with value for money for the UK taxpayer. One of the ways DFID achieves this is through its funding to experienced organisations such as Christian Aid.

2. Storyplanet is a new type of publishing platform that allows anyone to easily build interactive content with video, photos, audio, text and graphics. Storyplanet is currently in beta and free to use.  https://www.storyplanet.com/index

3. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around some 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

4. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. We believe that the underlying causes of poverty were made by, and can be ended by, human action. Our strategy for building the power of us all to end poverty is embodied in a new report ‘Partnership for Change’: http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/2012_strategy.pdf

5. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 125 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.  Further details at http://actalliance.org

6. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

7. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk