Yuri Vella's World receives first IUCN Award for the Environment (see also .pdf-doc)

Gland, Switzerland, 5 May 2003 (IUCN) - Liivo Niglas received the first ever IUCN Film Award for the Environment this weekend in Nyon, Switzer land. As part of the annual film festival Visions du Réel, a 5000CHF cash prize went
to the Estonian-born filmmaker for Yuri Vella's World (Juri Vella Maailm), a documentary focused on indigenous peoples and their struggle to maintain a healthy environment.

"This will help Yuri Vella to protect his world and buy some more reindeer," says Niglas, who intends to share his prize with those who made the film possible. His winning film is a stunning portrait of the poet, intellectual and reindeer breeder Yuri Vella, who is the moral community leader of the Forest Nenets, a semi-nomadic people in Western Siberia.

Niglas follows Vella's family life, recording Yuri's thoughts as he explains his origins and the history of his people by walking his land and recounting stories. The filmmaker excels in portraying how an individual on the international scene stands in defense of the Nenets, and illustrates environmental and cultural degradation.

The Festival's international jury which included former Swiss President, Ruth Dreifuss, found the film "to balance between the past and present", giving snapshots of both and following the impacts on society and nature due in part to the establishment of oil companies in the region. The Festival, which dates back to 1969, is one of the most prestigious documentary film
festivals in the world, and aims to promote independently created cinematographic and videographic works derived from the different documentary genres.

Miguel Araujo, IUCN Director of Corporate Strategy, Partnerships and Communication, awarded the prize to Niglas on Saturday, the final evening of the festival. Through this Award, IUCN is encouraging film-makers and festivals to reflect issues related to sustainable development in their work, and to promote high standards of environmental and sustainable development reporting.

Sustainable development is at the heart of IUCN's mission and mandate. Through its worldwide secretariat, IUCN c
ontributes to the implementation of a wide range of activities linking local action with global initiatives, and
involving local communities and indigenous peoples throughout the globe.

Liivo Niglas is 32 years old and teaches social anthropology at one of Europe's oldest universities in Tartu, Estonia. Yuri Vella's World is a 58-minute film in Khanti and Russian with English subtitles, it will be screened over the next few weeks in Poland, France, Russia, and the Netherlands. Niglas is currently working on a new film depicting his bicycle trip from Mongolia to Nepal. His previous films include But the Goats...?, 1998, and The Brigade, 2000. To purchase a copy of Yuri Vella's World, contact Liivo Niglas: tel: + 372-5200874 or email: liivon@hot.ee.