Azeri film-maker wins EBRD-sponsored prize for renewable energy short

By Vanora Bennett

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The three winners of the tvebiomovies 2014 competition for short films about the environment were each awarded a prize of US$ 1,500 at a Tuesday ceremony at the London headquarters of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The EBRD sponsors one of three categories – renewables – in which participants were invited to use creative and innovative ways to tell the story of renewable energy sources and their place in the world.
A total of 225 proposals from 61 countries were entered for tve’s annual short film competition this year. From these proposals, nine finalists’ films were selected and commissioned to go into production, before a public vote. The winner was the film with the most views on YouTube.
Huseyn Qulamov from Azerbaijan won the renewable energy category with his film, Greed, and was awarded his prize by EBRD Head of External Relations Anthony Williams. Huseyn’s entry clocked up an impressive 31,700 views on YouTube to beat Green Hope from Bulgaria and The Heartbeat of the Ocean from Chile and Mexico.
“Having a prize has really made me a bit more self-confident,” Qulamov said, thanking tve “for making this kind of competition and spreading this kind of idea all around the world. [Winning] also proved that in this age of globalization and the Internet everything is open to be learned – as I learned everything I know from the Internet, from people who share their knowledge.”
The competition’s other two categories are the WWF-UK Prize for a World with a Future and the INBAR Prize for bamboo and rattan.
Qulamov, who accepted his prize by Skype, said he had had no expectations of winning. But he had planned the process of shooting his post-apocalyptic movie immaculately, getting up before dawn to head out with a friend to spend three days gathering photos and videos for the project.
The industrialised landscapes of his native Azerbaijan had helped, he added wryly:
“We have some abandoned places like old factories from USSR times. We went to these places and they are places that you don’t need to add anything to. You just shoot, and it is already post-apocalyptic.”
The EBRD’s renewables prize is part of the Bank’s broader involvement in sustainable energy, according to Williams, who awarded the prize at a ceremony in the Bank’s Auditorium.
“Investment in renewable energy, in energy efficiency, in sustainable energy, in energy security -- is an integral part of the Bank’s transition mandate as it works to modernise economies in 35 emerging countries,” said Williams.
“Our involvement in eastern European and the former Soviet Union, where energy waste remains endemic and dependence on fossil fuels unacceptably high, has prompted the Bank to  significantly increase financing for sustainable energy projects, in energy efficiency and renewable energy – providing credits for wind farms, hydro power plants, biomass and solar energy.”
Expanding to work in Turkey and north Africa has brought more and very similar energy challenges, Williams said, adding: “It was not by chance that our very first investment in Turkey was in a wind farm.”
Sustainable energy investments now account for a third of the Bank’s annual financing, which totalled €8.9 billion last year. Since 2006, the EBRD has invested more than €15 billion on sustainable energy projects.
“We are determined to work further to reduce CO2 emissions in the power sector, lowering the impact on our environment,” Williams added – one more reason for the Bank to be happy to be able to award a prize for a film providing “compelling and imaginative insight into renewable energy”.
Other finalists:
Green Hope, Bulgaria:

The Heartbeat of the Ocean, Chile and Mexico:


tve is a collective name for Television for the Environment and Television Trust for the Environment. Television for the Environment is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales (registered office 46 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QJ, company number 1811236) and a registered charity (charity number 326585). Television Trust for the Environment is a registered charity (charity number 326539).
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