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News Release

Mining-related Films at Planet In Focus Film Festival, Toronto

MiningWatch Canada is sponsoring two films at this years’ Planet in Focus environmental film festival in Toronto. Jenny Sharman, director of "The Curse of Copper", will be present to discuss the film, and Andy Altilia, a member of the Hamilton-based Guatemala solidarity group Compañer@s North-South, will be present to discuss "Sipakapa No Se Vende". Obviously we are encouraging people to attend these films, but please check out the exciting program for the entire festival.

Friday, November 3, 2006
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto, Ontario

Sipakapa is Not for Sale (Sipakapa No Se Vende)

by Álvaro Revenga, Guatemala, documentary, 2005 - 56 mins.
(Spanish with English subtitles)
Toronto Premiere

Mayan Guatemalans democratically say no to an open-pit mine.

In 2005, a Canadian/American transnational named Montana Exploradora received US$45 million from the World Bank to build an open pit mine in Guatemala. In response, the Maya people of the Sipakapa region held community meetings and resoundingly said "no". From meeting halls to street demonstrations, the people exercised their democratic rights and fought the mine legally.

"Sipakapa no se vende" analyzes the debate over mining exploitation by filming representatives of the mining company as well as the Sipakapan Maya. However, the larger issue is the Sipakapan battle to preserve their autonomy from foreign commercial interests. Their fight offers a hopeful example to other indigenous people around the world who refuse to be victims.

Born in 1974 in Madrid, Spain, Álvaro Revenga attended the University Complutense in Madrid and received his masters in Human Rights, Rights of Immigration.

His latest project, "Sipakapa No Se Vende", Álvaro aims to give voice to the problems faced by the residence of the Mayan town. The themes in this documentary are very controversial ones in Guatemala during the years 2005 and 2006.

The Curse of Copper

by Jenny Sharman, England, documentary, 2006 - 34 mins.
(English and Spanish with English subtitles)
World Premiere

Ecuadorians battle a Canadian company over mining in their rainforest.

Canada is the biggest investor in global mining, and Vancouver's Ascendant Copper plans to open a mine in the Ecuadorian rainforest, one of the world's most threatened biodiversity hotspots. According to local citizens, the mine would destroy the precious ecosystem and disrupt their lives. Already, concerned citizens face death threats, physical intimidation and an atmosphere of far, attributed to CODEGAM, a P.R. front financed by Ascendant. "The Curse of Copper" follows the battle between a profit-driven company and villagers who simply want to maintain their life and ancient home.

Jenny was born and brought up in Africa where she gained her passion and love for the environment and wildlife. After a career in sports and wildlife television making, she is now specializing in films that educate and spread awareness of global environmental and sustainable development issues.

Tickets Now on Sale!

Tickets for Planet in Focus are now on sale. The 2006 festival runs from November 1 to 5 and will feature over 80 films from across Canada and around the world. Screenings take place at the Royal Ontario Museum and Innis College. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students/seniors, and $5 for children.

This year, the festival is proud to launch a new Spotlight Programme. The retrospective, Toronto in the Moving Image Since the Dawn of Cinema to the Present, will portray the City of Toronto as an evolving work in progress as recorded through the cinematic lens.

Global urban concerns will be featured alongside other environmental issues in animated films, edgy documentaries, and dramas that make up the range of compelling Canadian and international works from Azerbaijan, Australia, Bhutan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, India, Italy, Israel, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, Russia, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, U.S.A. and Zambia.

The annual festival also includes an Eco-Fair, panel discussions, children’s films, and an Organic Pancake Breakfast.

For the full festival schedule, film and event descriptions, and to buy tickets, visit www.planetinfocus.org.

Tickets may also be purchased by phone at 416-968-FILM (3456) or in person at the box office located at the Manulife Centre, 55 Bloor St. West (Main Floor, North Entrance).