‘And the award for best fiction documentary goes to…’

The United Nations Development Programme, helmed by New Zealander Helen Clark has won a film award for a documentary about melting Himalayan glaciers, despite the inconvenient truth revealed last week that Himalayan glaciers have been growing, not melting.

The UNDP film crew was fortunate indeed to locate melting glaciers, although one cannot help but be reminded of another infamous climate change documentary from Walt Disney where reluctant lemmings were chased off cliffs into Artic meltwater to prove a non-existent point in what may be a moment of historic cinematic irony.

Presumably no glaciers were actually harmed during the filming of Himalayan Meltdown.

NDP’s Himalayan Meltdown wins top prize at International Film Festival

Houston, Texas, 23 April 2012 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) film Himalayan Meltdown won the prestigious Platinum Award in the broadcast documentary category last weekend at the 45th Annual Worldfest International Film Festival, the oldest independent film festival in the world.

The one-hour film examines the shrinking glaciers of the Himalayas and the effects they have on the lives and livelihoods of billions of people in Asia. The movie illustrates solutions, small and large, simple and technologically complex, for coping in a changing environment that can make the difference between survival and disappearance.

Revealed: The Himalayan Meltdown aired on Discovery Channel Asia last year, and was produced by UNDP to examine the human development impact of the glacial ice melt on communities in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India and Nepal. It shows the plight of the affected countries and the ways they are adapting, adjusting and preparing for tomorrow’s inevitable changes in the Himalayan glaciers.

“This film highlights the challenges faced by those exposed to the effects of the Himalayan glacial melt in building resilience to the impact of climate change, and the solutions they are pursuing at the local level”, said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. “UNDP is honoured by the award and hopes the film will help stimulate a stronger international response to meeting the challenges of climate change and a stronger commitment to achieving sustainable development. The recognition the film is receiving is especially timely in the lead up to the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June.”

“We wanted to make this movie because the glacial ice melt in the Himalayas is already altering lives and could potentially affect billions of people,” said UNDP Communications Advisor for Asia Pacific and Himalayan Meltdown Executive Producer Cherie Hart, who accepted the award on behalf of UNDP. “The film shows the ingenuity and resourcefulness of communities that are struggling to survive.”

As part of the week-long film festival in Houston, the WorldFest competition includes the following categories: TV Production, Documentary, Corporate & Business Films, Student & Experimental, TV Commercials, Film & Video Production, Music Videos, New Media (Interactive & Web Sites) and unproduced Screenplays. Himalayan Meltdown won the highest award, the Platinum Prize, in the broadcast documentary category.

According to Himalayan Meltdown, developing countries are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, but are less able to afford to adapt to it.  For them, the future is now – they must already adapt to the changing climate and prepare for an uncertain tomorrow.

The film offers examples of how countries and communities affected by the Himalayan glacier melt are responding to the problems. Technological advances from leading glaciologists, and experts at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, NASA and UNDP present insights into what research and applications are in progress and what still needs to be done for countries to address the Himalayan ice melt.