The film “Wings of Hope” is included in the 7th annual Cinema Verde International Environmental Film Festival in Gainesville, Florida. Film time is 6:45 on Friday, February 12. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at cinemaverde.org. Cinema Verde’s goal for the festival is to increase public awareness about environmental practices that enhance public health and that improve the quality of life for all persons. The Festival also serves as a forum for community organizations, businesses, and citizens to discuss ways to work together to create a sustainable culture.
Juvenile Harpy Eagle spotted on the nest during a routine monitoring expedition in 2013. Photo by Kai Reed.
“Wings of Hope,” is a 20-minute documentary that chronicles the re-discovery of a population of wild Harpy Eagles in the Maya Mountains of southern Belize. The documentary showcases the history of the BFREE and University of North Carolina, Wilmington initiative born from this discovery – the Integrated Community-based Harpy Eagle and Avian Conservation Program. Created by Emmy-award winning filmmakers, Richard and Carol Foster of Wildlife Film Productions, and narrated by Jacob Marlin, this film is rich with breath-taking footage of adult and juvenile Harpy eagles and other wildlife and vistas found in the pristine tropical forests of the Bladen Nature Reserve. Over the seven year duration of the project, the Fosters followed project trainees William Garcia, Liberato Pop, Alejandro Cholum and Thomas Pop as they work to learn about and ultimately save this rare bird and its diminishing habitat.
“The story captures the essence of BFREE’s mission. I think of it as a model for integrating science, education and conservation.” Jacob Marlin, Executive Director of BFREE.
In September 2015, the film was shown in schools and community centers throughout the Toledo District in order to raise awareness of the significance of continuing to protect wilderness areas like the Bladen Nature Reserve and the greater Maya Mountains.
Liberato Pop of Bladen Village was one of the project trainees and since that time, he has worked all over Belize doing bird research using his expertise gained from the years of experience he had as an avian technician for the project. Mr. Pop says of the film, “As an Avian Technician at BFREE, I am very excited about the Harpy Eagle film and the work we have done. I think that many students and parents will this video interesting and be willing to learn what we have in our protected areas.”
Project trainees include: Abidas Ash, Alejandro Cholum, Alan Romero, Frank Perez, Henry Perez, Liberato Pop, Macario Coy, Marlyn Cruz, Pedro Pop, Roni Florian, Sipriano Canti, Thomas Pop, William Garcia, and Wilfred Mutrie