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TENT begins filming ‘Belize Uncovered’ – a new docuseries

The European Nature Trust, in collaboration with production company Feste Films, has begun filming a new four-part documentary series on Belize.

With production running from early January to mid-March 2022, this philanthropically funded work will uncover the wonder of Belize’s natural world, while exploring the political, economic and environmental challenges facing Central America’s only English-speaking nation.

It is often said that the depth of Belize’s natural history is on a par with the Amazon rainforest, making it a true “Eden” with over 500 bird species, 150 mammals, 150 amphibians and reptiles, over 550 fish and more than 3,400 plant species. Over 60% of Belize’s landmass is currently wild and undeveloped; a mix of extensive broadleaf jungle, pine forest, wetland, mangrove, savannah and an offshore barrier reef. With a tropical climate, seasonal rains, fertile soils and oceanic wonders; this really is a country of exemplary natural wealth, and the little-known ‘jewel in the crown’ of Mesoamerica. However, its natural resources are constantly at risk of exploitation from industrial farming, logging, mineral extraction, wildlife poaching, mining, unsustainable fishing and damage to the reef system.

We go in search of Belize’s magnificent wildlife, from the elusive jaguar and agile spider monkey to the threatened scarlet macaw and two species of crocodile. We meet passionate conservation biologists and community members who strive daily to protect Belize’s terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Our presenter will meet participants at 'Belize 2022’ – the first ever environmental symposium in Belize. Along the way we meet the film producer, wine-grower and successful Belize hotelier Francis Ford Coppola.

We will visit remote Mayan settlements and scale temples, explore hidden sinkholes and remote river systems, dive newly discovered offshore reefs and hike the hidden caves of the Chiquibul Forest. We will try our hand at offshore fly fishing whilst learning more about the threats to Belize’s reef ecosystem. We will enjoy a variety of local cuisines, visit a niche rum distillery and explore the origins of the ancient cocoa and chocolate-making tradition.

A critical juncture

Whilst the world, post Covid-19, is finding its feet, what does the future hold for Belize’s abundant natural resources? And, what does the future hold for the nation’s resourceful and resilient people? Will Belize follow the path of many developed nations, depleting its natural resources in a rush for economic growth or, will it take a lead from more ‘conscious’ countries by growing a sustainable, green economy, respecting nature and making the most of its financially viable, natural carbon assets (forests, mangroves, reefs)? For the new government, the question is: will they embrace change and be able to improve living standards for its citizens, whilst protecting this ‘garden of Eden’?

Filmmaking with purpose

This informative and educational series will be a charitable production. Revenues from distribution agreements focused on the Americas and Europe, will be directed to conservation projects in Belize.  It’s anticipated that the series will further inspire Belizeans to feel proud of their natural heritage along with an increased willingness and desire to protect it. The production will also help demonstrate the richness and importance of Belize’s environmental wealth and related ecosystem services to its neighbours. Curious and conscious viewers from around the world will feel a greater urge to visit Belize. Philanthropists and foundations will hopefully be inspired and encouraged to engage with local conservation projects, as has been the case in Africa for many decades. The series will also highlight the opportunity for inward investment, in particular around food processing, leading to a more diverse economy.

Our presenter:

Gelareh Darabi is an award-winning, Canadian-British-Iranian correspondent and documentary filmmaker. She has worked internationally as a featured science and environment correspondent with Al Jazeera English and the National Geographic Channel. Gelareh has reported across six continents, in over 20 countries, including Haiti, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and has covered major environmental crises such as deforestation in the Amazon rainforest and the Australia bush fires.

Feste Films:

Feste Films is the brainchild of career cameraman, Alex Ellis, who has built a team of innovative Belizeans. The elite production agency focuses on storytelling through arresting imagery. Their work reflects a passion for environmental protection, and a core value of effective positive change within Belize and beyond.

Discover TENT's work in Belize

The European Nature Trust is committed to supporting the protection of Belize's nature and wildlife. Our efforts until now have been focused on a number of small grants to a variety of wildlife foundations, including Friends for Conservation and Development. In January 2022, TENT will co-host the conservation symposium, 'Belize 2022', bringing together over 45 delegates to "Celebrate, Collaborate & Conserve" the nation's wild nature.
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