ATP Film ‘Trees for Life’ Wins Best Short Documentary at Pomegranate Film Festival

TORONTO, Canada–The 20 minute film, "Trees for Life: The Story of Armenia Tree Project," was named Best Short Documentary at the Third Annual Pomegranate Film Festival in Toronto last month.

The Third Annual Pomegranate Film Festival was held on September 26-28, 2008 and featured 31 films, including "Burning Rome" directed by Robert Kechichian and "Hrant Dink: Heart of Two Nations" directed by Nouritza Matossian.

Armenia Tree Project (ATP) has been partnering with the Pomegranate Festival as part of its Green Initiative, which includes a donation to ATP to plant trees in Armenia that will offset the carbon emissions of flying guests to the event.

"Carbon dioxide is a leading contributor to the problem of climate change, so ATP is proud to work with the Pomegranate Festival to offset these emissions by planting trees in Armenia to improve the quality of the global environment," stated Development Officer Paul Yeghiayan, who represented ATP at the event.

The award-winning ATP documentary, "Trees for Life: The Story of Armenia Tree Project," was directed by Kennedy Wheatley of Los Angeles and it was produced for the 10th anniversary of the organization.

Narrated by David Dallakyan, a young boy from the rural village of Aygut, the film tells the story of ATP’s Backyard Nursery Micro-Enterprise Program, as well as the interrelated humanitarian programs that have turned this pilot project into an initiative recognized for an Energy Globe Award for Sustainability at the European Parliament this year.

"This film was truly a labor of love and I was honored to be invited by Carolyn Mugar to direct this film about the important work ATP is doing. And it is exciting that they have developed a model that other countries can follow," stated Kennedy Wheatley. "The people of Armenia were unbelievably generous to our crew–they instantly opened their homes and their hearts to us."

"The ATP staff was amazing too–they worked night and day along with us during our challenging shoot," added the director. "It is a great honor to have this film chosen as Best Short Documentary. It is a fitting tribute to Armenia Tree Project and its many beneficiaries."

The documentary was screened on the afternoon of September 25, where festival patrons were joined by hundreds of students from the ARS Day School in Toronto. "We were pleased that our students were able to view the ATP documentary since this program is so vital for Armenia’s future," stated Principal Armen Martirossian. "We hope the students will have the desire to support ATP and together we can build bridges for environmental education and stewardship in Armenia."

"On behalf of ATP, I would like to express our gratitude to the Pomegranate Film Festival and the Armenian community of Toronto for their ongoing support of our work in Armenia," concluded Yeghiayan.

Since 1994, Armenia Tree Project has planted and restored more than 2,000,000 trees and created hundreds of jobs for impoverished Armenia’s in tree-regeneration programs. The organization’s three tiered initiatives are tree planting, community development to reduce poverty and promote self-sufficiency, and environmental education to protect Armenia’s precious natural resources. For additional information, visit the web site www.armeniatree.org.

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