In the month of January, the land of Gorakshbhoomi (Gorakhpur) flooded with enthusiasm and energy as it hosted the first-ever Wildlife and Ecotourism Film Festival of Uttar Pradesh, which gave rise to enormous employment opportunities. The three days of celebrations were marked by a strong emphasis on respecting one’s heritage, place of employment, and culture. The Government of Uttar Pradesh is very sensitive towards heritage and environmental protection, organised it with an aim to deal with the growing threats of climate change.
The Gorakhpur festival was held on the theme of eco-tourism and became a partner in Uttar Pradesh’s first “Film for Humanity” series. More than 25 national and international organisations participated under the joint aegis of the Forest, Environment, and Climate Change Department. Gorakhpur Zoo and Heritage Foundation, an organisation active in the fields of wildlife and environmental protection, were the key participant of the said f estival.
At the inauguration, film actor Ravi Kishan Shukla, Member of Parliament from Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency of BJP, announced that it would be included in the calendar of Gorakhpur Mahotsav as an annual festival. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also awarded the Gorakhpur Ratna Samman from the main stage of the festival to Dr. Anita Agarwal, the Mentor of the Heritage Foundation, for her unprecedented services in the field of forest environment.
During the Gorakhpur Mahotsav, Divisional Forest Officer Dr. Harendra Singh lit the lamp at the inauguration. Films were screened to create awareness about the conservation of wildlife and the environment. In the start of the film festival, 25 films were screened. Broken Wings, and Ganga Dolphin were the most popular. Forest Officer Vikas Yadav said that the festival will be called as an annual festival under the “Film for Humanity” series. A question and answer session was held everyday post screening of movies.
The Chief Conservator of Forests, Dr.Bhimsen, says that with the joint efforts of the Forest Department, Gorakhpur Zoo, and Heritage Foundation, more than fifteen thousand school children were connected through competitions like films, essays, paintings, and quizzes. Dr. Anita Agarwal has emphasised the importance of Sanatan culture which has taught us the method of coordination of nature and culture.
Medical Officer Dr. Yogesh Pratap Singh also addressed the inaugural. DFO Vikas Yadav was honoured on the film festival stage along with various notable personalities like Dr. Anita Agarwal, Animal welfare activist Shivendra Yadav; Heritage Warriors convenor Mallika Mishra; Heritage Foundation member and activist of the Gali Band campaign Manish Choubey; and International dock stamp collector Ashwani Dubey, Wildlife photographer Anil Tiwari was instrumental in organizing the fest. Mr. R.D Pandey, an important and active member of 6 Foundation, had an unprecedented contribution in making this entire film festival complete success.
The media partners for this entire event were Café Social magazine, publication of Mumbai; Inbook Foundation; and Pashu Mitra magazine, a Chennai based publication. The entire event was also highly appreciated by the media channels. Radio jockeys Anurag and Bharti broadcasted the information related to the event on their radio channels, and also encouraged more and more people to register their presence at the event to gain more awareness about importance of conserving the wildlife and our environment.