The Power of Film: FIFAD Spotlight


The Power of Film: FIFAD Spotlight

The collaboration between the Diablerets International Alpine Film Festival (FIFAD) and the Villars Institute aims to amplify the transformative role that film can play as a conduit for action on climate change, by helping promote discussion and build bridges between generations.

Combining stunning visuals with spoken word, music and a good story, cinema has the power to elicit a range of emotional reactions from the viewer. By tapping into our shared humanity, filmmakers allow us to walk in the footsteps of their characters - and sometimes spur us into taking action ourselves.

It is the ability of film and cinema to do this that makes our collaboration with the Diablerets International Alpine Film Festival (FIFAD) so special.

We share the same values and missions. Over the last 50 years, FIFAD has spotlighted films which inspire us to protect nature, from small communities and biodiversity to vast landscapes. We share grave concerns about the effects of climate change, particularly in our mountains and the life - of all types - that they support. Together, our aim is to raise awareness among people of all ages about sustainable development, the preservation of the natural world and our cultural heritage.

From Summit to Screening Room

Far from being a small genre in the greater cinema world, mountaineer filmmaking has grown so much that in 2000 FIFAD became one of the founding members of the International Alliance for Mountain Film, which has 27 members across 20 countries.

Over the years, groundbreaking films about our mountains have become a bellwether for stories about climate and nature. Nowhere more clearly do we see this than in powerful documentaries that show how it affects the lives of the people who live and depend on the mountains, the fragile natural balance of mountain ecosystems, or the loss of glaciers from these towering peaks.

Inspired by the storytelling power of film, this year’s edition will once again provide a platform for people of all ages, as well as film and mountain professionals, to have conversations that will raise awareness of solutions for global warming and climate change.

Villars Fellows at the Heart of FIFAD 

There are three main ways in which our collaboration supports this. The first is a bivouac experience for our Villars Fellows, which occurs in parallel to the festival. In early August, this year’s group of young Fellows undertook a hike on Glacier 3000 and set up camp for one night. Part of the experience was also the screening of a movie, to help those present to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of preserving this glacier and others like it.

With this in mind, our Fellows decamped, ensuring they left no trace of their passage, dismantling the bivouac and cleaning up before they descended back down the mountain.

Secondly, at the festival itself we are proud to sponsor the Youth Prize, an award for which the Fellows nominate their favourite film from the event. For this year’s group, being part of the Youth Jury provided them with a platform to have their voices heard, and promoted intergenerational collaboration alongside other jury members and festival participants.

Thirdly, the Villars Institute is co-hosting a “Best of by FIFAD” event in Villars-sur-Ollon to showcase the prize-winning films from the Festival and serve as a platform for further dialogue with expert panels, guest speakers, and young voices from among the Villars Fellows community.

Film has the power to hold us in its grip, to rouse and stir us. We hope this new collaboration with FIFAD can tap into that power, enabling new conversations and action to protect our shared heritage, both in our mountains and the world beyond.

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