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Film screening of “Walls and the Tiger,” a powerful illustration of sustainability issues

On 14 April, the independent documentary “Walls and the Tiger” was shown in Brussels at the United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC)’s monthly Cine-ONU film screening in Brussels.

The film, directed by Sushma Kallam, tells the story of a rural farmer community in South India struggling against the seizure and sale of their land by government and corporate land-grabbers for the construction of heavily polluting new coal-powered fuel plants and industrial parks in “special economic zones.”

After the film, Maryam Namir-Fuller, Special Advisor to UNEP’s Executive Director on Post-2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), joined Kallam for a lively and inspiring Q&A session which included a discussion on the Indian director’s personal motivations and the relevance of the film’s issues to UNEP’s work.

Maryam Niamir-Fuller commented that "the issues in this film are highlighted at a crucial time to galvanize our efforts via the SDG's - in both Europe and the developing world." The film “illustrates so many sustainability issues: from government to environment and consumerism." The expert on SDGs even called for a sequel.

The Director also read out a specially prepared message from the farmers featured in the film; “I can't explain the morale boost this has given them,” she later said.

Regarding the meaning behind the film’s title, Sushma explained, “the tiger represents South India. How does the tiger react as the walls of development close in?” She explained that, just as the tiger has become extinct as its habitat was taken over in the name of unsustainable practices, the same is happening to the villagers in her documentary.

UNEP’s Liaison Office to the EU had initiated this successful screening of the film before a packed cinema audience of 300 people, in an effort to communicate on sustainable development and raise awareness of the post-2015 agenda.

Some messages from the moved audience: “Can't express in 140 how inspiring @WallsAndTiger and film director Sushma Kallam are. Beautiful screening, beautiful human being @CineONU”

@WallsAndTiger: "#Development should be the kind the society supports" - great evening thanks to @CineONU

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