CESAM Documentary Wins Gold at International Film Festival in Africa

Da esquerda para a direita: Amadeu Soares (CESAM), cônsul português na África do Sul, sua mulher e Joaquim Ferreira (CESAM) Créditos: CESAM

From left to right: Prof. Amadeu Soares (CESAM), Dr. Jorge de Sampayo, Consul-General of Portugal in Cape Town, his wife Mariana de Sampayo, and Dr. Joaquim Ferreira (CESAM) Credits: CESAM

The documentary “ECOMARE – Research and Rescue of Marine Species,” co-produced by CESAM and Play Solutions – Audiovisual Productions, won the first prize (Gold Award) in the Wildlife – Ocean and Forests category at the International Tourism Film Festival Africa (ITFFA).

The festival took place from May 2nd to 6th in Cape Town, South Africa. This is the fifth edition of a festival that has received over 3000 submissions from 97 different countries since its first edition. This year, nearly 4000 audiovisual contents from 59 countries were in competition, and 378 contents from 59 different countries were accepted for the competitive phase.

This documentary portrays the daily life of ECOMARE, Laboratory for Innovation and Sustainability of Marine Biological Resources at the University of Aveiro. It’s a facility located in Gafanha da Nazaré, unique at the national level, combining marine science research with a center for research and rehabilitation of marine animals.

Produced for RTP (Rádio e Televisão de Portugal) as part of the consultation of audiovisual content with production companies, this documentary premiered in October 2022 on RTP 1 and was subsequently broadcasted on RTP Internacional and RTP África.

According to Professor Amadeu Soares, current Coordinator of CESAM and co-founder of the concept and the first responsible for Ecomare, this international recognition holds multiple meanings: “It attests to the quality of CESAM’s communication and outreach team and demonstrates the success of the strategic alliance between CESAM and the production company, Play Solutions Audiovisual.”

He also highlights that “the award is given for the production quality, script, and content of the documentary about the Ecomare facility, 15 years after presenting the initial idea to the then university administration. ECOMARE, which obviously wouldn’t exist without the University of Aveiro’s investment, initiated in 2008 and 2009 by Vice-Rectors Francisco Vaz and Fernando Tavares Rocha, and the university leadership of Prof. Helena Nazaré, to whom I pay tribute. Without their courage, investment, and encouragement for the idea and concept I presented to them as the Director of the Department of Biology, the Ecomare project would not have been subject to an application to the Operational Program of the Center 2007-2013, in partnership with Mayor José Ribau Esteves and Administrator José Luis Cacho of the time, respectively, as well as the heartfelt support of then-president of CCDRC, Ana Abrunhosa. At the university, support was later continued by Prof. Manuel Assunção’s administration, also represented by Vice-Rectors José Alberto Rafael and José Fernando Mendes. And, let’s not forget, it had all the enthusiasm and support of the late colleague and friend José Vingada, responsible for SPVS, to whom we dedicate this documentary.”

He continues, “The sustainability and reason for this project, which at one point had the support of Lisbon’s Oceanarium, are proven by its current success, both in the CPRAM-Center for the Research and Rehabilitation of Marine Animals, where more fundamental research is conducted, the results of which were crucial for the strengthening and creation of some Marine Protected Areas, and in the service it still provides to the Portuguese State. It’s also successful in the CEPAM-Center for Extension and Research in Aquaculture and Sea, where more applied research related to aquaculture is conducted, currently managed by Dr. Catarina Eira and Dr. Ricardo Calado, respectively, who were wisely appointed by the current administration of the University of Aveiro.”

Dr. Joaquim Pedro Ferreira, co-responsible for developing the script, notes that “by winning this award, the documentary will be viewed in South Africa and many other countries, African and non-African, taking the name of Ecomare, CESAM, and of course, the University of Aveiro, further.”

Professor Amadeu Soares concludes “that watching this documentary allows one to see the variety and quality of research in the field of Marine Biological Resources, carried out by the extensive team of CESAM researchers.”

The documentary “ECOMARE – Research and Rescue of Marine Species” can be viewed in its entirety here.