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Following this year’s launch of the Cinema Green Lab, Les Arcs Film Festival has created €10,000 cash prize which will reward the most compelling environment-themed fiction project presented at the Co-production Village.

“We have noticed that up until now, very few projects have been tackling environmental issues which are often only dealt with in documentaries. We want to contribute to change this fact,” said the festival in a release.

The festival is joining forces with the Auvergne Rhône Alpes Cinéma, the fond of the region Auvergne Rhône Alpes dedicated to the co-production of films, and with ADS, the org which operates the biggest ski resorts in the French Alps, including Les Arcs, to finance the cash prize.

The winning project will have to deal with the future of our planet, and will have to have a story at least partly set in a mountain region. The grant will be aimed at financing the writing of the script.

The inaugural edition of the Cinema Green Lab hosted screenings of environment-themed movies, workshops discussing eco-friendly initiatives in the film industry, and a panel discussions about ways to tackle these topics in fiction which brought together Luc Jacquet, the Oscar-winning director of “March of The Penguins,” Valentin Greutert, producer at Swiss banner A Film Company (“Trading Paradise”), Laurent Baujard, producer at Paprika Films (“L’odyssee du loup,” “L’Empeureur”), Saara Saarela, the Finnish director, and Mark Lwoff, the Russian producer of “Concrete Night.”

During the round-table, Jacquet, who last directed “Antarctica: Ice and Sky” and “March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step,” said that it was more and more difficult to lure audiences in theaters with documentaries dealing with nature and the environment, and pointed out that it was also tougher to raise the financing for these films.

“When ‘March of the Penguins’ came out in 2005, it was one of the first documentaries of that kind and the audience turned up. It was a Golden Age… Today, audiences think documentaries (about the environment) are boring,” said Jacquet.

The filmmaker said the best way to raise awareness and attract mainstream audiences was to make fiction films rather than documentaries. Jacquet launched last year the Monaco-based production banner Icebreaker with the producers Patrick Faivre and Sophoklès Tasioulis. Backed by the Fondation Prince Albert II, Icebreaker has about 10 projects in development, many of which are fiction films.

As part of the inaugural Cinema Green Lab, Les Arcs also handed out a Cinema and Environmental Engagement Award to director Edouard Bergeon, producer Christophe Rossignon and actor Guillaume Canet for the politically engaged rural drama “In the Name of the Land.”