The Ecocinema international festival of films about the environment starts next week on Rhodes. For six days, from June 1-6, filmmakers will explore the world we live in, from the threatened habitat of polar bears in Caroline Underwood’s «Lords of the Arctic» and the buzz of a Indian railway station in Harrie Timmerman’s «Howrah Station – Calcutta» to Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott’s insight into company life in «The Corporation» and Peter Hegedus’s investigation into a devastated Hungarian river ecosystem in «Inheritance: A Fisherman’s Story.» Attracting participants from diverse countries, the festival is a focal point for dialogue, as artistic director Lukia Rikaki told the press yesterday, and question-and-answer sessions follow every screening. «Ecocinema is the youngest festival of this type,» said Rikaki, «but it already has the reputation of being lively. From the outset, we were interested in getting through to as wide an audience as possible, without compromising on quality.» Highlights in this year’s festival are two special tributes: «Indigenous Peoples of the Earth,» with 13 films, old and new, focusing on particular societies and the modern threats facing them, and «Rhodes Between the Wars (1924-1942),» a series of documentaries from the Istituto Luce, in a world premiere of material shot during the Italian occupation of the island during the fascist era. Ecocinema has a strong competition section, with awards for full-length and short films, Greek films, the MedWet/Ramsar Award for films about water and wetlands and the MAP/UNEP prize for Mediterranean films. There are 12 full-length films, 31 short films, 11 about water and wetlands, 24 in the information section, 13 in the tribute to indigenous peoples, 12 from the Italian archives and two out of competition entries. The Greek Film Center (GFC), which supports Ecocinema with prize money for Greek films, has signed an agreement with the festival and the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) to fund a 45-50 minute ecological documentary, GFC President Diagoras Chronopoulos said yesterday. Ecocinema, now in its fourth year, is run by Cinema and Environment, a non-profit organization. This is the second consecutive year it has been held on Rhodes, where it gets funding from the municipality, prefecture and environmental organization of Rhodes.