Ecocinema, the international festival of environmental films, is being held in Athens this year at the Athinais conference and culture center in Votanikos, June 2-7. The festival, now in its fifth year, will screen a wide range of documentaries, shorts and features with environmental and ecology themes. Prizes will go to films for innovative approaches to conservation issues, daring subject matter and overall artistic qualities. More than a festival, Ecocinema aims to encourage dialogue on environmental protection and conservation. «We want it to be an ongoing event that continues throughout the year,» said the festival’s president, Ilias Efthymiopoulos, presenting this year’s program to the press yesterday. «We can network with environmental organizations and cinema clubs, show how cinema can help with environmental education, and offer support to independent producers.» Lots of entries have come from around the world, though not many from Greece as the organizers expected. «That could be due to a shortage of funds, because Greek cinema is going through a rough patch,» said Efthymiopouolos. Films from 2003, 2004 and 2005 will compete for the best film award (which carries a prize of 7,000 euros), the best Mediterranean film award (5,000-euro prize money) and the best film about nature award (5,000 euros). Also on offer will be special tributes to filmmakers who have contributed to the art of cinema and the discourse on ecology. This year’s tributes are to Werner Herzog, Eric Rohmer and Pantelis Voulgaris. The festival coincides with the international celebration of Environment Day, and Ecocinema, in cooperation with the European Commission (DG Environment), will have special screenings addressed to a broad audience and intended to raise environmental awareness. Ecocinema is organized in cooperation with the European Commission, the Mediterranean Action Plan, the Hellenic Educators’ Association for Environmental Education, the Hellenic Network of Environmental NGOs and Greenpeace Greece.