Posted March 21, 2023

JBFC Launches Partnership with United Nations Development Programme-Led Equator Initiative

Welcomes Kynan Tegar as JBFC Artist-in-Residence

Pleasantville, NY—March 21, 2023— The Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) announces the launch of a new partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-led Equator Initiative.

The Equator Prize, organized by the Equator Initiative within the United Nations Development Programme, is awarded biennially to recognize outstanding community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. This March, JBFC welcomes 18-year-old filmmaker Kynan Tegar from the Dayak Iban tribe of the island of Borneo, Indonesia as an Artist-in-Residence. Kynan won the 2019 Equator Prize with his community, Dayak Iban in Sungai Utik Longhouse. While in residence, Kynan will be working on his latest film, which honors the legacy of Sungai Utik’s elders and their fight to protect their territory and sacred forest. He will also screen his work for the JBFC community.

“We are thrilled to kick off our Equator Initiative partnership with Kynan as an Artist-in-Residence,” said Mary Jo Ziesel, JBFC Executive Director. “We hope to host more Equator Prize winners in the future. In addition, we are exploring ways to deepen our partnership with the Equator Initiative, including featuring their work in a number of the JBFC’s ongoing series, including Global Watch and Focus on Nature, as well as our education programming.”

“Indigenous peoples represent less than 5% of the global population, but influence land management of more than a quarter of land. As the most ancient holders of traditional ecological knowledge, they are crucial drivers of the transformational change sought for nature and humanity. We shall look no further to learn how to live in harmony with nature,” said Anna Giulia Medri, Senior Programme Officer, Equator Initiative.

“Shining a spotlight on the effectiveness of nature-based solutions Indigenous peoples and local communities spearhead and supporting the scaling up of their initiatives through storytelling, advocacy, capacity-building, partnerships, finance, and technology are the main goals of the Equator Initiative,” Medri continues. “We are grateful to JBFC for welcoming Indigenous leaders, creatives, and storytellers to the center and for creating an open and inclusive space for their voices to be heard.”

Kynan Tegar is a photographer and filmmaker. Living in and around the traditional longhouse of his village, Kynan learns from the wisdom and values of the elders and their stories of resistance in the face of encroaching deforestation. He first started making short films after picking up a camera as an inquisitive 12-year-old boy. Kynan creates thoughtful and emotive imagery that highlights the quiet daily lives of the people and the community within his tranquil village, documenting their traditional knowledge, and the importance of balance with nature. In 2019, Kynan won the Equator Prize with his community, Dayak Iban in Sungai Utik Longhouse.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-led Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses, and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance the local sustainable development solutions of Indigenous peoples and communities around the world.

The Jacob Burns Film Center is a nonprofit arts and education hub located on a three-building campus in the New York Metro area. The JBFC brings the transformative power of film to the surrounding community through unique programming and discussion, shared experiences, and educational initiatives. Since opening in 2001, millions of people have enjoyed the best of current American and foreign cinema, unique film series, and special events at the five-screen theater complex. A pioneer in visual literacy, the JBFC offers educational experiences for students at our state-of-the-art Media Arts Lab, including curricula for public schools and a fellowship and residency program for professional filmmakers.

The Jacob Burns Film Center is proud to receive generous support from:

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