Leonardo DiCaprio receives International Green Film Award

GCI Founding President Mikhail Gorbachev presented the International Green Film Award to Leonardo DiCaprio at the eighth annual Cinema for Peace gala in Berlin on 9 February 2009. Captured below are sentiments expressed on the occasion by Mr. Gorbachev and Mr. DiCaprio.

Photos courtesy of Cinema for Peace Foundation

Leonardo DiCaprio

Guten Abend, it’s great to be back here in Germany, my second home. It’s fantastic to be back in Berlin. I want to thank Cinema for Peace for recognizing that peace is not only the absence of war, but also the absence of poverty, the importance of an educated society, and a clean and sustainable environment. You do a vital service to the world, which makes this award all the more special to me.
I’m truly honoured and I thank you very much. Thank you. Of course it’s only fitting that we’re standing here today on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, which, as many of us know, is one of the greatest triumphs of peace in the last century. I remember visiting my grandparents here, in the divided Berlin, before the wall fell, and I actually was able to bring a photograph that my grandmother took of me… To her last days it remained her favourite photograph of me because she felt that I was single-handedly trying to push the wall down myself.
I had the honour of having President Mikhail Gorbachev in my documentary film “The 11th Hour”, and I’d just like to say that Mr. President, your leadership and your dedication not only helped us end the Cold War, but by founding Green Cross International you’ve  taken on the next great challenge of our time, and that is to help protect our fragile environment.
Solving the environmental crisis is our turning point, it is our next Berlin wall. In America, we finally have an administration in Washington who wants to fight alongside you. We sincerely believe that President Obama will be proactive in combating some of the most complex environmental issues facing us, realizing the opportunities of a green revolution for our country, and by doing so, hopefully making the US an environmental leader.
  The more I am a part of this issue, the more I work with these different organisations, I realise that the fight to protect our planet is way bigger than any religion, any government or any individual. In order to achieve real lasting change we must first understand that this is a collective fight that everyone in the world must get involved. During this critical period of human history, healing the damage of industrial civilisation is the task of our generation. And our response depends on the conscious evolution of our species. And this response could very well save this unique blue planet for future generations.
Thank you so much again for this wonderful award, and thank you Cinema for Peace, and thank you, Mr. President.
Mikhail Gorbachev
I am very happy to be present together with you at this fantastic, emotional and inspirational event. I have to admit I made a mistake. I hesitated to come to Berlin. But I see now that one has to come here to meet the people who accepted to take over the challenges of that time when we helped the world to emerge from the Cold War and opened up to an era of universal cooperation.
Photos courtesy of Cinema for Peace Foundation

I wish to thank the initiators of this project, all its supporters as well the members of the committee. Thank you. Dear friends, you have created a great project and I want to wish you success for the completion of your plans. This evening has exceeded my expectations.

This event and gathering as well as the accomplishments of filmmakers have shown the world that we posses great strength and potential to overcome this crisis. And most importantly, we stand united. I can feel the spirit of the ideals present in this room. This is a lesson not just for everybody present, but also for the ones who will arrive and the ones who will watch the film and the reports on this event. That is what I wish to congratulate the organizers for.
Twenty years ago the Berlin Wall fell. Germany was reunited. It was not only Germany’s separation that was overcome, but also Europe’s. The heroes of a nation were part of that occasion and we must never forget them. These events are never to be forgotten. We applaud the achievements during the last twenty years in united Germany. According to a recently completed survey including twenty-nine countries, Germany has been named the most admired country by 61 per cent polled.
This achievement proves the greatness of a nation, which lived a great drama, and subsequently chose the path of democracy, defended it and – as the films honoured tonight show – has helped other countries.
The Berlin Wall has gone into history. Sadly there are still many walls existing today: the wall of suspicion, of disbelief, the wall between the rich and the poor, between human being and nature. People must be realistic and see these walls!
  If it were not for trust, between Russian and German people by 1989, the Wall would not have fallen. Germany would not have been reunited and the Cold War would not have been ended. Therefore these walls must be shattered and especially the walls in the minds and hearts of people, which I consider most important.
We do not know how to govern this world we live in. A crisis is mainly the effect of the failure of global governance. The old, traditional approaches show that problems can only be solved through solidarity and interdependency. We have seen in films today how people can assume a historical role and how politics often fails to react. Contemporary problems are so urgent and acute that politics drags behind. Success cannot be achieved without the contribution of such social organisations as the one you initiated. Thus it is important to say that tonight’s laureates set examples of how to act in the future. And this creates the hope that we will be able to overcome the crisis. But if we act as the people we honour tonight, than we can truly hope that we will succeed faster.
Photos courtesy of Cinema for Peace Foundation

I am particularly happy that I can award my good friend Leonardo DiCaprio the International Green Film Award. This award is very significant and is presented tonight for the first time. The award honours exceptional achievements of the laureate. Leonardo has indeed a great talent, both as an artist and as a citizen. He has gained many prizes, but I think this award holds a special significance for his life and his destiny. Leonardo’s defining traits are his love for his homeland, for humanity and especially his altruism.

These qualities are essential to his dedication for the environment when 60 per cent of the ecosystems are already irreversibly damaged. I could tell you very much on this subject since I have been president of Green Cross International for the past fifteen years. That is why Leonardo’s dedication as an artist and a citizen is exemplary for thousands of people around the world. And imagine: Leonardo is not even 35 years old! What will he achieve next? I think he will accomplish many good things. I congratulate you, Leonardo, on this well deserved award and we all congratulate your mother Irmelin.
Many thanks to our hosts – you have created a worthy initiative.
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