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ABOUT CREW & CIHfestival

CREW (Crusade for Revival of Environment and Wildlife) has been organising the Central Indian Highlands Wildlife Film Festival (CIHfestival ) in collaboration with the Wildlife Wing of Madhya Pradesh Forest Department since 2012


CREW, a society registered in 1997 under the Madhya Pradesh Society Registration Act 1973, is a not-for-profit organization. CREW is Central India’s primary centre for policy and enforcement regarding conservation and management of natural resources, wildlife and biodiversity. The Central Indian States of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have distinctive characteristics that set this region apart from other areas of the Indian sub-continent. Besides the wealth of natural resources-both forest and mineral–some of the most important archaeological sites, dating back to ten thousand years are located in Madhya Pradesh.

CREW uses the visual media and releases b-rolls in digital broadcast quality format on crucial environment related issues to different sections of the media for direct relay and wider dissemination of knowledge and information relating to natural environment and factors threatening environmental balance. As a major initiative to build awareness regarding the importance of wetlands and their conservation, Crew launched an awareness campaign with its documentary “water Birds of Bhopal” shot mainly around Van Vihar National Park, a huge wetland recognized by the Ramsar Convention as an important wetland site in Central India.

CREW has continued to campaign for the protection of environment, biodiversity, wildlife, forest cover, endangered species and wetlands.

CREW is concerned about a number of risks and practices threatening forests, wildlife, wetlands and the environment.

These threats include:

  • Disintegration of natural habitats and the remaining forest corridors due to rapid development and human pressure.

  • Pollution due to the reckless dumping and disposal of waste and the destruction of the ecosystem and the threat to aquatic and avian species.

  • Destruction of natural habitats because of unlawful mining, logging of timber, grazing, man-made forest fires, large-scale commercial exploitation of minor forest produce, use of chemical pesticides, and fishing practices.

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Crew released two reports Vanishing Stripes (1999) and Vanishing Stripes-II (2000) to issue the firm warning that Tiger’s survival is threatened by poaching and loss of prey-base. These reports reveal the gravity of the problem and point out how gravely the tiger is threatened in one of its most fantastic habitats.

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Lalit Shastri, Founder President, CREW

CREW was launched in 1997 by Lalit Shastri to raise awareness about various factors threatening environment, green cover and wildlife.

For last several decades, Lalit has continued to remain a crusader for the cause of environment and wildlife. He shot on location the documentary “Last of the Gharial”, produced by Assignment Earth. He has also been closely associated with the episode ‘Nature & Conservation’ with Serge De Gheldere. This forms part of CANVAS documentary ‘India for beginners’ –a Belgian production directed by award winning Director Tom Ven der Velpen.

Lalit was chosen in June 2016 to judge the “Best Earth & Sky” category for the Jackson Hole Science Media Awards. He was also a preliminary judge for the 2017 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.

Lalit left a corporate job in 1984 and spent more than a year studying the causes that led to the poisonous gas leak at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal. The research findings were published in 1986. The book titled “Bhopal Disaster—an eyewitness account” was released by the then President Giani Zail Singh. Another book by him, “Political Mirage-50 years after India became Republic”. which was released by the then Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee in the year 2000, is a telling commentary on corruption, and deals extensively with accountability, civil society, forests, environment and law and order.

Lalit has been a member of the Board of Governors of the State Tiger Foundation set up by the Government of Madhya Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh Environment Council. He is also the founder member of Child Rights Observatory Madhya Pradesh (CROMP).

Lalit Shastri: Wiki page

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Ashish Kurl is dedicated to protection of wildlife, forest cover and environment. As a founder member of CREW, he is continuously engaged in organising awareness campaigns in Central India for protection and improvement of conditions for Wildlife. CREW has organised several seminars and film festivals to meet this objective in last 15 years.
Ashish is actively involved in the management of Annual Central Indian Highlands wildlife Film Festival. Sanctuary Asia, CMS Vatavaran, Madhya Pradesh Forest department, State Environment Planning and Coordination organisation, Madhya Pradesh Ecotourism Development Board, Regional Natural History Museum and National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training have sponsored this event in the past.
Ashish coordinates seminars in educational institutions for creating awareness about Wildlife protection. He also organises Nature Photography workshops and Wildlife photography expeditions with an objective to promote wildlife protection.




The wildlife wing of Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, Environmental Planning and Coordination Organisation (EPCO), Madhya Pradesh Ecotourism Development Board  (MPEDB) ,Sanctuary Asia, CMS Vatavaran, Regional Museum of Natural History (a Government of India organization), WWF, have been associated with CREW  and have collaborated in organising the Central Indian Highlands Wildlife Film Festival over the years

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