Abdel Mandili founded the People’s Planet Project with the aim of assisting indigenous communities in their battle against deforestation. He has focused on raising awareness of issues about climate change and indigenous livelihood destruction through his work as a filmmaker. While working on a variety of film projects, he realized little was being done to improve the self-determination of indigenous communities and their abilities to protect their forests. This is when the idea started of forming a global movement of filmmakers and training indigenous communities to tell first-hand stories on the threats they face. This video content would then be used as proof of evidence in court to protect Indigenous forest lands with the support of human rights organizations.
Abdel’s most recent documentary ‘The Indigenous Quest’ is about the massive forest loss in Borneo caused by big multinationals to clear land for palm oil plantations at the cost of indigenous customary lands. The documentary was awarded a Special Mention at the Asia South East Short Film Festival, Winter 2018. Throughout his work for People’s Planet Project, Abdel has established partnerships and worked closely with several Indigenous associations from Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. His work involved consultations with indigenous leaders on community needs in defending their forest territories and developing a film curriculum tailored toward the needs of those communities.