Film festival on water makes a splash

‘Voices from the waters’ is a film festival with water as the theme, currently in its third edition at Bangalore. The film festival, a confluence of cinema and water, boasts of the largest collection of films in the world on water. The six-day celebration is being held in the Jnana Jyothi Auditorium of Central College Bangalore, during 13-18th September 2008. Organisers aim to spread awareness of water issues among the participants, provides a platform for students, scholars, visionaries and all concerned to learn, interact and debate on the water in all its forms.

Voices from water
Worth fishing for: an art piece highlighting the exhibition area at the film festival. (Pic: Deepthi Sarma)

Since its inception in 2005, ‘Voices from the waters’ has become the biggest international film festival on water screened in various cities across the nation and abroad. This year the festival is a collaboration of a consortium of national and international organisations active in water issues. They include Bangalore Film Society (BFS), Arghyam, Society for Voluntary Action Revitalization and Justice (SVARAJ), Alliance Francaise de Bangalore and Max Muller Bhavan, among others.

The event was inaugurated by Oscar winning director and producer Shekhar Kapur. Also in attendance were Kavitha Lankesh – Film director and president of BFS, Sanjay Vir Singh – Registrar of Bangalore University; Sunita Nadhamuni – CEO of Arghyam and Bharti Patel – CEO of SVARAJ.

Georgekutty A L, Secretary of BFS said that that the film festival was an attempt to free water from science and technology. “Water is not mere H2O- it nurtures life and livelihood” he said. He also dwelled on the angst and the joy of water, hinting that its abundance and scarcity had lasting impact on us.

Shekhar Kapur, who plans to make a movie on water tentatively titled Paani, felt that festivals like this needed to be held often so that the future generation wouldn’t be a victim of the greed and gluttony leading to depletion of natural resources like water. Once considered sacred, water has now become a mere commodity, he said. Kapur further spoke of a grim future wherein people were forced to buy water because of the fall in water tables.

‘Voices from the Waters’ will screen several national and international movies on themes like rivers and streams, water and sanitation, global warming, climate change etc. S Vishwanath, the Bangalore-based rain water harvesting expert said the idea was to present the cinematographer’s point of view on water. Screened free of cost, the festival provides a great opportunity for Bangaloreans to experience the sheer diversity of films on the issue.

1. The main screen will organise shows for high school children from 9 AM to 1 PM. Many schools will participate in the festival spread over five days.

2. Screenings for college students and public are scheduled between 1.30 PM and 8.30 PM

3. Open screenings for the public is between 6 PM to 8 .30 PM. 100 seats will be reserved right through the day to enable the participation of the public.

4. ‘Aquascope’ will screen films from 9 AM to 8 PM. The films screened will be shorter and an artistic take on water in myriad forms.

Sunita Nadhamuni (Arghyam) found this opportunity as an awakening to water, its forms and uses. She observed that lack of proper infrastructure for sustainability of water makes it expensive for the urban poor. She also felt that poor management of ground water was another matter of concern. Communities need to be strengthened for better disaster management and not just on the spot relief work, she said.

Bharti Patel (SVARAJ) felt that water is a precious resource which is being tarnished due to the irresponsible behaviour of people. Every citizen has a responsibility to protect the environment. This irresponsibility leads to water pollution which leads to chlorinated water and water with fluorides which is distributed to society.

The Rising Wave, directed by Yask Desai and Shweta Kishore in memory of rivers and lands lost, portraying the life of villages and its people before and after construction of dams was screened as the inaugural film. A special seminar on the Bihar floods will be held on 17th and various debates on water across all its forms: economic, social, ecological, political, cultural, technological and the aesthetic are on the cards at the festival.

Apart from seminars and screening movies, this festival also has a photo and painting exhibition on the theme of water and life. An art installation by Syamala Nandesh forms the highlight of the art exhibition.

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