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23 March 2008

Water Wars - Films for Thought

If you are a green-conscious filmmaker but don't have the big bucks of Leonardo DiCaprio or the political clout of Al Gore to get your project green-lighted, why not enter the Intelligent Use of Water short film competition?

Last year's jury award winner, Sergio Cannella, was from Italy, but the competition's sponsor and the awards ceremony are both located in Southern California?

Following a special Oct. 11 screening at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden in Arcadia, winners will be announced immediately and cash prizes of $6,000 for the Jury Award and $3,000 for the Audience Choice Award will be given by the event's sponsor, Rain Bird of Azusa.

Rain Bird, the leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services for lawns, gardens, agriculture, golf courses and commercial developments, is giving amateur and experienced filmmakers a chance to showcase their talents and use the power of film to highlight the need for responsible water use with this contest, now in its second year.

Shalini Kantayya, director of the 2007 Audience Choice Award winner, "A Drop of Life," will serve as master of ceremonies. "I got the idea while in India making a documentary," Brooklyn-based Kantayya commented via email. "The more I researched and read about water, the more I became convinced of Vice President of the World Bank Ismail Serageldin's statement on the future of war: ‘If the wars of the 20th century were fought over oil, the wars of the next century will be fought over water.' I found the statistics alarming; between one-half and two-thirds of the world's population will not have access to drinking water by the year 2027.

"The water meter in ‘A Drop of Life' was originally created to illustrate a frightening future where water is the planet's most scarce natural resource. But then I learned that this frightening future, a world in which water is reserved for only those who can afford it, exists today. The science-fiction water meters I had imagined already exist in 10 countries including South Africa, Brazil and impoverished areas of the United States. This ‘coincidence' has affirmed my belief that this story has the power to move, inspire, and mobilize people to act on this vital issue," Kantayya said.

A filmmaker for her 7th Empire Media who has done commercial work for Sting, Mariah Carey, and Phil Collins, as well as interviewed and filmed people such as the Dalai Lama and Gloria Steinem, Kantayya also considers herself an activist and educator.

"My interest in conservation is about survival of every species on the planet," she explained. "Everyone should be aware that water is a precious limited resource and we must conserve, avoid bottled water, and convince our leaders to keep our water clean, safe and as our shared human right."

Kantayya's film, as well as Cannella's "Carpa Diem" - the tale of a fish and water, can be viewed on the Rain Bird IUOW Web site, www.IUOWFILM.com.

Entries may include narrative, documentary, animated, experimental and/or student-made short films that run one to 10 minutes in actual or excerpted run time and the subject matter should explore methods and ideas to responsibly manage and utilize earth's most precious resource.

The competition's 2008 judges are Robert Glennon, a professor at the University of Arizona's Rogers College of Law, Gary McVey of the American Cinema Foundation, and Amanda Pope, a professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

All entries must be submitted electronically as an .mov, .wmv or .mpg file no later than 11:59 p.m. (PDT) Sept. 1.
For more information about the competition and entry requirements, visit www.IUOWFILM.com.

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