Tuesday, September 22 I attended a movie premier. Not just one movie but six. I was fortunate enough to sit in on the screening of the six finalist entries in the 2011 Intelligent Use of Water film competition.
The competition seeks to find and recognize film makers whose vision and voice can educate viewers or stimulate discussion, understanding, and action toward better and more conservative use of water. The competition is open to anyone and drew entries from film students to environmental advocacy groups; U.S. and international. Entrants could submit videos of 1 to 10 minutes in length via the competition’s website.
Sponsored by Rain Bird and now in its fourth year, the competition began accepting the current crop of entries last January. After the August 1st cut-off date, the judges immersed themselves in over 150 videos and began the daunting process that led to the six selected finalists. From the six were selected a Green Industry Winner (determined by prior on-line voting), one Audience Favorite (voted on by the evening’s attendees), and a Jury Award winner. Winning carried with it a small trophy and a big check ($6,000, $3,000, and $6,000 respectively).
The following is a brief run-down of the six finalists. All of the six shorts were good, two were excellent, one danced provocatively close to scatological hip-hop, one was mildly amusing, one had a Raffiesque musical number, and one bore the unmistakable mark of subtle British wit. All can be viewed on the IUOW Finalist site.
Thank You: Speaking from the future, the CEO of the World Water Order thanks us in the present for making him both rich and powerful as the world’s preeminent robber baron through our thoughtless wasting of water. David Kim, writer, director, star.
Water Ways: A visually stirring yet minimalist tribute to the filmmaker’s grandfather, who has dedicated his life to improvising low-tech water conserving strategies in his home city in India. Jall Cowsaji, writer, director, cinematographer, and devoted grandson. Winner of the Green Industry Award.
Water Partners: A real-life testimonial to the positive triple bottom line achieved when naturalists, engineers, and ranchers work together. By realigning priorities to improve soil conservation and irrigation practices this unlikely teaming has demonstrated that it can increase a ranch’s productivity while restoring streams and trout fisheries. Randy Scholfield and Kathy Kasic in conjunction with Trout Unlimited.
Just Don’t Flush It: Yo, yo, yo! Young white rappers extolling the virtues of delayed toilet flushing gratification. Nice beat, easy to dance to, the audience gave it a 99. Brian McAndrew, his homies, and some hottie college chicks. Winner of the Audience Award
Fun and Games: A young British couple engaged in a subliminally sexual long-distance phone call role play game that is perpetually interrupted by the woman’s subconscious anxieties over water issues. Ben Mills, director, Nathan D’Arcy Roberts, writer, staring Marc Barnes and Emma Stannard . Winner of the Jury Award
Save Water: A light-hearted, musical stroll through everything we love about water and the simple things we can do to preserve it. Rob Kennedy and a cast of several.
Judges were an august panel of film, green industry, public gardens, and public policy professionals. The host was the ever-entertaining, unpredictable, and wholly down-to-earth Jack Hanna with a supporting cast of rare and exotic animal friends
Rain Bird is to be commended for its sponsorship of this competition. By opening the discussion of water conservation beyond engineers, landscapers, and public officials they are building a compelling collective voice that will reach a broader audience in new ways, on different levels, and with a far greater chance of a positive future outcome.
…and yes, it IS ART