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Ecofilms grants a Medwet award for the second year

For the second year, Ecofilms presents a selection of films on water competing for a joint Ramsar-Medwet award at the annual film festival on environment in Rhodes. The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty ratified by more than 145 countries and promoting the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and water resources while the Medwet is an initiative set up from this convention.

Among the 15 short and feature-length films in competition for the award, The dream of water (2004, 57 minutes) by Albert Sole from Spain gives a synthetic view on the problems caused by lack or even excess of water in some world areas. The documentary benefits from the opinions of a lot of prominent experts interviewed for the film such as William Cosgrove, president of the World Water Council, Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society and Rita Levi-Montalcini, winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Alarming statistics by the UNESCO and the World Water Assessment Programme give a clear view of the current situation and of what may happen within 2025 if nothing changes. The references of the figures mentioned on the screen could yet have been more systematically given, as it would have reinforced their credibility. Sequences from all over the world give a complete view of the problem, mixing blunt facts and figures with a more engaging way of telling stories as children from different countries describe the water problems they face in their own words.
In Holland, the director shows how locals must struggle against potentially devastating floods with dykes as most of the country is at or below the sea level.
Yet, while we seem to have an excess of water in our regions, the problem is more often the lack of drinkable water in other world areas as it is estimated that 1.2 billion people drink polluted water. Sole takes the example of Mumbai in India where 8 million people live in slums and steal water from huge pipes feeding richer areas of the city. The images of those pipes running through the shantytown are particularly impressive.
The documentary also tackles the political aspects of water management as there are currently 12 conflicts for the control of drinking water in different parts of the world. For instance, it details the role of water in the conflict opposing Palestine and Israel.
Finally, it also shows a very creative way of handling the lack of water inspired by what nature does on its own. Just like cactus plants in the Atacama desert of Chile survive thanks to the water they catch from the fog that surrounds them, people place huge veils on high hills next to the seaside in Chile so that they can collect as much as 400 liters a day from the clouds.

To sum it up, this diversity of points of view from around the world, completed by expert opinions, gives a good and complete understanding of the multiple aspects of water management and its consequences.

Olivier Delesse

Full coverage of Ecofilms 2005 on :

Ecofilms' opening stroke a sensitive chord

A decent factory tackles corporate responsibility at Ecofilms

Ecofilms also gives room to short films

Ecofilms grants a Medwet award for the second year

A spiritual angle on ecology at Ecofilms

Ecofilms presents an experimental answer to poverty in doc

Consumer society under the spotlight at Ecofilms with Czech Dream

Rhodes Golden Deers Awards

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