Documentaries

150 Environmental Films Highlight Water Crisis In International Film Festival

The festival covers issues ranging from the illegal wildlife trade to climate change to waste management.

Photo Credit: SIMA AWARDS / YouTube

The Kirloskar Vasundhara International Film Festival (KVIFF) kicks off in Pune, Maharashtra on Wednesday, January 4 and will screen 150 films.  

Now in its 11th year, the international film festival's vast spectrum of films draws on issues ranging from the illegal wildlife trade to climate change to waste management.

"Save River, Save Life" is KVIFF's 2017 theme. 

"The pathetic condition of the rivers in our country is why we chose this theme. We want to create some awareness," festival director Virendra Chitrav told the Times of India.

The three "Kirloskar Vasundhara Gaurav" awards will be given to Maharashtra-based organizations working on river rejuvenation.

"The films will be based on environmental problems, the fight against them and success stories," KVIFF's film section head, Supriya Chitrav said.

The festival team has partnered with the World Wide Fund for Nature and expects upwards of 10,000 people to attend. 

"We have received more than 8,000 registrations till now and hope to get 25,000 before the festival," Chitrav said.

Twelve of the 150 films have received a special mention, including Silent River, a 25-minute documentary about the Santiago river, the most polluted river in Mexico. The film received the Eric Moe Sustainability Award at the Environmental Film Festival in the nation's capital in 2015. It is the product of two years of investigative work by director Steve Fisher.

"Eighty percent of the companies in the corridor—brands like IBM, HP, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Honda and Nestlé—are American and Japanese. The river has been transformed into a sewer with over 1000 known chemicals, including dangerously high levels of arsenic, chrome, and lead," Fisher states on the film's website. 

Dhimant Vyas' film Every Drop Counts also received a special mention. In his film, Vyas sought to convey how the everyday actions of people can create a water crisis. 

"For most of us living in cities with dependable amenities, drought is something we see on TV or read on newspapers... This probably gives us an emotional distance from the people, animals, birds and landscapes affected by a drought," Vyas said

Planet Ice: Himalayas is the festival's opening film, complete with aerial shots and time lapses of the icy milieu. Its director, Yanick Rose, has filmed in over 60 countries, focusing on science documentaries for the past decade. As part of the film, Rose documented a day in the life of one resident who climbs 5,800 meters to take an ice core sample. The sample shows the amount of snow which accumulated on the high part of the glacier during the monsoon. 

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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