‘Watermark’ documentary leaves an impact on viewers
May 5, 2015
Humans and other carbon-based life forms need at least two things in order to survive. One is food. The other is water, also known as H2O, the Universal Solvent and the Fourth Element.
Recycle Utah and the Park City Film Series will show how important water conservation is when they partner to bring Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky’s documentary "Watermark" to the Prospector Theater on Thursday, May 7.
The screening is part of the Park City Film Series’ Reel Community Series, a program that partners the film series with other local nonprofits.
Recycle Utah executive director Insa Riepen said "Watermark" is a beautiful film that addresses the worldwide water situation.
"It shows how people on the Earth use it and how we view it and why it is important on a global scale," Riepen said during an interview with The Park Record. "It examines our relationship with water in its many different stages and whether or not we are conserving it or wasting it."
The film documents communities from all over China, the United States, Egypt, Bangladesh and other areas, she said.
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"An alarming statistic is that only one percent of the water on the Earth is fresh water for us to use," Riepen said. "That’s what’s stated in this film, and our future depends on water and that’s what this film shows us."
To localize the film’s message, Brian McInerney, the local National Weather Service hydrologist, will introduce the film and then conduct a Q & A after the screening, according to Riepen.
"Utah is the second-driest state in the nation and look what we use our water for," Riepen said. "Do we really need to water Kentucky bluegrass and the sidewalks? These questions are not only for homeowners, but for commercial properties as well.
"Brian will address some of these situations," she said. "He will also talk about snowpack and the effects on runoff."
Snowpack was one of the reasons this film was selected for the screening, said Katharine Wang, Park City Film Series executive director.
"Since we had such as horrific winter, the driest on record, we really wanted to focus on water," Wang said. "This film uses a light touch to illustrate how we as humans, on an elemental level, are connected with water."
The film was made by Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky, who are known for another documentary called ‘Manufactured Landscapes’ that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival a few years ago, Wang said.
"Edward is a well-known photographer in Canada and does these massive-scale photographs," she explained. "His work has always been about man’s impact on the environment."
Baichwal and Burtynsky decided to create a documentary about water because it’s such an important issue, according to Wang.
" looking at the imagery that Edward took of these landscapes, you can see how water has transformed the Earth and how man has transformed water," she said.
The film also shows how humans are connected to water on a spiritual and recreational level.
"There are scenes ranging from 30 million people bathing in the Ganges River to wash away their sins in a single ritual to a surfing competition," Wang said. "It’s hard to imagine how it is when you don’t have access to clean water. Even some of the projects in the U.S., water is used in a massive scale, but you don’t really wonder where the water is coming from."
Wang likes the film because it allows viewers to draw their own conclusions about water conservation.
"It gives you the opportunity to bring in your own understanding of water conservation and integrate that with the images you see that were shot from all over the world," she said.
Park City Film Series and Recycle Utah will present a screening of Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky’s documentary "Watermark" at the Prospector Theater, 2175 Sidewinder Dr., on Thursday, May 7, at 7 p.m. The screening is free, but there will be a $5 suggested donation. The proceeds will benefit Recycle Utah. The screening is part of the Reel Community Series. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.org .
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