‘Last Call at the Oasis’ documentary dives into the global water crisis
February 12, 2014
Recycle Utah, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste in Summit County, will team up with the Park City Film Series to present a free screening of Jessica Yu’s 2011 documentary, "Last Call at the Oasis."
The film examines the global water crises and will be screened on Thursday, Feb. 13, at the Jim Santy Auditorium. The screening, part of the Reel Community Series, is underwritten by the Park City Community Foundation.
Insa Riepen, executive director of Recycle Utah, likes the documentary because Academy Award-winning filmmaker Yu pulls no punches.
"It shows data about water contamination and misuse that should be disquieting to us," Riepen told The Park Record. "In fact, one of the quotes from the film is ‘We’re screwed.’"
Yu was inspired by the water conservation-themed book "The Ripple Effect," by Alex Prud’homme, and investigated the global water shortages due to climate change, pollution and misuse.
She interviewed activist Erin Brockovich, water experts Jay Famiglietti and Peter Gleick, Riepen said.
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"[The film] is entertaining, but it is somewhat sobering," she said. "It leads us to think that there may be a catastrophic water shortage coming at some point."
Unfortunately, many people don’t understand that there is a global water crisis.
"We take water for granted," Riepen said. "Every day we need it and we tend to forget that we are made out of water. If we don’t drink it, there will be none of us.
"So I think it’s exciting that Jessica Yu made a film about this," she said. "It deals with the pollution aspect, but also the commercial end of it — the bottling and selling of water — where the plastic water bottles become another concern and problem."
Like many documentaries, "Last Call at the Oasis" highlights the "woes" of water shortages, Riepen said.
"It doesn’t sugarcoat the topic, but it also gives us a list of what we can do about the issue," she said. "It tells us that we all can have a hand in finding resolutions."
Some of these ideas are simple.
"We need to realize that taking a shower is better than taking a bubble bath," Riepen said. "Or that turning the water off when brushing your teeth or soaping up your hands is a good thing.
"I think this documentary has some brilliant people telling a story that needs to be told," she said. "Simply put, we need to turn off our sprinklers, which I believe we can, because that is part of the solution."
Katharine Wang, executive director of the Park City Film Series, a nonprofit organization that brings art house films to Park City, said she had been interested in screening the film for quite a while because it pertains to Park City.
"Like all the films we bring in, we like to have a local connection on a topic, so we just don’t learn about something and not know what to do with the information," Wang said. "After the screening, Recycle Utah helps educate people about what is going on in our community about water conservation and break down what the public can do to take that first step.
"I thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about water conservation and talk about this very real issue about global water supplies and how we can become involved," she said. "We live in the desert, which is something that I think many people forget. And water is such a precious resource here, but, yet, most of the water we use in Park City goes to people’s lawns, which is ridiculous."
Furthermore, the water that is used to make those yards look nice is culinary-grade water.
"That means it is water that is treated for human consumption," Wang said. "There has been a lot of energy that’s been put into that and it gets wasted."
working with Recycle Utah to bring the film to the Film Series, Wang said she hopes the issue and its concerns reach more people.
"They don’t just recycle our cans and paper," Wang said. "They also do a lot of education around water conservation at a much broader level, and work with the fourth graders of the Park City School District with a water festival that is held in the spring."
Thursday’s screening will help Recycle Utah educate the public about water conservation, Riepen said.
Although the screening is free, Recycle Utah will ask for a $5 donation, which will benefit the festival.
"Ecologist Babia Dioun said, ‘In the end, we will conserve only what we love and we love only what we understand and we only understand what we are taught,’" Riepen said. "The reason why I like this quote is simple. We need to be taught what is important.
"This movie, which has some great music and some wonderful cinematography, will do that," she said. "It’s done in an entertaining way, but also shows how important it is to not waste water."
The Park City Film Series and Recycle Utah will present Jessica Yu’s "Last Call at the Oasis" on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. at the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library and Education Center, 1255 Park Ave. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityfilmseries.com . For more information about Recycle Utah, visit http://www.recycleutah.org.
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