Germantown Film Fest Confronts Global Water Crisis
The Reel Water Film Festival presents more than 60 international films at BlackRock Center for the Arts on Saturday. Proceeds will help provide clean water to communities in the Dominican Republic and the Philippines.
According to an annual report by American Rivers, the Potomac River is the most endangered river in the United States.
While Congress considers rolling back clean water protections, Journey's Crossing Church of Germantown and Food for the Hungry are rolling out the Reel Water Film Festival on Saturday at BlackRock Center for the Arts, where organizers hope to raise awareness about the scarcity of clean water while offering practical solutions to the escalating global problem.
Proceeds from donations and ticket sales go toward the nonprofit festival's goal of raising enough money to fund an already underway Food for the Hungry water sanitation project in Olivero, Dominican Republic. Also under the $12,000 goal is $5,000 worth of Sawyer water filters for the village of Maticic, Philippines.
“The Reel Water Film Festival is a chance to get away from your TV set and watch something that is actually going on in your own backyard," said Mark Leisher, Program Director for the Reel Water Film Festival and independent producer, director and cinematographer.
"People should attend to watch a positive, enlightening program, support local filmmakers, keep dollars in the community and walk away being able to do something," he added.
In its first year, the festival received more than 60 short and feature films from the U.S., Europe, South and East Asia and the Middle East, with notable local entries, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Rock Creek Conservancy, filmmakers Alexandra Cousteau and Andrew Harpar, and even Montgomery County high school students. Cousteau's film focuses on the Potomac River watershed and Harpar's on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Conservancy documents its volunteer-run cleanup projects along Rock Creek's path.
Besides short films, Saturday's program includes a feature presentation of "Watershed," produced by the Redford Center to tell the story of the Colorado River, which traverses nine states in the U.S. and Mexico and supports drinking water, agricultural, sanitation and energy needs for both urban and rural zones. The film is still in the festival circuit and has not been released on DVD.
"This film showed at the D.C. Environmental Film Festival and is really all about water - not just water-related," said Leisher.
Leisher, of Bethesda, specializes in making environmental films and is currently working on a feature-length documentary about the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve.
He believes that films like "Watershed" and festival film "Carbon for Water," which introduces carbon credits as a viable way to fund clean water solutions and fight water-borne illnesses in western Kenya, will resonate with audiences in Montgomery County.
At the time this article published, the festival crew, which consists of local volunteers, was around 400 ticket sales shy of meeting its target.
If you go...
The Reel Water Film Festival is Saturday, June 16, from 1:30 - 10:30 p.m., at BlackRock Center for the Arts, at 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown. To purchase tickets, visit the Reel Water Film Festival site.
1:30 p.m. - Doors open; meet and greet filmmakers, guest speakers and festival organizers; complimentary refreshments in the lobby.
2:30 - 4:30 p.m. - Afternoon Experience; short film presentations, guest speakers and Q & A sessions. David Feldman, Director of Bethesda Green is the emcee. Tickets cost $10.
5 - 5:30 p.m. - Afternoon Film Exhibition; showcase of all the short films accepted into the festival. Tickets cost $5.
6 - 7 p.m. - Feature Film: "Watershed"; Produced and narrated by Robert Redford; Directed by Mark Decena. Tickets cost $5.
7:30 - 9:30 p.m. - Evening Experience; same as Afternoon Experience. Tickets cost $10.
9:45 - 10:15 p.m. - Evening Film Exhibition; same as Afternoon Film Exhibition.Tickets cost $5.