The sixth annual Water Docs film festival recently aired (April 2-6, 2017) last week in the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on Bloor Street in Toronto. Run by Ecologos, Water Docs is a documentary film festival that celebrates all things water. Every spring, feature-length and short films are shown, along with lively discussions with filmmakers and guest speakers. Participants learn about water issues and discover action possibilities.
This year my book “Water Is…” was also at the festival! On the evening of the Ontario 150 Film Challenge Awards, the three award-winning films were shown and the filmmakers each received a copy of “Water Is…”
Top films included: “Conserving Water in Urban Areas” (Honorable Mention) by Brent and Tammy Foster; “In Season” (runner up) by Sydney Boniface; and “Sea of Life” (First Place) by Julia Barnes.
Conserving Water in Urban Areas (2016; 3min) examines an urban green infrastructure project in Chatham, Ontario that was designed to collect, filter and slowly release roof and parking lot runoff water.
In Season (2016; 9.5 min) chronicles surfers along Lake Ontario who face freezing temperatures during Toronto’s winters to pursue the sport with a passion that knows no seasons. This obscure and tightly knit community of surfers thrives on a nomadic lifestyle, chasing the perfect wave. I met Antonio Lennert, co-founder of Surf the Greats (@surfthegreats), who is called by Lake Ontario Waterkeepers “a water ambassador and community leader.” Surf the Greats organizes beach cleanups, yoga on the beach, educational sessions on the environment and water recreation. It is Antonio’s mission to reconnect Torontonians with Lake Ontario.
Sea of Life (2016; 85 min) follows filmmaker Julia Barnes on an underwater adventure to discover the truth about the largest threats facing the ocean and the planet. Inspired by the late Rob Stewart’s film Revolution, Barnes finds goes on an epic journey around the world from Australia’s coral reefs to the Paris Climate Summit and everywhere in between. With the help of scientists, activists and explorers, Barnes examines the real dangers facing our oceans: a potential mass extinction through climate-mediated ocean acidification.