The next time you see an ad for a rain dance, this film hopes to put you on another side of a debate. More importantly, however, you will know that a debate exists. And that is a good starting point.
The Documentary Circle of the Hyderabad Film Club, in association with Magic Lantern Foundation, Delhi, and ECOMOVE International, Germany, is organizing a 3-day mini-festival of films on the politics of environment, called Point Of View. The films will be screened at the Prasad's Preview Theatre everyday, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm, between 16th and 18th February.
Environment is a political issue, whether we like it or not. Today's conflicts are more about the control of natural resources than anything else. We see these conflicts in our day-to-day life, whether it is for control of land and water, or a question of who pollutes and who pays, they are all about people's problems, and thus influence the politics of our day. It is happening around us, but we do not realize it. And when there is a realization, there is a lack of perspective. The perspective doesn't happen because, more often than not, environmental film festivals talk about non-controversial issues.
Point Of View is a sincere effort to look beyond the obvious, to give a platform for the alternative voices and untold stories. Most of these films have enjoyed wide viewership and appreciation elsewhere in India and abroad. The films straddle a wide spectrum of subjects, from India becoming a dump yard for the wastes created by European consumerism to the effects of depleted Uranium on American soldiers; from fishermen's woes in Tamil Nadu to a lone woman's fight against a toxic dump in South Africa; from the World Bank's environmental politics to locals' anger against tourism in Goa, from the horror stories of genetic engineering in Canada to the scams behind flood control in Bihar.
Today, the second day, Hunting Down Water, an Indian Documentary by Sanjay Barnela and Vasant Saberwal, on the politics of water supply and ground water extraction, will be screened. The current water crisis is largely one of our own making. It is not about failing monsoons or about the fact that parts of India are naturally prone to scarcity. Areas that were formerly water surplus today have an acute and chronic shortage of water.
This transformation has come about largely because of the changing patterns of water use. Cropping patterns have changed, with less water demanding pulses giving way to water intensive cash crops. Two crops a year have been replaced by three crops a year, probably necessary to meet the growing food requirements of a hungry nation.
But there are changes which defy logic, like the growing number of private swimming pools in big cities, rain dances, and water amusement parks offering ridiculous water intensive sports such as "Snow Valley". Hunting Down Water looks at the conflicting uses of water in our everyday lives - both rural and urban.
The screenings are free for all. For further details, please contact Bh S S Prakash Reddy of the Hyderabad Film Club at 2373-0841/93910-20243.