The 2017 Water Docs Film Festival has launched with a splash in Toronto. On March 29, our screening of RiverBlue drew record crowds, segueing into a panel discussion about what the the world of fashion needs to do to clean up its act and the planet's rivers.
And last night, the official opening of the festival at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema proved the art of environmental filmmaking is making waves. After watching The Peel Project, showing the journey of six artists into Canada's last pristine river watershed, the crowd reconvened at a gala reception held at the Centre for Social Innovation on Bathurst Street. Here they had an opportunity to meet some of the artists and filmmakers, to enjoy an exhibit of their art and music, and to mingle with food, drink, film and excellent conversation.
With this great momentum, Water Docs goes into the weekend as one of the city's hot tickets. Speaking of which, you can still buy tickets here.
The Envelope, Please
On Friday night, from 6 to 8:30 pm, we have our Ontario150 Film Challenge Awards. Don't worry about any Oscar-style messes; the winners are already known and they will join us to accept their well-deserved honours and accolades. They are also attending to celebrate the legacy of the late Sharkwater filmmaker Rob Stewart, who inspired Best Film winner Julia Barnes to create her remarkable Sea of LIfe. Her documentary leads audiences through the beautiful world of coral reefs into the heart of the environmental movement, meeting passionate scientists, activists and explorers, who reveal an opportunity rise in the face of this challenge, to become the heroes the world needs.
A Saturday Double Feature
On Saturday we bring back the cinema tradition of weekend matinée and evening performances. Although designed to appeal to all ages, the 3 to 5:30 pm Joy of Water screenings will particularly thrill young people. The lead film, Standing on Water, takes viewers into the frigid waters of "Cold Hawaii" (Denmark!) where a young water-phobic man develops the skills to become a world champion stand-up paddle surfer.
Then, on Saturday night, rain is in the forecast. Well, just on the screen. In our Traditional Water Wisdom screenings, we offer two documentaries that celebrate the Indigenous connection to land and water, with the ability to predict and perhaps even create rain. Australia's Putuparri and the Rainmakers takes viewers on an emotional journey to meet the traditional rainmakers of Australia's Great Sandy Desert, who have fought a 20-year battle to win back their traditional homeland.
And in South Africa's Rainmakers of Nganyi, modern weather forecasters turn to rainmakers in the village of Nganyi, Western Kenya for help getting their predictions taken seriously by farmers. They soon discover that the traditional ways have a lot to teach them.
Drip, Drip, Drip. . .
If you don't think water drops are powerful, try going to sleep near a dripping tap. Our closing Water Drops Shorts Program proves that small is mighty with six compact documentaries. The films present exhilarating international and Canadian perspectives – whether on Norwegian surfers who make stunning art from objects found beachcombing, or a diver in the surreal floating world of Mexico’s sewage system, whose job it is to keep the waters flowing. The final film, The Canoe, captures the bond between human and nature created by our country’s well-known watercraft and water symbol – the canoe.
Three great days of film. Bring your family, bring a friend, come on your own – you won't regret time spent at the 2017 Water Docs Film Festival.