Dominican Republic, Bangladesh and Spain Top We Art Water Fest

Event highlights basic sanitation problems suffered by 2.5 billion people

MADRID — Maria Victoria Hernandez’s “Sanitation,” Raihan Ahmmed’s “Deadline,“ Rocio Perez and Miguel Diaz’s “A Day in the Life of a Child,” and “No volvera,” from Patricia Arnaiz and Marina Fairen, topped the 2nd 2013/2014 We Art Water Film Festival, whose prizes were announced Monday in Madrid.

A novel attempt to encourage mostly young filmmakers to create micro-shorts that forefront problems of water and basic sanitation that affect 2.5 billion people on the planet, per its organizers,, We Art Water Festival drew 2,200 submissions.

The competition also underlined the ability of its winners to get a message out simply but eloquently – no short ran more tan three minutes – about one of the world’s most pressing problems still off many people’s radars.

Winner of the audience award, and shot against scenes on the banks of the fouled-up Buriganga River in Bangladesh, graphic designer Ahmmed’s “Deadline” uses interviews with locals to express, in a clearly structured piece, the waterway’s pollution, its causes – leather factories, above all, dredgers – and its consequences: the destruction of farming and local industries, chronically babies.

Seeking empathy among younger viewers, “Sanitation,” from the Dominican Republic’s Hernandez, won best micro-documentary and the biggest cash-prize of the night: €2,500 ($3,400) and a camera. Set in Los Praditos, a shanty burb of Santo Domingo, “Sanitation” is narrated by Wilito, a 13-year-old, who explains how his family seeks to store and use piped water, which only flows from their one faucet on Sundays.

Hernandez directed the Dominican Republic’s One Race Global Film Foundation; Summer Intensive Program.

Raising the biggest cheer of the night from the local audience, t best animation winner “A Day in the Life of a Child,” directed by Perez, who works at Spain’s Avidea Producciones, and Diaz, a freelance photographer and illustrator.

Using a horizontal split-screen, it tracks two small girls, one from the developed world, the other from Africa, on a normal day. While one has attended school, eaten dinner and is tucked up in bed, the other is still plodding back with two cans of water from her nearest water supply.

Shots of two melting ice-cubes, “No volvera” won the Instagram Award.

Finalists will now be accessible on multi-platforms, including a dedicated webpage, www.wearewater.org, social networks and at Roca Galleries in Barcelona, Lisbon, Madrid, Shanghai and London.

Launched 2011 by the We Are Water Foundation via a call for entries at 150 film schools, the first We Art Water Festival received 500 submissions.

The second edition was supported by the United Nations. Jury members included U.N. rep Carlos Jimenez, film directors Judith Colell and Agusti Villaronga, the European Film Academy’s press head Pascal Edelman, Carl Hensman, program officer of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene project at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, We Are Water Foundation director Xavier Torras and Variety reporter Emilio Mayorga.

 

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