Water Docs 2012

Water Docs Film Festival, Toronto

Water… we wash with it, we cook with it, we drink it, we bathe in it…
but how much do we really know about it… and how much do we really care?Care to know more? Immerse yourself at Water Docs and find out more
about the element that makes life on Earth possible.

The Water Docs 2012 Festival opened March 22nd, World Water Day, and ran weekly through to April 22nd, 2012, Earth Day, 2012. ~ All films were free. ~


Water Docs in Toronto was a real success. If you are interested in holding a similar festival in your area in Ontario, please contact us. Each session included a feature film and one or more short films, along with a related NGO, and ended with discussion.
2012 Schedule [PDF]

Opening Night, Thursday, March 22, 2012, 7 pm (World Water Day)

Ralph Thornton Community Centre, 2nd floor, 765 Queen St. E. at Saulter St. (2 blocks east of Broadview Ave., Toronto)

Director Liz Marshall and Mark Calzavara (Council of Canadians) will be present to discuss her film.
Featured NGO: Council of Canadians.

Water On The Table (79 minutes)
Water On The Table PosterThis character-driven, social-issue documentary explores Canada’s relationship to its fresh water, arguably its most precious natural resource. The film asks the question: is water a commercial good like running shoes or Coca-Cola? Or, is water a human right like air?Water On The Table features Maude Barlow, who is considered an “international water-warrior” for her crusade to have water declared a human right. The film intimately captures the public face of Maude Barlow as well as the unscripted woman behind the scenes. The camera shadows her life on the road in Canada and the United States over the course of a year as she leads an unrelenting schedule. From 2008 to 2009 Barlow served as the U.N. Senior Advisor on Water to Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd Session of the United Nations.
The Story of Bottled Water (8 minutes)
The film employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the story of manufactured demand — how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap. Over five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industry’s attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film concludes with a call to take back the tap, not only by making a personal commitment to avoid bottled water, but by supporting investments in clean, available tap water for all.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012, 7 pm

Ralph Thornton Community Centre, 2nd floor, 765 Queen St. E. at Saulter St. (2 blocks east of Broadview Ave., Toronto)

Director Ayelen Liberona will be present to discuss her short film Keepers of the Water.

White Water, Black Gold (83 minutes)
White Water, Black Gold film posterThis film follows David Lavallee on his three-year journey across Western Canada in search of the truth about the impact of the world’s thirstiest and dirtiest oil industry. This is a journey of jarring contrasts, from the pristine mountain ice fields that are the source of the industry’s water, to the Tar Sands tailing ponds, where thousands of migrating birds have unwittingly landed and died.Both government and industry spokespeople deny any cause for concern, but in the course of his journey Lavallee, backed by university scientists, makes a number of discoveries that challenge that assessment and raise serious concerns for Canada and the United States. White Water, Black Gold is a sober look at the untold costs associated with developing this major oil deposit, and raises important questions about how much environmental damage we’re willing to tolerate to feed our oil appetite.
Keepers of the Water (4 minutes)
This short film features a young group of Native children in Fort Chipewyan, Canada. Their town sits directly downstream from the Alberta Tar Sands, the most environmentally polluting industrial project in the world. Members of their community are dying of rare forms of cancer, the fish and moose meat have tested positive for highly toxic levels of arsenic, the water is no longer drinkable, and there is no end in sight. On their own initiative, these kids came together to protest this environmental crime.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012, 7 pm

Ralph Thornton Community Centre, 2nd floor, 765 Queen St. E. at Saulter St. (2 blocks east of Broadview Ave., Toronto)

Director Jason Van Bruggen and Carl Cosack of NDACT will be present to discuss the mega quarry.
Featured NGOs: NDACT (North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce) and Earthroots.

Blue Gold: World Water Wars (90 minutes)
Blue Gold: World Water Wars film posterIn every corner of the globe, we are polluting, diverting, pumping and wasting our limited supply of fresh water at an exponential level as population and technology grows. The rampant overdevelopment of agriculture, housing and industry increase the demands for fresh water well beyond the finite supply, resulting in the desertification of the earth.Corporate giants force developing countries to privatize their water supply for profit. Wall Street investors target desalination and mass bulk water export schemes. Corrupt governments use water for economic and political gain. Military control of water emerges and a new geopolitical map and power structure forms, setting the stage for world water wars.

Mega Quarry Film: Save Our Water (6 minutes)
Do you care about the safety and integrity of Ontario’s drinking water? We do and so should you. Check out this piece to get the facts on the Highland Companies’ application for a mega quarry in the Hills of the Headwaters. The proposed quarry would be bigger than most cities and 1.5 times the depth of Niagara Falls. The location is an hour outside Canada’s largest city, at the source of Ontario’s pristine watersheds. Please share this link widely and get people informed about this epic environmental disaster in the making. Spread the word and take action!

The Moraine Can’t Wait: Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (4 minutes)
The Oak Ridges Moraine, southern Ontario’s rain barrel and one of Canada’s most heavily used groundwater sources, is under threat from multiple environmental assaults. Help Earthroots, STORM and Ontario Nature take action to push for permanent protection for the Oak Ridges Moraine. The Moraine Can’t Wait!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012, 7 pm

Location: Ralph Thornton Community Centre, 2nd floor, 765 Queen St. E. at Saulter St. (2 blocks east of Broadview Ave., Toronto)

Director Tamás Wormser will be present to discuss his film, Touched By Water and director Javid Gibson will be present to discuss his short film, Visual Journey into the Indian Ocean.
Featured NGO: Waterlution.

Touched By Water (60 minutes)
Touched by Water film poster Touched By Water is a documentary that dives into the lush world of bathing. From the holiest rituals to fashionable leisure, the film looks at various bathing cultures, and explores our essential bond with water. Filmed in 13 countries, Touched by Water conveys our complex relationship with water, its sensual pleasure and spiritual renewal.

One Water (Non-verbal short,22 minutes)
Aimed at reaching people everywhere, across national and cultural borders, this innovative visual gem features stunning high definition visuals from five countries combined with natural sounds and an original score performed by the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. This award-winning version has been seen widely around the world at venues ranging from the United Nations headquarters in New York to open fields and small schoolhouses in villages of the developing world.

Visual Journey Into The Indian Ocean (4.5 minutes)
A visual meditation to the ebb and flow of the Indian Ocean by Javid Gibson.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012, 7 pm

Location: Ralph Thornton Community Centre, 2nd floor, 765 Queen St. E. at Saulter St. (2 blocks east of Broadview Ave., Toronto)

Director Mark Terry will be present to discuss his films.

The Polar Explorer (52 minutes)
The Polar Explorer film posterFrom the makers of the award-winning The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning, comes an all new documentary exploring the effects of climate change in our polar regions. Sought by explorers for centuries as a possible trade route, Canada’s Northwest Passage was first navigated by Norwegian Roald Amundsen in 1903-1906, a true polar explorer; he was the first man to reach the South Pole as well.Until 2009, the Arctic pack ice prevented regular marine passage throughout most of the year, but climate change has reduced this ice, making the waterways more navigable. The Polar Explorer is a one-hour documentary that explores the Passage on a three-week scientific expedition taking place on the aptly named icebreaker, the Amundsen.
The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning (52 minutes)
The Antarctica Challenge film posterThis documentary goes to the source of the climate change crisis: Antarctica. Here we explore first-hand the environmental challenges facing that frozen continent and, by extension, the world.This film profiles the brave scientists working at Vernadsky Station and with the British Antarctic Survey as they concentrate their efforts, living in often harsh and life-threatening conditions in their heroic attempt to save the world. The documentary provides support interviews from polar experts and research scientists around the world as well as rare footage of wildlife including penguins in their hatching season.The film reports on the new phenomenon of suicide among penguins, the imminent rise of the world’s sea level due to ice melting, startling new data on the ozone hole and how new vegetation is now growing in the world’s largest desert.
Ice Philosophy (4 minutes)
This beautifully shot short film by award-winning filmmakers Melanie Carrier and Olivier Higgins of Quebec examines whether sometimes, in men’s ice cold eyes, only scarce things become precious. Therefore, a man travels the globe in search of ice from the last standing glaciers.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012, 1-4:30 pm (Earth Day and Water Docs Closing Celebration)

Location: Beit Zatoun House, 612 Markham St, Toronto (just south of Bloor, next to Honest Ed’s)

Director Kevin McMahon will be present to discuss his films.
NGO: Sierra Club Ontario.

Waterlife and an interactive NFB site (109 minutes)
Waterlife film posterKevin McMahon follows the epic cascade of the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. From the icy cliffs of Lake Superior to the ornate fountains of Chicago to the sewers of Windsor, this feature-length documentary tells the story of the last huge supply (20 per cent) of fresh water on Earth.The source of drinking water, fish and emotional sustenance for 35 million people, the Great Lakes are under assault by toxins, sewage, invasive species, dropping water levels and profound apathy. Some scientists believe the lakes are on the verge of ecological collapse. Filled with fascinating characters and stunning imagery, Waterlife is an epic cinematic poem about the beauty of water and the dangers of taking it for granted.
National Parks Project: Standing Wave (12 minutes): Created as part of the National Parks Project, a multimedia series about Canada’s parks, Standing Wave captures the wild beauty of the Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories. With director Kevin McMahon, musicians Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, the husband and wife duo that lead epic Montreal psych rockers The Besnard Lakes, and Juno award-winner Shad travel down the legendary river together.

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All Thursday evenings – March 22nd and 29th, April 5th, 12th, and 19th: Ralph Thornton Community Centre, 2nd floor auditorium, 765 Queen St. E. / Saulter Street (2 blocks east of Broadview Avenue)

The closing celebration on April 22nd (Earth Day): Beit Zatoun House, 612 Markham St. / Bloor W. (1 block west of Bathurst Street on the west side of Honest Ed’s)


Partners and Sponsors: IBM Canada, Elixir Marketing
IBMCanadaElixir logo

Founders: Terraquest Ltd., Marjorie J. Sharpe and Kathryn McCain.
Terraquest Airborne Geophysics

Patrons: Warren’s Waterless Printing, Gary Sim and GreenShift
warrenslogoGreen Shift Smaller

Supporting Partner: Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival