The water cinema returns

The fourth edition of the We Art Water Film Festival is already a booming global communication wonder. The jury, made up of celebrities from the film, communication and NGOs sectors, was presented at the San Sebastian Film Festival. All members highlighted the importance of a festival that has become a reference point in the film industry as an exceptional testimony of the water scarcity and sanitation problems in the world, an also of their solutions.


“The works that have participated in the three editions of the Festival have shown us that, in issues related to water and sanitation, the real world is different from what many of us had imagined.” Xavier Torras, director of the We Are Water Foundation, opened the presentation event of the fourth edition of the We Art Water Film Festival by mentioning one of thekey values of the short film competition that has opened a powerful communication route about the water scarcity and sanitation problems in the world.

As usual, the popular competition was presented within the San Sebastian International Film Festival, which celebrates its 65th anniversary this year. The fourth edition of this initiative by the We Are Water Foundation starts at full strength after the success of the last three editions, which have seen the number of participants increase. In the third edition, which took place in 2015/2016, the competition had over 1,400 participants from 88 countries around the world. India and Bangladesh lead the spectacular dissemination the Festival has experienced in Asia, a continent that for the first time had participants from Iran, Afghanistan and South Korea. The number of creators from the African continent has also shown a significant increase, with participants from Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia. The works from Moldavia, France, Belgium, Czech Republic and Serbia represented the European continent for the first time.

An enthusiastic jury

At the San Sebastian event, Judith Colell, curator of the We Art Water Film Festival, presented the jury of the competition, made up of: Yvonne Blake, president of the Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, figurine maker and winner of one Oscar and four Goya awards; Leonor Watling, actress and singer; Úrsula Corberó, actress; Pablo Rivero, actor; Irene Escolar, actress winner of a Goya award for Best New Actress; Conchita Casanovas, film critic at Radio Nacional de España; Rosana Tomás, producer in Los Angeles; Sergio and Javier Torres, chefs with one Michelin star and television communicators; and Carlos Jiménez, Desk Officer at UNRIC (United Nations Regional Information Centre), who has been a member of the jury since its first edition. All of them, together with Xavier Torras, will be the ones in charge of choosing the winning short films of the We Art Water Film Festival 4.

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The director of the Foundation thanked all members of the jury for their enthusiasm and confidence in collaborating with the initiative: “The film industry is a universal channel, able to raise awareness and even educate on the water culture and sanitation, basic elements for people to have a dignified life – Torras pointed out – and it is a privilege to count on your cooperation and that of all the media present here with us today.

In this regard, Leonor Watling addressed the journalists gathered there by demanding their help in disseminating the message of the Foundation and the Festival: “If it weren´t for you, we would not mean anything… We should not be pessimistic, let us all say that this kind of initiatives work, that between all of us we are able to change things like, for instance, preventing women from being excluded from progress because they need to walk to collect water. Tell the world: Let´s go!”

For her part, the journalist specialising in film reviews Conchita Casanova said she was convinced of the great power of film creation to raise awareness and create a new water culture: “We, as communication professionals, should devote our dedication to service to the dissemination of the water problems. The We Art Water Film Festival really inspires me, as filmmaking is a source of culture that allows us to learn every day. We all like to learn and this experience will teach us a lot, I am going to make the most of it.”

Judith Colell also highlighted the importance of the film message in order to convey all claims regarding water: “I have been at the We Art Water Film Festival since the very beginning and what has surprised me the most is the overwhelming amount of messages that may be found in each short film.” And addressing the members of the jury, she highlighted: “We all have an obligation to generate awareness of this problem.”

The We Art Water Film Festival is one of the many initiatives by the We Are Water Foundation in order to divulge and raise awareness of the situation of millions of people who lack a basic access to drinking water and sanitation. The actor Pablo Rivero recognised the importance of denouncing and disseminating these problems: “You have opened my eyes to a reality I could not have imagined. I have been aware of the need to save water since I was a child, but I was not aware of the injustice suffered by millions of people. For instance, it is unacceptable that any woman should have to wait until nightfall to go in the open and risk being assaulted or raped.”

Úrsula Corberó also expressed the same position and thanked the We Are Water Foundation for inviting her to participate in the Festival as a jury: “Thanks to the work carried out by the We Are Water Foundation many of us have been informed of things we did not know about. It is formidable to be here. You are the heroes.”

The brothers Sergio and Javier Torres pointed out that the media coverage of gastronomy should take into account the sensitivity towards water: “It is not possible to cook without water and just this simple fact should raise our awareness”, Sergio commented. Javier also stressed the importance of being informed of the water problems: “Most of the times we are not aware of the importance of one single drop of water. Everything you have told us about the Foundation has really impressed me. Thanks for opening our eyes.”

Carlos Jiménez Renjifo, like Judith Colell a collaborator of the We Art Water Film Festival since its beginning, indicated how valuable this initiative was from the point of view of United Nations:  “The UN appeals have always had a response in the initiatives of the We Are Water Foundation. This Festival is one of them. Each one of the participants, each one of the works is a response, they are part of the solution by using filmmaking, a marvellous resource, as the only thing that matters is what you tell and how you tell it. We are old friends with the Foundation and we will continue collaborating in the global dissemination of the water messages.”

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The short film El hombre de agua dulce (The fresh water man), by the filmmaker Álvaro Ron and the producer Rosana Tomás premiered after the presentation of the jury. This project, in collaboration with the We Are Water Foundation, aims to provide visibility to the problem of droughts and the importance of a good water use and it is as well an inspiring element for the participants in the fourth edition of the Festival. Rosana Tomás explained how the experience of producing the documentary had changed her perception of the water problem: “I became aware of the importance of not wasting water… and we do waste a lot of it! While we were on the shoot we avoided throwing away the water remaining in the water bottles and we rationed it using water containers.” Álvaro Ron provided details of the serious endemic drought affecting southern California, where the documentary was filmed, and he highlighted that “initiatives such as the We Art Water Film Festival are essential to move forward and raise awareness of the dependence we have on water.”

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Registration opens on the 2nd October

The registration of short films for the We Art Water Film Festival will be open at the official website of the Foundation – – from the 2nd October 2017 to the 2nd April 2018. The projects, which need to be based on the issue ‘water and sanitation’ should be from one to three minutes long and they can be presented in the micro-fiction, micro-documentary or micro-animation categories. The participants in each one of these categories will compete for a 3,000 € award. Moreover, the votes from the public will give participants the opportunity of gaining a 1,000 € award to the most popular short film.

Help us disseminate the message with your creativity!

Here you have the Rules and Regulations.
Participate! We look forward to receiving your short films!