Christ University hosted the inauguration of the 7th edition of ‘Voices from the Waters’, an international film festival, on 30th of August, 2012.
That Bangalore is a deserving host for many popular events related to art and culture was proved again, as it is the only city in the world to hold a Film Festival on the theme of water.
“I must thank Mr. T.S Nagabharana for his immense interest behind this film festival. As a result of his enthusiasm, people even from the remote areas are showing interest to learn through Voices from the Waters”, said George Kutty, Secretary, Bangalore Film Society. George Kutty is also the Director of the film festival. Among the other dignitaries present in the inauguration were Mr, Christoph Bertram, Director, Max Muller Bhavan and the Chief Guest for the event was Mr T.S Nagabharana, acclaimed film director, who is also the founder member of Karnataka Film Chamber.
“This year’s Film-Festival consists of movies from 25-30 countries”, said Mr. Kutty, looking pleased at the response from directors across the world.
‘Voices from the Waters’ is not just a mere Film Festival on water. The event provides equal space for discussion with the film directors, which in turn leads towards better understanding about various issues surrounding water. As the event is associated with Max Muller Bhavan, the Film Festival organises an art exhibition, with ‘water’ as its theme. Adding to this, the culmination of the Film Festival will see a Conference on Land, Energy and Water.
Since the advent of technology and its rapid progress, cinema has broken conventions and created new boundaries. “The digital learning gives the much needed relevance to the Film Festival. It is through films that we form a platform for healthy discussions on social issues”, exclaimed Rev.Fr Dr. Jose, praising the entire team of M.S Communication for their contribution.
When Prof John Joseph Kennedy , the Dean of Humanities and Social Science addressed the gathering, the growing concern of water and the dismal role played by Bangalore was understood in greater detail. “It is true that Bangalore is a cosmopolitan city. But at the same time, the city is dangerously utilitarian, as far as water is concerned”, he said. Highlighting disappointing facts on the current status, he mentioned about Bangalore having the highest percentage of water leakage in country, the figure almost reaching 50%. Looking at the entire effort in terms of a useful catalyst in the coming days, Mr Kennedy said “We must not stop ourselves at only discussing the concerns. Collectively we must march towards taking concrete measures”.
Mr. T.S Nagabharana, the Chief Guest for the inauguration conveyed to the audience about the influencing nature of films. “It is easy to get carried away and burn our talents in the trapping web of money and fame. But, I believe, it is through these kinds of Film Festivals on noble issues that we can tame the gobbling nature of cinema and make the complete use of it”, he said. “I congratulate Christ University and wish the entire Film Festival a huge success, he concluded.
Christ University sets its standard high when it comes to cultural activities from the students. The students of M.S Communication presented a graceful and entertaining dance performance to enthral the audience. The energetic show did not compromise on the theme, as the girls from 1st M.S Communication elegantly performed on famous numbers in the likes of barso re and ghan ghan. Water was celebrated as the young dancers brought in the breezy and gentle mood to the occasion, which also resembles the nature of water. The classical treat continued as the troop from ‘Samvada Bhoomi Thayi Bhalaga’, presented well known kannda janapdha geethe, which were on the lines of caring for mother earth and preserving water.
With the inaugural film Amasan being screened following the cultural show, Voices form the Waters started on a promising note, with two more days remaining for more movies on water and for more learning

After the grand and a fitting inauguration, Christ University finally played host in screening more than ten films and documentaries on water. The spirit of the Film Festival came alive with every film screened, as each of them looked at the entire phenomenon of water in its own way. For a viewer, there was representation of water and its existing issues in diverse nature and at the same time, films displayed love, attachment and the role of water in a society’s growth and well being.
Portraying the way of living and celebration
‘Trusting Rain’, directed by Kristin Alexander, takes its viewers amidst the people of Bermuda and their ancient love towards the practice of Rainwater harvesting. The narration presents the emotions and ideas behind the driving force for people of Bermuda to make rainwater harvesting a way of living. The documentary has many interviews of common people of the country, who send out a message that saving water is a necessity. For those who are aware of Kristin Alexander’s choice of film making, this short documentary doesn’t not come as a surprise as his films share the lives of people who dedicate themselves to making positive change, transforming the world around them. The documentary is sincere and hard hitting at the same time, as the people of Bermuda call out to the world to save water, as it is a life saving resource.
With the film ‘For Water ‘, by Natalie Metzer, the essence of the Film Festival was captured. Giving water a cultural touch, the director brings out a movie which is high on aesthetic nature, though depicting problem and standing for a cause. Collaboration between dancers from Indonesia and America, For Water is inspired by the importance of water to the islands of Indonesia and to water-starved California. The film follows a pilgrimage of five spirits to a sacred place to perform their centennial dance- based ritual for water. The on screen presence of charming and peaceful dance performance speaks of the director’s calibire, who is an acclaimed and award winning photographer.
A Rare Case: Film leaves audience a lot to wonder
The Truth About, directed by Franzisca Nauber, was the shortest film out of the others selected for screening, with duration of three minute and 42 seconds. A fish-head in the water seems to be alive by the movement of the water. The apparent aliveness becomes still more deceitful by the limited view. Here, the director wants connect the audience with the ethical and moral values of life and how being ignorant towards the diminishing state of water is at our own risk, as life is enhanced only by the progressing state of water. It is unique attempt as there are no dialogues in film and it claims to be a poetic approach. . A female voice from somewhere whispers again and again “I love you”. The boundaries of life and death become blurred. This artistic work is a poetic approach to the great themes of life and mortality.
Discussion: Bhavani G.S
The Journey with the River Cauvery was the first film to be screened with the presence of its director. Making the Film Festival special, director Bhavani G.S was among many other viewers to watch her film, which is a film on personal journey along the river Cauvery. Being a painter by profession, it all started while doing side=specific works in the backwards of forest, when her encounter with the treatment of people to the river was a harsh reality. “The film originates from coorg, my home town”, she said. “ I wanted to know what are the practices and rituals accumulated by people while dealing with rivers, apart from basic habits of washing clothes and animals. Feeling her presence the journey was mesmerizing and enchanting to see the flow of her beauty in the midst of forest, mountains, towns and villages”, said the director. Highlighting the importance of water, she expressed “The reaction from people is alarming, when there is no water available for 3 or 4 days. This itself should make us all understand its relevance”, she concluded.
The power of cinema had gone through the minds of the audience and helped each and every mind to deal and find out answers to the existing complexities, as far as water is concerned. With more movies to be screened, Voices from the Water looked ahead, promising to celebrate the essence and the need of water for survival.

Discussion: Andrew Majweski.

It could not have been anything better for the second day to start with, when the film Colour of Water was screened in the presence of it Director Andrew Majweski. The film is a depiction of the system behind the functioning of various power oriented bodies. Building high dams on Nepal’s Himalayan Rivers in order to exploit their hydro-electric potential has for the last 50 years been widely promoted as the only way for this small Himalayan nation to mitigate the chronic poverty of the vast majority of its people. This documentary closely examines this paradigm of development, and finds that if implemented, its assumed benefits are not likely to be realized.
When asked about the solutions behind the problem situated around the building of the dam, Mr Andrew said “It was more of a technical question than a political one. Nepal must come together to realise the larger picture and not depend on existing arguments as the only option. Only then can solutions arise”.
As Voices from the Water looks at water and its issues at the global level, the film was a problem oriented and confined to Nepal. When quizzed about the title and the message it intends to send, Andrew said that the Colour of Water in Nepal is covered with dirt and I can only see the colour of money. Water should be seen as a life saving resource. Only then will the colour be neat and clean.
The final session on day three saw the screening of two very poignant documentaries charting the courses of two rivers, in different countries (Colombia and India) subjected to perverse contamination.
The first documentary Rio Bogota by director David Thayer is an exasperating plea of the dying river Bogota, as it is marred with domestic and industrial wastes.  The murky water of the river is a testimony of the apathy of the government of Columbia and its citizens. The documentary is a desperate call for immediate action and warns about the brutal consequences of nonchalance towards the issue.

Photos: Sharath Babu Srinivas and Bayden Austin George