Flow: For Love of Water

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Sundance Film Festival

PARK CITY -- "Flow: For Love of Water," a documentary about escalating threats to the world's freshwater supplies, may appear rather prosaic until the enormity of the issue becomes apparent: Worldwide, water sources are consistently endangered by overuse, drought, pollution and privatization. At the same time, more than a billion people globally still lack access to clean water.

Along with this sobering information, filmmaker Irena Salina's docu includes a distinct note of optimism that should help the film flow smoothly through the festival pipeline before eventually settling on DVD.

Salina's globetrotting camera finds local residents and activists protesting water contamination and seeking safer supplies in South Africa, the U.S., Bolivia and India, where Coca Cola has reportedly polluted an entire community's water source.

Worldwide she encounters multinational corporations like Nestle, Vivendi-Universal and Suez that are attempting to lock up water reserves through government-sanctioned privatization. Meanwhile, subsidiaries of these major conglomerates sell water back to us in bottled form worth an estimated $22 billion annually.

Salina also shows how activists and scientists are challenging water profiteering and assisting impoverished communities on the front lines of water conservation conflicts with protecting critical resources. Interviews with community leaders, activists and experts, as well as water company executives, form the spine of the film. Alarming exterior scenes of localities threatened by pollution and drought are combined with footage of clear, free-flowing water as a reminder of the opportunity that still exists to safeguard supplies.

Insistent, sometimes conspicuously one-sided, the film's concerns are difficult to dismiss, considering that a water-starved planet isn't ultimately viable. "Flow's" digital video tech credits are suitably modest although a few scenes with poor audio or video could benefit from trimming.

FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER
A Steven Starr Production in association with The Group Entertainment
Credits:
Director: Irena Salina
Producer: Steven Starr
Executive producers: Stephen Nemeth, Caroleen Feeney, Lee Jaffe, Augusta Brown Holland, Brent Meikle, Cornalia Meikle, Hadley Meikle
Directors of photography: Pablo de Selva, Irena Salina
Music: Christophe Julien
Editors: Caitlin Dixon, Madeleine Gavin, Andrew Mondshein
Running time -- 93 minutes
No MPAA rating
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