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South African Film Wins Top Prize in Ventura Water’s
Water: Take 1 Online Short Film Festival
Following five years of drought, above average rainfall in California this year has been a welcomed relief. But Ventura residents can’t let their guard down: water conservation is every bit as important today as in drought-stricken years. That was the primary message as Ventura Water presented its fifth annual Water: Take 1 Online Short Film Festival awards on March 22 at the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center.
This year, 50 films were entered in the festival that calls attention to some of the serious issues facing water resources locally and around the world. Thousands of people worldwide watched and voted for their favorite films via the Water: Take 1 website, with a panel of jurors selecting the contest’s winners.
“Even with much needed rainfall that exceeded our expectations, our focus looking forward is to build on the framework of conservation and promise efficiency as a way of life in California,” Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein told the audience of about 100 community members at the event, which included Ventura City Councilman Matt LaVere.
The night’s top honor, the Grand Jury Award, went to “Place of Sweet Waters,” a film that highlights the water crisis facing Cape Town, South Africa. Cape Town is in the midst its worst drought in two decades, yet millions of gallons of naturally occurring fresh water run under the city’s streets, to be dumped straight into the sea, every day. This film’s message and goal is that the water can be reclaimed to help sustain Cape Town’s booming – and increasingly water-stressed – population. The film’s director, Sven Harding, won the $1,500 cash prize and gave his acceptance speech via video.
Other Water: Take 1 awards and their winners this year were:
- Audience Choice Award: Paul Meehan and family, for the film, “Drought Wars: The Family Fights Back.”
- Best Student Short Film: Beryl Allee, for her animated short film campaign, “Citizen of your Watershed”, made up of three unique short films. Each film focuses on one issue of concern to a healthy watershed – pesticides, runoff and litter.
- Ventura Vision Award: Paige Vasquez-Housley, for her film “Aquanaut: A Journey to the Pacific.”
- Palmdale Vision Award: Jalal Ud Din Baba, for his film “Saving the Savior.”
Epstein congratulated the winners and thanked the Water: Take 1 sponsors – the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel, Hopkins Groundwater, Carollo Engineers and Kennedy Jenks Consultants – and the Channel Islands National Park for hosting the event.
Audience seated in the Channel Islands National Park Visitor center cinema
L TO R: Paige Vasquez-Housley accepting her $500 dollar award from Shana Epstein for her film Aquanaut: A Journey to the Pacific, winner of the Ventura Vision Award
City of Ventura Councilmember Matt Levere
L TO R: Paul and Kellie Meehan and children—Audience Choice Award Winner for their film Drought Wars: The Family Fights Back
L TO R: Gina Vasquez-Housley, Todd Housley, and Paige Vasquez-Housley— Ventura Vision Award Winner for her home-grown film Aquanaut: A Journey to the Pacific.
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