The raging El Niño-driven rains haven’t come as predicted, so Ventura enters its fifth year of drought. It was appropriate, then, that Ventura Water presented its fourth annual Water: Take 1 Short Film Contest on March 24 at the Brooks Institute.
This year, 48 films entered the contest that calls attention to some of the serious issues facing our 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.
“We hope you will agree that these films tackled these topics in thought-provoking ways,” Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein told the audience of over 125 community members that included Ventura City Councilmembers Christy Weir, Mike Tracy and Carl Morehouse, and City Manager Mark Watkins.
The night’s top honor, the Grand Jury Award, went to Mike McNutt and Vinny DeLuca of the Palmdale Water District for their comical minute-long film “Conservation Enforcer,” starring leatherly-faced Hollywood actor Danny Trejo, who has appeared in numerous movies, mostly as a menacing villain. In “Conservation Enforcer,” Trejo brings his own brand of street justice to a water-wasting next-door neighbor. McNutt and DeLuca won a $1,500 cash prize.
Other awards and their winners were:
- Ventura Vision Award: Charles Spraggins, for his film “Good Stewards”
- Santa Monica Vision Award: Madeleine Pryor, for her film “The Value of Water”
- Audience Choice Award: Mostepha Benghernaout of Algeria, for his film “Unsafe Water”
- Best Student Short Film Award: Sinyee Loke of Malaysia, for her film “Water is Life”
McNutt, DeLuca, Spraggins and Pryor were on hand to accept their awards in person. Benghernaout and Loke accepted theirs through video messages.
In addition to congratulating the award winners, Epstein thanked the Water: Take 1 sponsors – the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel, Hopkins Groundwater, Carollo Engineers, Kennedy Jenks Consultants, the City of Santa Monica and Nossaman, LLP, and Brooks Institute for hosting the event.
Heading into its fifth year, the Water: Take 1 Online Short Film Contest aims to elevate the value of water by inviting filmmakers from across the globe to submit short films less than five minutes, in any genre (animation, comedy, documentary, drama, experimental, or sci-fi) that address the topic of water. The next contest will kick off in the fall of 2016.
To view the winning films as well as all of this year’s entries, visit www.watertake1.com.