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By Anthony Ray Bench | January 28, 2018

Around the world, the Swarovski’s Waterschool has been educating young people on the practice and virtues of water conservation. Waterschool is a documentary that serves as an in-depth look into that movement, following young women living in six different parts of the world where their experiences differ greatly, but the importance of education and water conservation are just as equal. The film is a collaborative project by graduate students from UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television in Los Angeles, but these students have brought to life a film that looks absolutely amazing and drives home a message that is of the utmost importance. My only criticism of the documentary is an admittedly petty one, I felt at times the film was talking down to me a bit. I feel like I was being told things I have known since grade school, but in a day and age where intelligence isn’t held in the same regard as it used to be, perhaps it is better safer than sorry for a film like this to hold our hands through basic concepts such as “we get oxygen from trees” and “without trees there would be no rain”. Or maybe it would be better for this documentary to be more aimed towards children? I don’t know. Again, this criticism is minor, but I felt like some of the information was redundant and that redundancy was distracting.

“…drives home a message that is of the utmost importance.”

The film finds its strength in showcasing the various similarities and differences between the each of the subjects lives based on their location. The film starts with two young women who live at different points of the Amazon River. We get a strong sense of what water conservation means to them, and we see some of the tactics these strong females are using to implement conservation into their daily lives. Next, we go to the Alps. The Alps are a drastically different place, but again we are introduced to strong young people being educated by the Swarovski Company in ways to protect their local source of water. The film next takes us to the Mississippi River, the Ganges in India, and Yangtze in China, and the Nile in Uganda. The Ugandan segments are by far the most interesting ones. Our subject there has the most struggles and personality. One of my favorite scenes is the film is when she sees the roaring river for the first time. There’s a sense of innocent curiosity and nervousness that makes her super endearing.

“…a strong student project that explores our relationship with one of our planet’s most precious resources…”

Waterschool has a message and delivers said message without making its audience feel preached at. Water conservation is undeniably important, and the Swarovski Company is leading the charge in educating children around the world to make a lasting impact that could, and hopefully will save the planet for future generations to come. It’s a strong student project that explores our relationship with one of our planet’s most precious resources and it’s directed, shot, and edited with style, care, and staggering competence. The crew of this film should pat themselves on the back because they’ve created something important that needs to be viewed and appreciated.

Waterschool (2018) Created Under the Mentorship of Dean Teri Schwartz and Lucy Walker.

8 out of 10

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