Atlanta, Georgia has been one of the country's fastest growing cities in the last three decades. Today, the city can't exist without its upstream reservoir Lake Lanier, but the downstream users in Alabama, south Georgia and Florida need it too. The problem is, no matter how you cut it, there simply may not be enough fresh water for everyone.
Now the three states are locked in a political and legal battle over this water, a fight that's gone to the Supreme Court, with no real resolution. Exactly how much Atlanta is allowed to hold onto is the basis of this conflict. So the fundamental question in this high-level water war is one of control: Who owns water?
The battle over fresh water is not just a story of the arid West anymore. Nearly every major city in the US will eventually face a water supply crisis. We're very near the completion of a year-long project to make a full-length documentary film and tell the story of this water crisis that will set the stage for what's to come in America.
Paddling canoes for a month through these three states, my brother Michael and I, along with co-director Andrew Kornylak, met the people who live and make their living on the water. Is ownership really the essential question here? In Who Owns Water, we propose a different narrative, from the river level.
We need one last push of fund-raising to complete the project and make a film that will reach a broad audience. Kickstarter funds will go toward licensing music rights from artists such as Blitzen Trapper, Denver, Valerie June, Connor Moore, Heartscape Landbreak, and The Law. We also need to hire a graphic illustrator to convey the geographic story of these watersheds via a few short motion graphic clips.
Any remaining funds we raise will go toward outreach costs as we travel though the watershed and share the film in communities within the ACF Basin. We hope that our film will illustrate these beautiful rivers, while also encouraging collaborative action for a solution to the ACF Water War and future battles over our essential element.
Risks and challenges
The hard part, physically, is behind us. We've paddled the length of the ACF rivers and we've recorded dozens of hours of footage from the river and from the people we met.
From this point on, we simply need to tweak the story and fit the best music and illustrations into it. Music and illustration are the finishing touches to the film's structure and if we have to skimp on either of the two, we run the risk of diminishing our project's message. Unfortunately, money is clearly the only barrier to getting good music and illustration. We have some friendly relationships with talented musicians who are willing to work with us on fair licensing fees, so I'm confident we can get the music we need and pay the artists a fair rate.
Another major challenge we anticipate is finding the best, most pervasive route of distribution for the film. We want Who Owns Water to have a broad audience and a wide impact across the ACF watershed and around the country because this is a national, even global story. Again, money plays a key role in distribution. We'll use some of the Kickstarter funds to pay for distribution costs and we'll shop our film around diligently, seeking the most reputable, far-reaching media outlets while also sharing the film with smaller, community organizations with direct ties to the watershed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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