Dharamsala, Oct 26: Canadian documentary film "Watermark", about the history and use of water, made its Indian premiere at the ongoing Dharamshala International Film Festival (2013) and its co-director Jennifer Baichwal, who calls herself "half-Indian", was overwhelmed by the opportunity.
Many independent filmmakers, critics and moviegoers from India and abroad gathered here to watch the film's screening at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, McLeod Ganj, here.
"I really want to thank DIFF for inviting us here. I am here with my daughter who has never been to India before. I always wanted to come here as my father's origin is from this country.
"In 1997 or 1998, we took his ashes to Badrinath as this was his last wish. I am so overwhelmed and always wanted to come here," said Baichwal to queries about her visit to the country during a Q and A session at the festival Friday.
Baichwal's father, an Indian doctor, married her mother, a British woman, and emigrated to Canada to raise a family. She then travelled back to India with her brother and two sisters, to fulfill father's last wish - submerging of his ashes in the Ganga in a traditional Indian ritual.
The entire episode of her visit to India to fulfil her father's wish was also captured in the form of a short documentary "The Holier It Gets".
She is back again to the country and this time with "Watermark", co-directed with Edward Burtynsky.
The 90-minute film was recorded in various international locations using ultra high definition equipments.
"Every living thing requires water. 'Watermark' is a feature documentary film that brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use," said Baichwal.
From China's Fujian coast to the construction site of the biggest arch dam in the world - the Xiluodu, to Colorado River to the water-intensive leather tanneries of Dhaka, the film covered every part of the world.
"We witness how humans are drawn to water, from the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach to the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, where thirty million people gather for a sacred bath in the Ganges at the same time. We speak with scientists who drill ice cores two kilometers deep into the Greenland Ice Sheet, and roam the sublime pristine watersheds of northern British Columbia," she said.
Filmed and produced by Nicholas de Pencier, the film took three years in the making.
Born in Montreal and raised in Victoria, British Columbia, Baichwal's previous documentaries include "The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams' Appalachia" , "Manufactured Landscapes", "Act of God" and "Payback".
The four-day event promises to enrich viewers about different societies and cultures with screenings of films like Nagraj Manjule's "Fandry", Nitin Kakkar's "Filmistaan", Sange Dorjee Thongdok's "Crossing Bridges", Richie Mehta's "Siddharth", and Q's "Tasher Desh".
The list also includes Jacek Borcuch's Polish film "Lasting"; Prasanna Vithanage's Sri Lankan movie "With You Without You", Cate Shortland's "Lore" from Australia, which was also the Best Foreign Film Oscar Nominee, and Kim Mordaunt's "The Rocket" from Laos.
(Nivedita can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)