Audiences invited to quench their 'Thirst' at Nickelodeon

Sierra Club presents documentary about water rights

Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Juneau chapter of the Sierra Club will screen "Thirst," a 2003 documentary about the privatization of water rights, at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, as the fifth in its series of free films at the Gold Town Nickelodeon.

Produced and directed by Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman, with music composed by Fred Frith, "Thirst" asks whether water should be a basic human right or a commodity that can be sold. It looks at communities in Stockton, Calif., Bolivia and India that are struggling with water access.

The film begins at the 2003 Third World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan, where a group of executives and politicians are debating who should be in control of water supplies. Activists from Bolivia, India and Stockton are also at the forum.

In Bolivia, community activist Oscar Olivera directs thousands of citizens in a revolt against Bechtel Corp., a U.S.-based company with a water privatization contract in the country. In India, Rajendra Singh leads a grassroots movement for conservation against the government's attempt to sell water to multinational corporations. In Stockton, residents rise up against Mayor Gary Podesto's plans to cede control of the water system to a group of corporations.

"Thirst" premiered in the United States at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C., and has played in dozens of festivals since. It was shown on the PBS series "P.O.V." on July 13, 2004, and was screened to Congress in the fall of 2004.

"Thirst is like a message in a bottle sent from the future," the Portland Mercury wrote. "It tells the beginning of what could be one of the major political and economic issues to shape the next century."

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