Video: The Silent Accomplice water film almost finished!

Gosh it’s been an exceptionally busy few weeks with precious little time for blogging! One of the new elements of my life is that I’m now co-teaching a course at the University of Manchester about water and sanitation planning and policy in developing countries. This course was written by Prof Dale Whittington from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It’s been specially adapted for delivery in Manchester and is proving absolutely fascinating so far. It’s also a steep – albeit very rewarding – learning curve for me, personally, given that most of my experience has been about UK and European water systems.

We kicked off a week or so ago with a guest lecture from Prof Tony Allan – the academic widely credited with inventing the concept of virtual water and winner of the 2008 Stockholm Water Prize. Happily we filmed that lecture and I’ll be posting up an excerpt of it very soon here at Waterstink.

However it’s my second intensive line of recent activity that’s the main subject of this post. For the past two years Prof Erik Knudsen and I have been making a feature length, creative documentary where water is the main ‘protagonist’. It’s called The Silent Accomplice. The film is alternative and experimental, true to Erik’s stylistic and narrative preferences for filmmaking (that closely align with two twentieth century cinematography masters, Robert Bresson and Yasujiro Ozu). To avoid steering our audience towards particular conclusions about social and environmental dimensions of water, the film also has no dialogue. Instead it draws the viewer in by showing ‘silent moments touched by water’ (the film’s current tagline).

So what’s it all about and why – as a water research academic – am I involved with this project? The mini-documentary we’ve made below to celebrate the end of the film’s production aims to answer these questions and more. It also shares our feelings about our recent test screening of the film. It was very exciting! We used a Blu-ray master shown through one of the best digital cinema projectors in Europe. This was at Manchester’s Odeon Printworks cinema:

There’s lots more information about the film over at the One Day Films website. We’re having a premiere for cast and crew in a few months time. We’re very much looking forward to this. Afterwards the film will be doing the festival circuit – including water and environmental film festivals. It will then be made widely available.

Duncan Thomas


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