The movie is a movement - UM launches campaign for World Water Day

Photo by: Sanjeev Chatterjee

"1H2O" screening and discussion with young school students outside Delhi, 2006.
The Knight Center for International Media at the School of Communication, University of Miami, is launching the 1H2O-Campaign 2009, a series of international events to raise awareness about water-related issues, in celebration of World Water Day, March 22.

Sanjeev Chatterjee, the Knight Center's executive director, said the campaign has a strong social media component that allows people to carry the message further.

"We have spent the last six years generating a tremendous amount of media around the global water crisis," said Chatterjee, also vice dean at UM School of Communication. "Now, new technology helps us to spread the word on many fronts."

As part of the campaign, an invitation was posted on One Water's Facebook group for people around the world to either host or join a screening party of "1H2O," a 22-minute, non-verbal film about the scarcity of water and people's changing relationship to it.

Nearly 100 people from 20 countries have responded to the Facebook invitation. Screening party hosts will be able to download the film for free on The Knight Center has also made available hundreds of DVDs and VCDs (both PAL and NTSC) to be mailed out for these international events.

"This crisis will spare no one," Chatterjee said. "It is crucial that everyone becomes aware of this global problem and do their share to try to mitigate it."

A feature-length film, "One Water," also produced at the University of Miami, has been getting wide recognition of its own and received many awards.

The 1H2O-Campaign 2009, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is a partnership between UM's Knight Center and San-Francisco based Independent Television Service (ITVS).

"The 1H2O project builds on ITVS International's commitment to support international filmmakers to create documentaries that give more insight into the most pressing issues facing our global community," said Sally Fifer, president and CEO of ITVS. "We are truly inspired by the programs that were created by international filmmakers about the water challenges in their countries. As is made clear by the footage they captured, the world needs to act urgently to avoid a serious water shortage."

Other global activities around World Water Day:

*One Take is a contest to be launched on World Water Day for participants to create a short, two-minute video of a monologue responding to the question, "Is water a basic human right?" The video can be in any language and must be recorded in one continuous take. There will be three prizes. The first will be awarded US $500. Forthcoming details will be announced on on March 22, 2009. Deadline for the contest is May 15. Two more contests will be announced over the next year.

*As part of the 1H2O-Campaign 2009, the Knight Center for International Media and ITVS International have coordinated a major global initiative to produce and promote media that would increase awareness of water issues around the world. The program, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will launch initially in four countries on March 22, 2009, World Water Day. Colombia, South Africa, Bahrain and India will fill a one-hour television slot in each respective country to broadcast a locally produced film about water, along with "1H2O."

*In India, on World Water Day, "1H2O" will be screened to children in more than 50 different locations across the country. Pratham, one of the largest non-government organizations working in elementary education in India, will facilitate the screenings and produce a survey to evaluate what children know about water and to raise awareness of issues related to water in their own neighborhoods and in the world.

*Many other "One Water" and "1H2O" screenings will also take place at universities in the world, along with panel discussions with local experts. At the University of Miami, the screening will be held at Bill Cosford Cinema, on March 24, at 3:30 pm. Sanjeev Chatterjee, the films' producer, writer and co-director, and Ali Habashi, editor and co-director, will be available for Q&A following the screening.

For more information and updates on additional screenings, visit - the water Web site, a space for international journalists to report on the most compelling stories of water and human life in the world.

To organize a "1H2O" party, click here.

About "One Water" and "1H2O"

"One Water," filmed in 14 countries over a six-year period, is produced, co-directed and written by Sanjeev Chatterjee of the University of Miami School of Communication, and co-directed and edited by Ali Habashi of the College of Engineering. Ed Talavera, of the School of Communication, served as director of photography.

"1H2O," a 22-minute, non-verbal version, includes visuals from five countries -- India, South Africa, Spain, Peru and the United States.

To learn more about the documentary or for a press kit, please visit

The campaign to bring news and information about water through the One Water project is an initiative of the Knight Center for International Media at the University of Miami and principally funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Posted on March 13, 2009