Voices from the Waters International Film Festival


To bring to India and share globally, the International efforts on water conservation and people’s struggle for sustainable development through the medium of documentary films which will give further impetus to the public awareness on the need to conserve our water resources for posterity and to re -imagine it a source of the embodiment of life worlds, without reducing it to a commodity.

A major activity of the Society over the last ten years has been Voices from the Waters; International Traveling Film Festival on Water focusing on water scarcity,  the dams and the displaced,  water harvesting/conservation, water struggles/conflicts,  floods and droughts, global warming and climate change, degradation of oceans, impact of deforestation on water-bodies, increasing desertification, water, sanitation and health,  river pollution, holistic revival of water bodies,  water and life and other critical  takes on water to create awareness among the public to address one of the most important issue of our time – Water – the embodiment of life-worlds.

Voices from the Waters is the only film festival in the world which over the last ten years has been bringing together people’s tireless efforts across the world to conserve and understand  water in manifold ways. The festival will also bring out the quintessential yearning of the humans – to be integrated into nature… It is a space for people to imagine a new world and transform the old order.

In collaboration with several networks and organizations working on water, film and related issues, we have successfully completed nine editions of Voices from the Waters International Film Festival/conferences in multiple venues in Bangalore.

The festival has been traveling across the state of Karnataka, through the support of Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy as well as through the initiatives of environmental activists.  The festival has also traveled abroad to UN University, Tokyo,(2011), Spain, (2012), Columbia, (2013) and Gothenburg, Sweden in 2013 and 14 apart from many international film festivals sourcing films on water through our data base. Many International film festival seek our suggestions for good films on water. Voices from the Waters International Film Festival is also a celebration of bio-diversity.

It is a non-profit film festival to raise water and environmental awareness among the public. There is no entry fee for film submissions and admission to the festival is free on first come first serve basis.

Voices from the Waters, 2017

This year we are organizing the 11th  edition of this very unique festival that has been sustained on the tremendous good will and solidarity it has drawn from different sectors of civil society and state.

This time the gradual commoditization of water is the underlying concept around which the varied themes will be explored at the festival. Due to its growing popularity, we receive around 200 films from over 80 countries which we short list for the festival. More and more documentary film makers across the world are focusing their creativity on water. We will be screening at the festival the very best of them, (about 60 to 70 films), which while dealing with one of the most critical issues of our time are also aesthetically well crafted works – all of them  a must watch.

While focusing on water wars and water conflicts, the festival seeks to offer yet another glimpse into the struggles, the hopes and despair, the success stories of those who are carrying on a relentless struggle for access to water as a basic need.


Prior to the proposed programme in August/September 2016, we are in the process of organizing film screenings and discussions in at least at 30 colleges in Bangalore as well publicize the programme through social, print and electronic media to high light the issues we are facing on the water front in the city. Though the festival will take place during the rainy season, the whole of Karnataka, it is predicted will be facing acute water shortage for drinking, for irrigation and industry during the summer months from March to May 2016.

During the festival apart from screening internationally acclaimed films on various water themes for the public, the other activities planned are painting and photo exhibitions, art installations, interactions with film directors, water scholars, grass-root level water activists, cultural events such as dance and music, Eco-conscious product bazaar, stalls for NGOs working on water issues to promote their vision and work and their products on water and sanitation.  We also would like to explore possibilities of collaboration with industries engaged in water and sanitation.

Once the main festival is over it will travel across India through Film Society networks, NGOs working on water issues as well as interested media, cultural and academic institutions to bring in all the stakeholders of water and environment.

Out comes

A portal for films dedicated to water and related issues:

We have a collection of over 900 films on various water issues from across the world. We intend to upload these films for free public access with the permission of the film maker/producer/distributor to facilitate better access to all those who are involved in water. This activity will take some time as we have to get film producer to upload the film on to our portal.

Media resource center on films on water

We plan to set up a Media Resource Center for all stakeholders on water with our existing archive of films and literature on water and plan to network with similar organizations to make the whole effort dynamic. Besides this, through the year we will be organizing conferences and symposium on water issues in communities around us as well in high schools and academic institutions using the films in our archive. Our archive is already used by national and international Film Festivals on environment and more specifically on water. We plan to further promote such collaborative activities.