Poland – A conservation documentary by University of Cape Town film students has garnered international recognition and will premier at the Green Film Festival in Krakow later this month (October 20).
The Water Dancers, completed in 2018 by film graduates Robyn Palmer, Daniel Ndevu, Tessa Barlin, Michael Dawson and Erin Macpherson, enjoyed a national festival tour with screenings in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town earlier this year. Succeeding its international premiere, the 25-minute documentary will travel to four more African countries: Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Kenya and Namibia, as part of Germany’s Goethe-Institut Science Film Festival
The Water Dancers tells a story about striking a balance between increasing human development and environmental conservation. It does so by offering the audience a glimpse at one of the most delicate and resilient species in the natural world: the dragonfly. Being among the oldest animal species on earth, dragonflies’ survival through some of the most arduous aeons of life is a testament to their resilience. Scientists have honed into this to develop a best practice for conserving natural ecology for future generations. Some of the most groundbreaking work has already seen decades of successful implementation in KwaZulu-Natal. Having filmed in KZN in early 2017, the crew began filming in Cape Town later in the year, during the height of the Western Cape drought. As a result, the film feeds poignantly into current discourse surrounding South Africa’s increasing pressure on its freshwater systems and its need for more effective conservation approaches.
While the film aims to promote important and innovative efforts that combat environmental crises, it also offers an evocative journey through the eyes of a dragonfly, telling a story of suffocation and spurring a fervent tenacity among global citizens to be accountable for their footprints.
Though trailblazing, these practices are presented in the documentary as blueprints with proven impact, from which humankind can grow and continue to innovate. The film is proud to promote the work being carried out as a beacon for the world. South Africa is among the most biodiverse countries on the planet, presenting it with a unique opportunity and a prodigious responsibility to pioneer a passage of conservation into the future.