Water on the Table

Director of Photography Steve Cosens shoots footage for Water On The Table.

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Mar 23, 2014

(Liz Marshall, 2010, Blu-ray, 79 min)

Visiting filmmaker Liz Marshall, plus World Water Day panel on The Human Right to Water: Connecting Local and Global Struggles

Co-presented with Stop Veolia Seattle and The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice

Water On The Table features the story of Maude Barlow, lauded as an “international water-warrior” for her crusade to have water declared a human right. The film shadows her life on the road, in Canada and the United States, over the course of a year, documenting her public face as well as the unscripted woman behind the scenes.

Barlow became a leader in the global water justice movement during the mid-1980s, when Canada’s water became a “tradable good” in the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement. Barlow fought to remove that label (water was ultimately included in NAFTA as not only a good, but also as an investment); water has since defined her.

Barlow’s critics regard her as an alarmist; some are policy and economic experts who argue that water is no different than any other resource, and that the best way to protect freshwater is to privatize it. Water on the Table presents both sides of the discussion alongside a riveting film portrait of an activist, framed by cinematic, haiku-style images that linger on watersheds, wetlands, rivers, estuaries, waterfalls and lakes—elevating water beyond the political and into the realm of a meditation on where our soul lies, as a species dependent on planet Earth.

”Water must be declared a public trust and a human right that belongs to the people, the ecosystem and the future, and preserved for all time and practice in law. Clean water must be delivered as a public service, not a profitable commodity.” —Maude Barlow

SCREENS WITH By Land or by Water (10 mins) and Filling Point (15 mins)

Filling Point (2010)

Two neighboring Palestinian communities in South Hebron, As-Samu’a (20,000 people) and Imneizel (500 people), suffer from bizarre restrictions imposed by Israel on the development of their basic water infrastructure. After years of negotiations, As-Samu’a was permitted to access some limited additional quantities of water, but on the condition that this water not be distributed to residents through their existing internal piped water distribution network. Thirty rainwater-harvesting cisterns have been isolated from Imneizel village by the Segregation Wall. Israeli violations of Palestinians’ human right to water are making it increasingly difficult for Palestinians to access the basic necessities for life and to stay on their land. Directed by Pietro Bellorini.

By Land or by Water (2009)

This film includes original testimony with families who had their water infrastructure directly targeted by Israel during the 23-day 2008-9 offensive on the Gaza Strip. 

This testimony provides human faces to the finding of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict: that water and sanitation resources and infrastructure were intentionally targeted by Israel.* Directed by Mohammed Majdalawi and LifeSource.

*“Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” para. 1023, UN Doc. A/HRC/12/48 (15 September 2009)


Liz Marshall (The Ghosts in Our Machine, 2013) is a multi-award winning auteur filmmaker (Director, Writer, Producer) and a cross-platform creator who fuses character-driven cinematic storytelling with social and environmental justice issues. Since the ‘90s she has created a body of eleven documentaries, shot all over the world, that focus on a range of subjects including: animal rights; the right to water movement; HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa; sweatshop labour; corporate-globalization; gender; censorship affecting writers and journalists and war-affected children. Liz is well versed in the art of conceptual point-of-view storytelling as a means of exploring complex issues.

Cindy Corrie is the mother of human rights activist and observer Rachel Corrie who, on March 16, 2003, was killed by an Israeli military Caterpillar D9R bulldozer in the Gaza Strip as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home. Motivated by her daughter's work and example, Cindy Corrie has dedicated herself to the pursuit of justice and peace in the Middle East, and has made numerous visits to the region, most recently in fall 2012, leading Interfaith Peace-Builder delegations to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.  She and her husband are the recipients of a Human Rights Advocates of the Year Award from Seattle University’s Human Rights Network and a Pillar of Peace Award from the Pacific Northwest Region of the American Friends Service Committee. In October 2012, they accepted the LennonOno Grant for Peace on behalf of their daughter Rachel.

Susan Koppelman is a Seattle based activist who spent five years living and working in Palestine, first with the Palestinian Hydrology Group and then with the grassroots Palestinian water justice collective LifeSource. Susan has produced a number of films on the Palestinian water crisis including Filling Point and Jordan Valley Blues. She is the author of the Blue Planet Project country profile on The Human Right to Water in Palestine.  Susan has an MSW from the University of Washington Seattle, a graduate certificate in International Development, and is a licensed yoga teacher. 

Panel organized by Stop Veolia Seattle (SVS) and The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.

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