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Reflection: a walk with water

Filmmaker Emmett Brennan walks the length of the Los Angeles aqueduct in search of a vision for humanity worth living for - what he discovers has everything to do with water.

A printer-friendly version of this page 79 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Emmett Brennan
Produced by Emmett Brennan, Nicholas Brennan
Executive Producers: Matthew Monahan, Adam Fell
Executive Music Producer: Jacob Collier
Composer: Justin Kauflin
Written, Edited, and Photographed by Emmett Brennan
Assistant Director: Caiius Clark

"A thoughtful, informative, provocative, and inspirational film." Kurt Schwabe, Prof, Environmental Economics & Policy, UC-Riverside
[Note: Community screenings of REFLECTION: a walk with water can be booked at Bullfrog Communities.]

The conditions that make life possible are rapidly changing. Reckoning with this reality on the cusp of a record-setting dry season, filmmaker Emmett Brennan embarks on a powerful journey to find stories of hope and healing. Brennan sets out to walk 200 miles next to the Los Angeles aqueduct. Along the way he encounters cultural leaders, ecological iconoclasts, and indigenous wisdom keepers who are re-envisioning our relationship to water. The water cycle is being broken, they say, and the consequence is an increasingly erratic and uninhabitable planet.

Through a series of intimate vignettes, Reflection: a walk with water offers essential guidance for reviving this cycle. The award-winning film highlights transformational stories from LA and other parts of California and makes widespread ecological healing seem well within reach. Providing deep insight into the inseparability of water and life, Reflection helps equip our minds and hearts for the important work ahead.

Featuring original music by Grammy-winning artist, Jacob Collier.

Grade Level: 7 - 12, Colleges, Adults
US Release Date: 2022     Copyright Date: 2021
DVD ISBN: 1-948745-85-2

"Startlingly provocative...Beautifully shot and lyrical...Thought-provoking."
Dennis Perkins, Portland Press Herald

"In the midst of a climate emergency, Reflection: a walk with water is an enlightening investigation that urges humanity to rethink life's most basic resource."
Jose Rodriguez, Tribeca Film Festival

"[A] divining rod for finding ways to live more consciously in a world of higher temperatures and ever-worsening drought."
David Hochman, Forbes

"Must see...Should be screened through every internet portal, at every bus stop, on every subway line, and in every government office, school, university and bar. It explains all you need to know about water."
Drake Stutesman, Framework, The Journal of Cinema and Media

"Reflection: a walk with water is a delightful and sobering search for hope and healing. A wonderfully filmed and crafted piece showing water's importance to all life. Watch it and find many water-filled and biological treasures. Listen for the water calling you to create new intentions. Learn that tomorrow is another day for us to get it right. Another day of opportunities."
Randy Hayes, Rainforest Action Network founder, Foundation Earth's Executive Director

"Get out your field notebooks for this hopeful documentary on the numerous intentional designs that restore our degraded ecosystems. Experts articulate the science involved and elegantly demonstrate complex ideas on how vegetation and soils naturalize water cycles and conserve water, which elements of wildlife and indigenous knowledge reduce the risk of catastrophic fire, what grazing and agricultural practices improve food security and address resource inequality, and why hope is a key ingredient to stewardship. While the film focuses on ecosystems surrounding the Los Angeles, the lessons shared are applicable to most of our planet."
Theodore Endreny, Software Developer for i-Tree Tools, Professor, Environmental Resources Engineering, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

"Reflection melds beautiful scenery with important lessons about water and land stewardship. It emphasizes respectful relationships among peoples and what can happen to watersheds when water is diverted. Interspersed throughout is useful information about soil health, recharge of rain and floodwater, and agricultural practices."
Sharon B. Megdal, Ph.D., Director, Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona

"A thoughtful, informative, provocative, and inspirational film. Brennen challenges us to consider the manner in which our ill-planned development goals and strategies have created a less resilient environment, especially in the context of water availability, significantly increasing our susceptibility to environmental disasters under a new climate regime. While he asks the viewer to consider what would happen if we designed our lives around water in a radically different way, his film cleverly shows us that the solution isn't so radical as it may appear for those who know their history and science."
Kurt Schwabe, Associate Dean and Professor, Environmental Economics and Policy, University of California-Riverside, Co-Editor, Drought in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions: A Multi-Disciplinary and Cross-Country Perspective

"An incredible 200-mile journey."
Ryan Fleming, Deadline

"Offers a vision of hope in the midst of humanity's existential crisis."
Paul Risker, PopMatters

"Filmmaker Emmett Brennan hopes to inspire...instead of focusing on the damage, he captures the efforts of people working to restore and promote healthy water systems."
Mya Constantino, The Press Democrat

"With accounts and wisdom that resonate with millennials and others, Reflection is both a poetic meditation on water and a guide for practical change...[The film] cogently and powerfully presents an empirical re-imagining to positively impact water resources locally, nationally, and globally."
Carole Di Tosti, Blogcritics

"An important exploration of the built world."
Architectural Digest

"Fascinating and beautifully filmed...As more people care and become engaged, there is reason for hope. A solid and inspiring case has been made and there is much food for thought."
Belle McIntyre, Musee Magazine

"Reflection: A Walk with Water explains the root of the climate crisis...This film does well to illustrate how the first step to helping solve the problem is understanding the problem...Captivating and moving."
Emma Lostutter, The Sandspur

"Here is a filmmaker who gets up close and personal with water...Emmett Brennan gives us much hope for an already dire situation...The film presents a simple problem with complex solutions."
Fernando Fernandez, Fern TV

"Fascinating...It shows that in a context of climate emergency, it is time to act and perhaps to review our way of life...An essential and perfectly mastered documentary."

"This is a journey that looks for optimism in a future that includes unprecedented challenges to our society, and to the land and water that we all depend on."
Roger Bales, Professor of Engineering, UC-Merced, Adjunct Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC-Berkeley

"Reflection brings to life the complex science of landscape hydrology, showing how soils, plants, and even microbiota are all part of the water cycle. Humans can be a healthy part of landscape hydrology instead of a disturbance to it. Water is not a fixed resource to be managed only with supply and demand, and this film demonstrates how we can meet our needs in water stressed places by working with nature instead of against it."
Noah Hall, Professor of Law, Wayne State University, Founder, Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, Co-author, Modern Water Law: Private Property, Public Rights, and Environmental Protections

"Charming new documentary...A road map for where we need to go."
Robin Abcarian, Los Angeles Times

"Our treatment of water is a perfect expression of the hubris of the dominant Western worldview. We will mend our beliefs and our ways, or we will perish. This film powerfully illustrates this reality. There's something here for any 'environmental' classroom: from environmental science to environmental arts and humanities."
Michael Paul Nelson, Professor of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy, Oregon State University, Co-editor, Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril

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DVDs include public performance rights.

DVD Features
DVD includes SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and scene selection.

Awards and Festivals
Audience Favorite, Mill Valley Film Festival
Tribeca Festival
Denver Film Festival
Ojai Film Festival
Milwaukee Film Festival
Braunschweig International Film Festival
Tahoe Film Fest
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival
Princeton Environmental Film Festival
Colorado Environmental Film Festival
Global Peace Film Festival
Transitions Film Festival
Sustainable Living Film Festival
Filmocracy Fest
Wales One World Film Festival
Ceres Food Film Festival

Climate Change/Global Warming
Earth Science
Environmental Ethics
Environmental Justice
Forests and Rainforests
Native Americans
Toxic Chemicals
Western US

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... more Reviews

"Retain[s] optimism for the future...While some current lifestyles and expectations may be part of the problem, the film finds many who are actively part of the solution and encourages viewers to find ways to do their part towards sustainability using and managing water."
Maggie Knapp, School Library Journal

"Highly Recommended...In households, schools and workplaces, water can mean health, hygiene, dignity, and productivity. In cultural, religious, and spiritual places, water can mean a connection with creation, community, and oneself. In natural spaces, water can mean peace, harmony, and preservation. What Reflection is saying up close and personal, is that water is under extreme threat from a growing population, increasing demands of agriculture and industry, and the worsening impacts of climate change. This is a thought-provoking film about an essential source we use every day of our lives."
LaRoi Lawton, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York, Educational Media Reviews Online

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