Fresno State Club Austral Welcomes All to November 13th Fight for Water Film Screening

Fresno State Austral Hosts Fight For Water FilmFresno State Club Austral invites you to the film screening of The Fight for Water Film: A Farm Worker Struggle by filmmaker Juan Carlos Oseguera,at 8pm on November 13, 2014 at the Fresno State University Student Union, Room 308, 5241 N. Maple Ave, Fresno, CA.

Set during the California Water Crisis of 2009, The Fight for Water highlights the human impact a federal ruling had on a migrant farming community when their water supply was shut off, and the march they staged in order to fight for their water. Oseguera, a California Central Valley filmmaker, filmed this event and documented their story. The film features Hollywood comedian turned activist Paul Rodriguez and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Club Austral is a Fresno State organization founded by Spanish majors in 2008. The purposes of the organization are: to promote cultural awareness at Fresno State about the Hispanic Culture; to strengthen the character and academic skills of all club members according to their area of expertise, ethically and professionally; to further promote academic, as well as, artistic projects that will allow club members to develop their personal strengths and exercise their creative abilities; and to foster academic alliances with Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures (MCLL), in the effort to find professional guidance and academic support.

The Fight for Water Documentary Available on DVD Sept. 16

Award-Winning Documentary Film, “The Fight for Water”, Available on DVD on September 16

The award-winning documentary film, The Fight for Water: A Farm Worker Struggle, which puts a human face to the California’s on-going water crisis, is coming to DVD on September 16 through Amazon and other sites. It is currently available for pre-order on the film’s official website: www.thefightforwaterfilm.com.

The independently produced film, which documents the struggle farmers and their farm workers had to face in order to fight for their water, has won accolades and international recognition. It has screened at over 10 film festivals worldwide, including environmental film festivals in Malaysia and the Czech Republic.

The film received Best Documentary honors at the 2013 International Monarch Film Festival and at the 2013 Viña de Oro International Film Festival and runner-up honors for Best Documentary in Cinematography and Best Political Documentary Film, and a nomination in Excellence in Filmmaking at the 2013 Action on Film International Film Festival.

The timely documentary offers an historical perspective on today’s water situation. It follows a group of farmers and their farm workers who describe how federal water measures in 2009 contributed to people being displaced from their jobs and fields going dry while refuges that protected a threatened fish species received all of the water designated for them. While the measures were intended for a good cause, they undeniably created unintended consequences. The government had to declare the affected area a disaster and, in addition to that, it had to provide food assistance for over two-hundred thousand people, many of whom were migrant workers who did not have other means to turn to. This led the community to rise up in a march across the California Central Valley.

“The film is a lesson to be learned. Farmworkers don’t want handouts; they want to work”, stated Juan Carlos Oseguera, 40, a San Francisco State Cinema alumnus who is the film’s director, producer, editor and writer. He was raised by parents who were migrant farm workers. This is his first feature-length film. “It’s something I thought I would never get to see in the United States. People in food lines and going hungry because of it.”

Oseguera happened to have family in the affected area and set out to film this event and document this struggle; examining, along the way, class and social politics behind water access and distribution in California.

“People should see this film,” stated Lois Henry, newspaper columnist for The Bakersfield Californian. “It’s important that we understand that perspective of what the ‘Water Wars’ mean on a really, really human scale.”

“The film documents something that should have never have never happened in America. California Farmers, providing so much nutritious food for the nation and the world are being strangled to near collapse due to severe and unnecessary environmental restrictions, which have never helped the species,” said Patrick Cavanaugh, long-time print journalist and broadcaster in California.

“All the collateral damage to towns to farmworkers, to family farms and businesses has been for nothing,” said Cavanaugh. “The extreme environmentalists that support the environmental  restrictions must find a different approach to protecting the species than to cut water off from California farmers.”

Hollywood actor Paul Rodriguez, who helped organize the march in the style of Cesar Chavez, is also featured in the film for his activism. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also makes an appearance on the film.”We hope people find our film on DVD and tell others about it,” added the director. “That is how you can help us support our film.” The film was independently produced without major distribution.

For more information about the film visit:
www.thefightforwaterfilm.com
www.facebook.com/thefightforwaterfilm

California water bond: The burning questions

Source: Jeremy B. White; The Sacramento Bee

Having passed an on-time budget and concluded their committee hearings, California lawmakers have escaped Sacramento for a few weeks and retired to their districts for a July recess. When they return, much of the remaining legislative session will be devoted to trying to get a new water bond on the November ballot.

Water policy remains one of the most complex and potent topics to engulf the state Capitol. Here are some answers to the key questions in the water bond debate:

What happened to the other water bond they passed?

In the dwindling days of the 2009 legislative session, lawmakers and then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger compromised on an $11.1 billion bond offering. That bond has been delayed twice and is now scheduled for the November 2014 ballot.

But the general Sacramento consensus now holds that the $11.1 billion bond is a goner: too large and too full of specific allocations redolent of pork. Gov. Jerry Brown has told lawmakers he is concerned about the 2009 proposal passing muster, and lawmakers argue it would be dead on arrival.

So what are they doing instead?

Even if they don’t like the existing bond proposal, many lawmakers still want something on the ballot. A historically intense drought can be a big motivator.

Several lawmakers have floated proposals for a new bond. Only one has made it as far as a floor vote. That measure, a $10.5 billion proposal by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, could not garner enough votes to get out of the Senate. On the day lawmakers adjourned for recess, senators announced a diminished $7.5 billion proposal.

Assembly members are hammering out their own compromise measure. They were close to introducing one earlier last week but had to go back to the drawing board. It now looks more likely they will unveil a pact once legislators return from summer recess.

What does the governor think?

For much of this year Brown declined to weigh in on a water bond. But he finally broke that silence recently and has begun meeting with lawmakers. Since the governor would need to sign any new bond, his opinion matters.

In keeping with his image as California’s responsible fiscal steward – a reputation he would like to burnish in an election year – Brown has advocated a bond that is smaller than both the $11.1 billion measure and the alternative bonds lawmakers are floating. These numbers are more starting points for negotiations than hard ceilings, but Brown suggested a bond worth $6 billion overall, with $2 billion for storage.

Surface Storage? What does that mean?

The term “surface storage” generally refers to big projects like dams and reservoirs. If California has more places to stash water in wet years, the thinking goes, it will be better equipped to survive the dry stretches. But storage could also encompass money to replenish or clean up supplies of groundwater, which California relies on more heavily in dry years.

Determining where storage dollars might go spurs fierce disputes over what types of projects could be eligible. Since all taxpayers are subsidizing them, bond-funded storage projects must carry broad public benefits.

Defining those benefits can be a problem. Bonds that list recreation as a benefit, for example, are a red flag for dam-averse environmentalists. As they note, you can’t take a boat out on groundwater.

Will a bond help with the drought?

One thing lawmakers can’t do is create more water. If rain is scarce and the Sierra snowpack is diminished, that means there’s less to go around. If big storage projects are advanced, it would still take years for construction to finish and yield results.

Other money could bolster access to drinking water. Proposals would offer grants to treat drinking water contaminated with nitrates or other chemicals, money for recycling and reusing wastewater, funding to repair water infrastructure in disadvantaged communities and support for capturing more stormwater.

What about the Delta tunnels? Will a bond pay for those?

This is a tricky one. Understanding the answer requires a brief explanation of the so-called “co-equal goals” of Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

The centerpiece of Brown’s legacy water project would be a pair of massive water tunnels capable of funneling water to southern parts of the state without needing it to flow through the Delta. It’s very controversial. But the project isn’t just tunnels. It would also need to pay for sweeping environmental restoration to help the Delta’s teeming habitat, what’s known as “mitigation.”

That imperative of spending money on Delta habitat is affecting the water bond debate. None of the bonds would allocate money to build the tunnels. But they all offer money for the Delta. Senate President Pro Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and others point to polling suggesting that any bond that is not “BDCP-neutral” will rally the opposition and falter before voters. Brown also believes a bond must be divorced from the tunnels.

Would a bond with money for the Delta ecosystem help Brown build the tunnels? Depends who you ask. For now, Delta advocates and environmentalists believe Wolk’s bond is the most tunnel-neutral option. But some observers believe that Delta plan skeptics could frame any bond with Delta money as a boon to Brown’s tunnel dreams and hurt its chances for passage.

Are special interests involved?

Assuredly. With billions of dollars at stake, various interest groups have been making their priorities known to lawmakers. That includes environmentalists, agricultural interests, organizations like the Alliance of California Water Agencies, major urban water agencies like the Metropolitan Water District and prominent agricultural water providers like the Westlands Water District.

For the environmentalists, a key point of contention is what sort of projects a bond could fund. They don’t want to see preference given to new large-scale reservoirs, expressing skepticism that the new dams would be cost-effective and warning about environmental degradation.

Most pressing for many water districts and agencies is more money for storage. Their customers are thirsty, something they hope a bond can address. Since Brown’s tunnels have become bound up with the bond conversation, it’s worth noting that significant support for the Delta tunnels comes from exporters that would like to see a steadier flow of water.

When is the deadline?

The statutory deadline to get a new water bond on the ballot has come and gone (it was June 26). The Legislature can still waive various laws to put something before voters in November.

But elections are complex undertakings, and the civic machinery has already started whirring. The secretary of state’s office has begun assembling the voter guides that must go on public display by July 22 before being printed and mailed to voters. County election officials typically start ordering ballots to be printed in August. Those ballots have to be translated into nine other languages.

Lawmakers have options. Administrators are already allotting space for the $11.1 billion bond, so swapping out that language for a new bond would be simpler. If lawmakers take too long striking a new bond deal, they could end up having to print a second, separate voter guide. That would cost more money, potentially millions of dollars.

So the short answer is: there is no immutable deadline. But the longer lawmakers take, the more complicated and expensive it gets.

Documentary Film “The Fight for Water” premieres May 16 On Demand and at the Film’s Website

The award-winning documentary film, The Fight for Water: A Farm Worker Struggle, which highlights the 2009 Water Crisis as a cautionary tale on the current California drought, is making its way to Video on Demand May 16.  It will also be available for viewing through the film’s website at www.thefightforwaterfilm.com.

The film follows two farmers (Joe Del Bosque and George Delgado) and their farmworkers around their drought-stricken lands in order to understand how an environmental decision that took away their water impacted their lands, their way of life and their community.

Recently, Del Bosque was thrown into the national spotlight when President Barack Obama visited his drought-stricken farm to address the current water crisis in California.

Hollywood actor Paul Rodriguez is also featured in the film for his activism.  He helped organize a four-day march, in the style of Cesar Chavez, to draw attention to the dire situation that saw over 200,000 people in food lines. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also makes an appearance on the film.

The film was produced by Juan Carlos Oseguera, 40, a San Francisco State University alumnus who has been a published film critic and an accomplished producer and editor of several award-winning short films.

This is his first feature-length film.

The historical documentary, has screened at over 10 film festivals; winning accolades and worldwide recognition.  It received the Best Documentary award at the 2013 International Monarch Film Festival and at the 2013 Viña de Oro Fresno International Film Festival

The film also received runner-up honors for Best Documentary in Cinematography and for Best Political Documentary Film at the 2013 Action on Film International Film Festivalwhere it also received a nomination for Excellence in Filmmaking.

“It’s important that we understand that perspective of what the ‘Water Wars’ mean on a really, really human scale,” stated Lois Henry, a newspaper columnist who reviewed the film for The Bakersfield Californian. “People should see this film.”

For more information about the film visit: www.thefightforwaterfilm.com or www.facebook.com/thefightforwaterfilm

For interviews, film review requests or questions about the film, contact Filmunition Productions at filmunition@yahoo.com