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Swarovski, UCLA Shine Light on Water Protection, Education in New Documentary

Rose Kelley Da Silva Santos, a 15-year-old from Brazil, is one of the girls featured in the WATERSCHOOL film. | Image credit: Swarovski/Tiffanie Hsu on Vimeo

A new film, WATERSCHOOL, takes viewers on a journey with several young female students who live along six of the world’s major rivers — the Amazon, Mississippi, Danube, Nile, Ganges and Yangtze — to shine a light on the importance of safeguarding the continued supply of fresh water and the work of the Swarovski Waterschool education and community investment program.

The film was created through a partnership between Swarovski and the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television. The abundance of water was one of the factors that attracted the crystal company founder Daniel Swarovski to the Austrian region of Tyrol, where he established the first Swarovski manufacturing site back in 1895. Water is a vital ingredient in making crystals, which has kept its supply and protection a longstanding consideration for the company. Its main manufacturing plant is partly powered by small scale hydro power and 70 percent of the water needed in its operations is met through recycled sources.

To build on its operational commitments, the company set up the Swarovski Waterschool in 2000. The program aims to inspire present and future generations to understand and practice sustainable water use, environmental stewardship and hygiene education, thus ensuring long-term health and the availability of clean water for all. To date, it has reached almost half a million young people through 2,400 schools worldwide. The experiences of several of the participants are the subject of the new film.

“This project embraces principles which lie at the foundation of our philanthropic legacy  environment, female empowerment and education. The glimpses the film offers into the lives of six young women highlight some of the issues around water within different geographic regions, and will hopefully inspire communities to focus on education and enable change,” said Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Swarovski Executive Board.

To create WATERSCHOOL, a team of seven UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television graduate students travelled across five continents to capture the moving stories of these young girls, giving voice to the generation for whom the preservation of clean water is most pressing. The result is a powerful call to arms — for teachers and educators as much as young people themselves. As the students discover how best to protect water, so they pass on their insights to their peers, parents and grandparents. WATERSCHOOL is a reminder of the power of education — with the support of the business community — to transform lives and tackle the world’s crucial environmental issues.

“It has been a great honor to partner with visionary leader Nadja Swarovski and her team to create this landmark feature documentary. I am very proud of our remarkable graduate film students to whom Swarovski gave an unparalleled opportunity to create a film at the highest levels of creative excellence. Key to our School’s mission is providing diverse students with transformational opportunities to create stories that not only entertain, but also foster social impact,” said Teri Schwartz, Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. “This amazing partnership with Swarovski underscores our shared belief in the power of story to enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world.”

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