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      Prairie Water Film Festival to feature environment

      The League of Women Voters of Amarillo and its Environment Committee are trying to raise awareness about the looming water crisis in Texas and spur discussion on possible solutions by hosting the Prairie Water Film Festival.

      The public is invited to attend any or all of three sessions scheduled Friday evening, March 22, and Saturday, March 23, at the Don Harrington Discovery Center, 1200 Streit Drive. Tickets are $5 per session for ages 12 and older.

      March 22 has been designated as "World Water Day" by the United Nations to "generate attention to the importance of water and to advocate for sustainable management of freshwater resources," said Joy Shadid, festival chair. "The League hopes to bring together a diverse group of business and industry leaders, educators, students, gardeners, farmers, families and others from all over the Panhandle to view these films and participate in the discussions we will have before concluding each session."

      "The Texas Legislature is considering legislation to withdraw vast sums of money from the Rainy Day Fund to begin to address our water problems in Texas," she added. "In the meantime it is vital that all Texans become aware of and educated about the situation and learn how each of us can affect water supplies for future generations."

      Session 1 of the film festival will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, March 22. It will feature the short film "One Plastic Beach" about a couple who have been collecting plastic debris off a beach in California for 10 years and using it in their art work, and a longer film, Last Call at the Oasis. Last Call, from Academy Award-winning director Jessica Yu, sheds light on the global nature of the water crisis, why it will be the central issue of this century and introduces us to individuals who are championing revolutionary solutions. The session will conclude with a reception and discussion.

      Session 2 begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 23, and features the films Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West and Carbon Nation. Executive produced and narrated by Robert Redford, Watershed tells the story of threats to the once-mighty Colorado River and offers solutions to the future of the American West. Carbon Nation is a documentary movie about climate-change solutions and how they also address social, economic and national security issues. Discussion will be followed by a lunch break at 12:30 p.m.

      Session 3, starting at 1:30 p.m. Saturday (March 23), will have three films: Playas: Reflections of Life on the Plains, the short film "Blue Obsession," and Chasing Ice. Playas tells of their vital role in sustaining both wildlife and people in the dry terrain of the High Plains. "Blue Obsession" shows both the beauty of the Mendenhall Glacier in southeast Alaska and documents its changing forms as old features melt away and new ones are revealed. Chasing Ice features the award-winning work of photographer James Balog, who in 2005 set out to document the disappearance of glaciers by setting up time-lapse cameras around the world. Discussion following the films will conclude about 4 p.m.

      The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the active and informed participation in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy, according to Joyce Hinsley, Amarillo LWV president.

      More information on the Prairie Water Film Festival is available on the website www.prairiewaterfilmfestival.wordpress.com.