Robert Redford puts star power behind Colorado River film

Reuters
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He's a movie star and an Oscar-winning director, but Robert Redford is also a passionate environmentalist and he and his film-maker son Jamie were in Washington to promote their latest film, a documentary called "Watershed".

"Watershed" focuses on the Colorado River system, that supplies most of America's west with its water. The Redfords want the film to serve as a warning, that the river basin is dangerously over-stressed and at risk of drying up.

SOUNDBITE (English) "WATERSHED" EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, ROBERT REDFORD SAYING: "The watershed issue is something that's happening all over the world, where the need for water is greater than the amount of water to provide for it. I think we're picking the Colorado River as an example of what's going on with watersheds all over the world and trying to focus on that and draw attention to it."

The film illustrates the various demands on the Colorado River through the eyes of the people who live on it, from a fly-fishing instructor near the river's source, to

farmers and others who depend on the water downstream. Jamie Redford says that by enlisting real people in the project, the issue is more likely to resonate with an audience.

SOUNDBITE (English) "WATERSHED" PRODUCER, JAMIE REDFORD SAYING: "It was pretty clear from our point of view that what we wanted to do was specifically focus on people and we wanted to take a positive look at what is a challenging situation so, in that regard, we found characters up and down the river from the headwaters all the way out to the Colorado delta in Mexico that are fighting to make a difference and are making a difference and setting an example of what you can do."

SOUNDBITE (English) "WATERSHED" EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, ROBERT REDFORD SAYING: "You've got 30 million people dependent on that water source and a lot of that dependency is urban renewal, booming metropolitan cities. You've got drinking, you've got sanitation and you've got electrical generation. You pull that off the river. Plus the agricultural water rights that the farmers and ranchers have. You've got a depletion that has to be looked at otherwise the whole thing's going to dry up and we're going to be in deep kaka."

But both Redfords admits a new water ethic will be difficult to achieve. They're disappointed by the deep divisions over energy policy in Washington, and say real change has to come from the public at large.

SOUNDBITE (English) "WATERSHED" EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, ROBERT REDFORD SAYING: "The future is about young people. I think young people coming on today, like Jamie my son, his son, other generations coming. What are we thinking about them? I think we have such a tendency to think short, short term and therefore apply short term solution to longer term problems. We're just not going to get there unless that changes."

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