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Local filming documentary ‘Where There Once Was Water: A California Story’ 

Where There Once Was Water Brittany App
An aerial of Laguna Lake in San Luis Obispo showing the low water levels. Photo by Brittany Anzel App

Brittany App is creating her first full length documentary film

–Brittany Anzel App cares about water. She cares about it so much that she’s making a documentary about it. The film, called “Where There Once Was Water: A California Story,” will be her first feature-length documentary. See a short preview on here.

“In 2014, I created a short film titled ‘The Five Gallon Challenge‘ as a respectful alternative to the popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” the Atascadero resident said. “It quickly became a viral YouTube success, challenging participants to live on only five gallons of water for a day.”

That YouTube video, which has almost 10,000 views, came after she started to photograph bodies of water around the Central Coast, to show how much the drought was affecting them. She has now photographed bodies of water throughout California.

“This project actually began as a collection of stills,” she said. “For almost two years I documented our state’s shrinking reservoirs in hopes of inspiring conservation. But the stills, I realized, were not telling the whole story. So I started traveling the great state of California with the idea for this film on my mind, trying to connect some dots.”

While she has self-funded her first six months of work on the documentary, she now finds that she cannot continue without investors, which she is seeking via a KickStarter Campaign. The campaign kicked off Wednesday and runs through March 6.

“This film will be a solution-focused discussion about California’s current and future water landscape,” App said. “It will present a collection of innovative ideas and methods for interacting with water more sustainably, in hopes of inspiring behavioral change, on all levels, towards a more respectful and lasting relationship with water. I want to make a film that’s real, a film that’s poetic, honest, beautiful, and oozing with hope.”

App is working with Garrett Russel and Michael Mariant as drone operators and Erin Inglish, who created the title track for the film.

She has interviewed experts of the state’s current water landscape about what is working and what is not working, and has more planned.

“I will talk with progressive thinkers, with farmers, politicians, authors, activists and scientists,” App said. “About big ideas. About hope. And most importantly, about solutions.”

App expects that research and production will last about a year from March to March 2017 and then enter post-production, which includes editing, graphics, music and sound.

“I plan deliver the film to my Kickstarter backers in October of 2017,” App said. “I will spend the last few months of 2017 submitting my film to film festivals for inclusion in the 2018 film festival circuit.”

Her Kickstarter campaign goal is $25,000, which includes gear and research, aerial and drone footage, travel costs, website, graphics and design, crews, permits and transcription, editing, post-production and licensing, and miscellaneous fees and expenses.

“I have created a base-line budget that includes only my most elemental needs to bring this project to life,” App said. “This budget is based on the donation of my time, and the continuation of my work as a photographer to cover my monthly living expenses.”

She said this project is important because water is life and she wants to inspire change in relationship to how people use water, especially in California.

“My real and honest goal here is to follow my heart, to give a voice to water, and to make a big, brave, beautiful, and truly independent film that carries with it the potential to change our hearts and our world for the better,” App said.

Where There Once Was Water Brittany App

This photo, taken of boats in the low water of Lake Oroville in northern California, shows the effects of the water crisis in California. Photo by Brittany Anzel App

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