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UPDATE: Maude Barlow speaking at Cannes this morning

Maude Barlow speaks at the press conference in Cannes

Maude Barlow speaks at the press conference in Cannes

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow spoke at a media conference at the Cannes Film Festival this morning on ‘Paani’, a film in pre-production to be released in 2011.

It is the first major motion picture to deal directly with issues of water justice and scarcity.

As noted in our media release yesterday, “Barlow, because of her respected work on the issue, has been invited to present at the Cannes launch.”

The Calcutta Telegraph recently reported that, “Shekhar Kapur wants to focus on water, the subject of his next film, Paani. He wants to ‘individualise’ a story so that viewers can be affected by the emotions involved with ordinary people coping in a world short of water. He rails against the injustice of some Americans showering for two hours. ‘In one minute, an American can use up more water than an Indian family of five uses in a day,’ he alleges. He is also unhappy that ‘India is a net water exporter’. This is because behind a pair of jeans lies usage of ‘5,000 litres of water’.”

Kapur recently told the Hindu that, “I plan to start shooting Paani about the current water crisis in Mumbai. It will have Indian and international cast. The script is almost through, and I’m waiting for the casting.”

To read our media release, go here. My recent blog on ‘Paani’ is here.

To see a short teaser for the film, go to


The Hollywood Reporter adds this afternoon that Shekhar Kapur had bottles of water at the media conference, some filled with water from the slums in Mumbai, India, though they were all ‘brownish’ and labeled Valentine’s. Kapur said, “I’ve got this water from the slums of Dharavi, and if you are committed to the film, you’ll drink this.”

The article continues, “Kapur took a swig from his bottle, as did the others joining him at the press event – Alexander Koll from Swarovski Entertainment, “Blue Covenant” author Maude Barlow, producer Manmohan Shetty (of Adlabs) and screenwriter David Farr.”

“Kapur continues to be inspired by Shakespeare, and so Paani, though it addresses the global issue of water, is also a love story. It’s set in a mythical world split into two – the upper city is the globalized city where lords control water; and the lower, water-stressed city is inhabited by water rats. …Sets will be created in India, and there will be some location filming in Singapore and Dubai. The cast is yet to be finalized, but Kapur reveals it will be international.”

The filming of Paani begins in November.

For additional photos from this morning’s media conference at Cannes, go to