The compelling new feature-length documentary Waterschool, created by graduate film students from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, was introduced at a special private screening during the Sundance Film Festival, as part of an exclusive Swarovski-hosted event on Saturday, Jan. 20 in Park City, Utah. After the screening, there was a panel discussion and Q&A with Teri Schwartz, UCLA TFT Dean, Nadja Swarovski, member of the Swarovski Executive Board, and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Lucy Walker, who was a distinguished mentor on the project.

Following the film's premiere at Sundance, Swarovski presented the film during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, followed by a panel discussion about empowering the next generation to conserve the world’s most precious resource. CNBC host Tania Bryer moderated the panel discussion with Nadja Swarovski and Schwartz, as well as Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and co-chair of WE Charity; Mark Tercek, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy; and Lucineide Pinheiro, founder and director of IMEA (Instituto Mureru Eco Amazonia).

Waterschool shines a light on one of the greatest issues facing mankind: safeguarding the continuing supply of fresh water. The documentary follows the experiences of six girls and young women who live along six of the world’s major rivers – the Amazon, Mississippi, Danube, Nile, Ganges and Yangtze – and celebrates the work of Swarovski Waterschool, a community investment program set up in 2000 that has reached almost half a million young people through 2,400 schools worldwide.

To make Waterschool, a team of seven UCLA TFT graduate filmmaking 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. Vivid, lyrical and often poignant, the film is a reminder of the power of education – with the support of the business community – to transform lives and tackle the world’s pressing environmental issues. The students oversaw all areas of production including directing, producing, editing, cinematography and sound. Emmy-winning composer Alex Wurman created the film's score.

Water has been at the heart of the Swarovski story since it was founded in 1895. The family-run company relies on small-scale hydro-electric power at its manufacturing site in the Austrian Alps and recycles 70% of the water it uses to produce crystal. The Swarovski family set up Waterschool to teach young people about the importance of fresh water, and how to use it, conserve it and cherish it.

Waterschool reveals how the teachers and guides of Swarovski Waterschool are empowering the growing citizens of the new era to take care of the world’s most valuable resource. 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 husband and protect water, so they pass on their insights to their peers, parents and grandparents.

What emerges in the telling of Waterschool is an inspiring and emotive message. United by a vision of hope to save the lifeblood of the planet, we each have it within us to be ambassadors for water conservation.

Alive with the optimism of youth, but transcending the boundaries of age, Waterschool leaves us in no doubt: Every one of us has the power to make a difference.

“This project embraces principles which lie at the foundation of our philanthropic legacy – environment, female empowerment and education,” says Nadja Swarovski, a producer on the film. “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. I am grateful to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and its graduate film students for making this beautiful film about our Waterschool, under the mentorship of Dean Teri Schwartz and (Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated filmmaker) Lucy Walker, who have brought to bear their considerable expertise in the making of documentaries and feature films.”

Waterschool producer Teri Schwartz, Dean of UCLA TFT, commented: “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. This amazing partnership with Swarovski underscores our shared belief in the power of story to enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world.”

Find out more about Swarovski Waterschool at

Posted: January 24, 2018