Last Call at the Oasis: Using Film as an Educational Tool for Community Outreach

Project Title: Last Call at the Oasis: Using Film as an Educational Tool for Community Outreach

Project Participant: Larynn Cutshaw

Description & overview of project:

Many would argue that public outreach and education is the root of solution for many of the environmental problems we are facing today. Many forms of educational tools can be used to inspire change in an audience including speakers, workshops, protests, music, and film, to name a few. Over the years, I have found that film has been the medium that has moved me the most.

One of the most moving docudramas I have ever viewed was “Last Call at the Oasis,” directed by Jessica Yu and starring some of the world’s most influential environmentalists on water policy including Erin Brockovich, Jay Famiglietti, and Robert Glennon. This film offers one of the most extensive investigations into the worldwide water shortage with a comprehensive examination of global availability and sanitation, effects of global warming, threats to biodiversity, and more. It exposes some of the flaws in the United States water management systems including distribution techniques, bottled water companies, and agricultural threats, to name a few.

I plan to bring these issues along with many more (see below) to light by screening this film during Green Week as the theme of water waste fits with this year’s focus. I have received an enthusiastic “Yes!” to collaborate with the Green Week team (namely Tree House and Environment and Wildlife Club) by Cynthia Hastings and Reilly Reynolds. The date and exact details are still to be determined, but the screening should take place at the Strand Theatre. I will work with the Green Week committee for promotional support of the event and possible funding (as further described below).

My next step will be talking to Chuck in the Media Center to discuss the feasibility of this event by gaining the needed copyright and permission from the theatre. If needed, I will apply for a SIP grant to support the copyright permits needed for the showing and any venue expenses that may incur from the Strand. After speaking to Chuck and the necessary people at the Strand, I will submit a screening request through Tugg.

Finally, I would like to conclude the event with a talk-back or panel discussion (location TBD if the Strand does not allow). Many screenings of this event have commenced with an hour long panel discussion by local water experts. If possible, I would like to invite 3-4 professionals to serve on a panel/discussion group including: someone from the Delaware/Olentangy Watershed, the manager of the Delaware Water Treatment Plant, a representative from FLOW Columbus, and an OWU faculty member (Dr. Downing who specializes in Freshwater or another faculty member from the Environmental Studies department). I hope that by bringing together people from different perspectives of the water problem will allow for a productive discussion.

Outline of project:

  1. Community involvement/introduction
    1. Reasons for appealing to greater community
    2. Need for awareness of environmental issues
    3. Using film as educational tool
  2. Background/Current issues with water as presented in film
    1. Drought/water shortage
      1. Groundwater depletion
    2. Unsustainable use
      1. Private
      2. Commercial
      3. Agricultural
    3. Global lack of availability and sanitation
    4. Climate change
    5. Loss of biodiversity
    6.  Contamination
      1. Pollution
      2. Medication toxicity
    7. Stormwater
    8. Bottled water
    9. Mitigation
      1. Domestic
      2. International
  3. Showing of film
    1. Green week
      1. Tree House
      2. E&W
      3. Advertising
    2. Screening at the Strand
      1. Collaboration with media center
      2. Copyright
        1. Apply for SIP
        2. Request via Tugg (see below)
    3. Talk-back/panel discussion
      1. Watershed person
      2. Water treatment plant manager
      3. OWU faculty member (Dr. Downing?)
      4. FLOW Columbus representative?

Annotated bibliography


Film: Last Call at the Oasis (full film embedded at bottom of post)
This link is to the YouTube version of the film “Last Call at the Oasis.” It provides an in-depth exploration of the world water crisis with several perspectives. This is a very powerful documentary that can be a great educational tool for the public.

Film Review: When There Really Isn’t a Drop of Water to Drink – New York Times
This is a summary and review of the film by the New York Times. By reading this, one can see how this film can transform people’s perceptions of water conservation.

Tugg Distribution Company
This company is the source of copyright release for this film. Once permission is granted through the Strand, I will submit a request to the company.

The Strand Theatre – Delaware, Ohio
Venue for screening the film; works with Ohio Wesleyan for student film screenings.


Can Documentaries Change the World?
This article explores the ways in which documentaries can be utilized as an educational and public outreach tool, emphasizing the importance of community film screenings.

The Purpose of Social Action and Community Media Production
This simple blog post explores the reason why social action films are such powerful tools in our media-oriented society with recommendations on how to engage the community to make an impact.

Global Water Issues
This is a very comprehensive guide to some of the world’s leading water issues with case studies for each. It is highly informative and provides a lot of context to why raising awareness for these issues is so important.

Water and Development
This is an interactive website that provides extensive information on these issues. It provides links to ways to get involved


Panel Contacts
I hope to contact people from the Delaware/Olentangy watershed, FLOW Columbus, the Delaware Water Treatment Facility, and OWU faculty to serve as members of a panel discussion following the film. More detailed information to come.

Library/Media Center Contact
I will be utilizing the assistance of Chuck in the media center to help me secure the rights to screening this movie as well as any other associated tasks. Chuck will also be valuable in securing an alternative screening space if the Strand cannot permit screening (i.e. setting up equipment in Benes rooms, etc.).

Green Week Committee Contacts
I have contacted Cynthia Hastings and Reilly Reynolds to collaborate with this event during Green Week. Their committee along with Tree House and E&W can help with promotional and logistical support of this event.

2 Responses to Last Call at the Oasis: Using Film as an Educational Tool for Community Outreach

  1. […] have a film screening of the water conservation documentary, Last Call at the Oasis (check out my project proposal for more […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: