Poulsbo resident uses film skills to help remote villages in India
POULSBO, Nov 27, 2012 (Kitsap Sun - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Barry Gregg hopes to spark interest in the international issue of contaminated drinking water with a 30-minute documentary set to debut sometime next spring.
The Poulsbo filmmaker recently returned from a two-week visit to villages in central India, where he shot thousands of photographs and hours of footage for an upcoming documentary highlighting the area's need for clean drinking water.
The 59-year-old partnered with Gig Harbor's Serve the Children, a faith-based nonprofit that helped set up a free educational and medical center for impoverished children in India.
Gregg is hoping the documentary will be finished by May. The nonprofit agency has established a $40,000 fundraising goal that will go toward building around 20 wells near the town of Lasina, where the center is located.
The center has 80 children from preschool to college, the organization's President Doug Collier said.
"There's no electricity, no running water (where the students come from). The kids (usually) have to walk 40 to 50 minutes one way just to get to a (water) well that's green and slimy. When the kids come to us, they have worms and lice so we have to de-lice and deworm them," Collier said.
Nonprofit leaders and Gregg want to highlight the problem, using the Poulsbo resident's video and photography skills developed over the past 37 years to interview villagers about the lack of clean water.
Access to clean drinking water has a domino effect, helping its consumers and entire villages, Collier said, adding that 3,600 children die everyday worldwide due to contaminated water consumption.
Children can't fit school into their schedules when they must walk long distances to the few water wells left, he said, and contaminated water prevents individuals from work.
"There's clean water located right underneath their feet. You just have to dig (the) well," Collier said.
The idea for a documentary began several years ago when Serve the Children leaders approached Gregg, who is friends with one of the agency's founders, about a film.
Gregg -- whose video projects have led him to places like Israel, Sierra Leone and Baghdad -- started his production company in 1998 after spending years as a studio and still-life food and product photographer in Seattle.
The water documentary was the first time he spearheaded a video project.
Gregg said he didn't know much about water issues before the documentary work but was surprised to learn that there were wells in nearly every village he visited. The problem is few wells work or are contaminated, he said.
"My primary hope for the film is to get as many wells built as we can in central India. It will have a significant impact, specifically on the lives of the children and women in the remote village," Gregg said.
To learn about the documentary, click here.
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