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Children of Water, a New Documentary About the Struggle for Wild Rivers in the Balkans
Nature has always been a driving force for people and an inspiration for creation. Rarely does an encounter with a wild, free river leaves us indifferent. Rivers remind us that all life springs from the water and that our lives are completely intertwined with it. In fact, we are all children of water.
Inspired by that idea a short documentary film Children of Water was made, telling a story of the connection between people and rivers, about the relationship with the environment nurtured from early childhood, and the importance of each individual in spreading the word about the dangers rivers face due to construction of hydropower plants, pollution or any other form of degradation.
“The movie had its first screening on the 8th Veliki Rzav International Rafting Regatta, where participants had the opportunity to see well-known faces on the screen—themselves—rowing hard, fighting for a better future of our free-flowing rivers. It is proof that rivers do not recognize borders, just as the region does not know about any cultural or social differences when it comes to nature conservation", points out Natasa Milivojevic from WWF Adria.
The film was shot between August and September 2020, when people were encouraged to renew their connection with nature due to the pandemic. The rivers Gostović, Piva, Vrbas, Drina, Ibar, Krivaja, Lim, Pliva, Sana, Tara and Una, featured in the film, pour their strength into the Danube in testament to the importance of this delicate network of water that connects nature and people.
The documentary shows how people adapted their lives to the rivers surrounding them, which gave rise to a specific way of life. We respect rivers because of their natural, cultural, historical and recreational values, placing a special emphasis on the connection with nature through rafting as one of the ways that allow us to see and feel the hidden parts of a river.
"Through rafting, as an activity that connects people and rivers, we nurture and encourage a positive attitude towards natural values. At the same time, we strive to point out to local communities the importance of nature conservation, which can be seen in the testimonies of those who participated in the film. By networking rafting clubs, local communities, and environmental organizations, we are creating a strong front for river conservation. I think we are on the right track", points out Marko Prodanović from the KES "Pustolov" Rafting Club.
Each day new organizations and individuals are raising their voices for the wild and untouched rivers of the Balkans. In 2020, a regional meeting of several rafting clubs from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia was organized. The meeting was an opportunity for rafters to sign the Declaration on the Protection and Sustainable Use of Rivers in the Western Balkans, joining the fight to save our rivers.
WWF and the Free Rivers Fund supported the filming of the Children of Water documentary, created by Nataša Milivojević and Marko Prodanović. All efforts to preserve rivers are also wholeheartedly supported by the International Rafting Federation (IRF).