After documentaries about Roman Polanski and Richard Pryor, director Marina Zenovich decided to explore the complicated issue of California water rights in her new documentary “Water & Power: A California Heist.”
“Water is in the hands of private companies,” Zenovich told TheWrap’s CEO Sharon Waxman while promoting her film at the Sundance Film Festival. “Some companies we don’t even identify in the film because there are so many people trying to get their hands on our public resource.”
In her film, she peels back the layers of California’s convoluted water structure — which pits wealthy water barons against small farmers and neighboring towns that endure debilitating drought. While luxury crops like almonds are on the rise, groundwater contamination has increased tenfold.
“It’s a wake-up call,” said producer Stacey Offman. “Residents of California, of America, are going to realize, ‘Wait a minute, government isn’t taking care of me? They don’t own and control and regulate my water directly? They’ve doled it out to private industry?'”
Watch the video above.