Student documentary ‘Tapped Out’ prepares for on-campus premiere

Posted on Apr 10 2014 - 12:45am by Alison Haywood, A&E Editor

By Tahnayee Clendinen, A&E Writer

It is extremely difficult for many to imagine a life without water or a life with contaminated water, but for some, this is an everyday reality.

This inspired some Pacific Lutheran University’s MediaLab students — senior Haley Huntington, junior Valery Jorgensen, senior Kortney Scroger, senior Samuel Hossman and senior Katie Baumann — to make the award winning documentary “Tapped Out: Unearthing the Global Water Crisis.”

MediaLab students creates a documentary every year with a wide range of topics, but they almost always focus on social issues or bringing attention to an issue that needs more consideration.

This year focused on the water crisis, a problem that is downplayed as only an issue overseas even though North America faces it as well.

“Making this film, I learned how big of a problem it [water] is in North America” Jorgensen said. “When people hear ‘water crisis,’ they think that it only affects places like Africa, but the same problem is in our world.”

Students should expect to see very detailed depictions in the documentary, and perspective altering statistics. According to the “Tapped Out” website, the documentary focuses on “water related issues across North America and investigates how pressures on water, including drought, floods, population growth and pollution are resulting in new and innovative thinking.”

The team of students travelled across the U.S. and Canada collecting interviews from researchers, scientists, activists, farmers and everyday citizens to observe and discuss the future of North America’s water supply. In addition to learning about the future of water, the students also got to see firsthand the realities of water for some people.

“The problem seemed more real to me when we interviewed a Texas woman” Jorgensen said. “When she turns on her tap, the water is only there because it is being shipped to her.”

The up-close and personal nature of this documentary has gotten it some very prestigious recognition. “Tapped Out” has won several awards. The documentary has collected to two Accolade Merits of Excellence, the Rising Star Award from the Canada International Film Festival and first place Grand Prize from the National Broadcast Society.

Huntington, one of the senior producers on the project, said that acknowledgement of hard work feels good.

“Winning a National Broadcast Society Award is great news for us,” Huntington said. “My fellow filmmakers and I worked hard to make the documentary thought provoking and influential. So it’s a great feeling to be acknowledged with such a prestigious national award.”

Hossman who helped work on the graphics for the film, said he was pleased the good reviews.

“I am very happy with how the film turned out,” Hosman said. “This is the first time MediaLab has done a movie with media graphics, and we have already won awards.”

Although “Tapped Out” originally premiered in October in Seattle, the film made its PLU premiere in the Studio Theater of the Karen Hille Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Wednesday night. The free viewing was open to the public, and a panel followed the screening.

“The big takeaway is that it talks about a big issue — clean water accessibility” Hossman said. “And to have that big of a topic tackled by college students is an achievement.”