After a whole year of filming – across five continents – the water documentary Brave Blue World premiered in Hollywood in December 2019. The documentary is narrated by Liam Neeson and also features actors Matt Damon and Jaden Smith, both prominent water activists. Executive Producer Paul O’Callaghan, Chief Executive of BlueTech Research, in a recent interaction with Mayur Sharma, explains how the project was partly inspired by his conversations with taxi drivers around the world and how the idea gained such high profile support.
Q. Tell us how did this documentary come about? What compelled you to make it at this particular point in time?
Paul: It stemmed from a call I had from the Discovery Channel who were working on a documentary series about new scientific developments. One of the episodes was about wastewater treatment and they asked me to help. My first thought was ‘how on earth are they going to make this entertaining?’ But I agreed to help and I loved the whole experience. Later, when I saw the documentary, it looked incredible. It was super engaging, super interesting, and I realized there was a way of communicating water in a creative way.
You see water problems all around the world – but you also see water solutions. In some places such as Singapore, the Netherlands, and Israel, it just clicks. Why do they seem to get their act together there? I realized the common denominator was people.
It’s easy to focus on our own little world or technologies but the finance people don’t get it, the politicians don’t get it and we’re all a bit hampered. In places like Singapore, when I hop into a cab and I mention what I do for a living, the driver is engaged in the conversation. I call it the taxi driver effect and I find a similar level of awareness nine times out of 10 in Singapore and so many other places in the world. When people get the value of water, everything becomes easier because the politicians will support the policies that will drive utilities to introduce water reuse, energy neutrality, nutrient recovery, and all these important initiatives.
I knew there was an important story to be told. I’ve only ever seen doom and gloom and apocalyptic tales of water that say […]