Adam Schartoff: How making “Last Call at The Oasis” from an editing standpoint? Not just cutting it, but as a filmmaker and storyteller?
Yu: With this film, I wanted the big picture. I really wanted to understand how interconnected water is with issues like quality vs. quantity, and what did climate change and regulation has done. I wanted all of that. And knowing that was the scope of it I realized I needed to tell as much of that through stories, or else people would be overwhelmed with data. And so, that was the organizing principle in a lot of ways, the stories. It’s roughly divided into the issues of quantity, quality, and then there’s the last section: I actually like to think of it as more the psychology behind our inertia. You know, what does it take to move forward to the next step. So that was roughly how it was laid out. But as we started, we see that in these things there is a lot of overlap, in these larger headings- like terms of quality: if you pollute your water past a certain point, you have taken that water out your supply.
Yu: Right, its one big lake.
Schartoff: And you know, you can pollute to an extent, but whatever pollutants you put in the water are going to find their way into your body.
Yu: The other thing that is shocking is how long those pollutants remain in the water. Chromium can remain in the water for 400 years, which is essentially forever.
Schartoff: It’s all very overwhelming. An expert in your film says, “we’re screwed.” How do we counter that mind frame? Should people take away from the film that Is that a lot of small steps that everybody takes? Or is it about the larger picture, like the legislative steps made by government? Or is it a combination of the two?
Yu: I think its all of the above. That’s a really good question, because I feel like either we tend to just completely deny or dismiss that there is a problem, right? So we don’t do anything. The other thing we do is that we get overwhelmed by how big it is- so we don’t do anything![laughs] So that’s what keeps the inertia where it is. So I think where we were getting at in the film is that everything helps, mainly because most of us aren’t doing anything. So the potential for progress is huge, but that progress could be on the personal level. I mean, it always sounds banal like: take shorter showers and something about your lawn, but you look at those efforts multiplied by many people over their lifetimes- that’s pretty huge. And of course, on the macro-level the idea that we should have better regulation. We should have water policies. We should have better technologies, we should price water appropriately- these are all things that can make a huge difference and that’s the idea. There is no silver bullet, there is silver buckshot. I like that idea, that there are many little things that add up to the impact. Continue reading