NEEDS PROTECTION — Kayakers explore the mouth of the Blue Spring run in Orange City. BEACON FILE PHOTO

The Emmy Award-winning documentary “The Fellowship of the Springs,” focusing on the critical role of Florida’s freshwater springs to industry and residents, will have its Volusia County premiere at the Epic Theater in Deltona, 939 Hollywood Blvd., at 12:30 pm March 26.

The screening comes in the midst of a successful, award-winning international film festival run which included a 2021 Regional Emmy Award. The film has also begun to air on PBS stations around Florida.

“The Fellowship of the Springs”, directed and produced by Emmy-award winning filmmaker Oscar Corral, tells the story of the escalating struggle to preserve the state’s 1,000+ artesian springs. Resident advocates and independent scientists are at odds with major industries and the state agencies that regulate these waters – and their battle grows more heated daily. The film spotlights several key leaders, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, former state scientist Thomas Greenhalgh and many other notables.

Following the screening will be a special Q&A session with film director Corral.

Florida is home to the world’s biggest and largest concentration of natural springs. These freshwater sites dot the central and northern regions, roughly from Orlando to Pensacola. The state’s first tourist destination, the springs draw hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.

But their future is in peril as the state’s population continues to climb, resulting in booming development, increases in agriculture, water bottling and phosphate mining – all culprits of the forces degrading the springs.

A veteran journalist and native Floridian, Corral spent two years tracking the springs’ struggles. Several major springs in or near Volusia County are featured in the film, including Blue Springs in Orange City, Gemini in DeBary, Wekiva, and Rock Spring in Kelly Park.

“I set out to make a film about the beauty and wonder that define the springs. But along the way, I discovered that the springs are in a fight for survival,” Corral said. “This is a story of community and conflict, and the fight to strike a balance between the wants of corporations and the needs of nature to keep the springs alive.”

The Deltona screening is free and open to the public. However seating is limited and reservations are required via: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-fellowship-of-the-springs-tickets-294318192637

— Dream Green Volusia

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