Press Release: We’re Going to Need More Shelves!

The recognitions and awards for Ru (Water is Life) just keep flooding in! Although we are excited to announce that Ru (Water is Life) has been selected for other upcoming film festivals, our big news today is that we learned this week that our 19-minute film won the First Place Documentary Award at the recent Bayou City Inspirational Film Festival in Houston. Hosted Oct. 12 and 13, the five-year-old BCIFF is presented by the PROGRESS Arts Group, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the arts to support education and opportunities for social growth. In addition to providing a platform for independent filmmakers and artists to showcase their works, proceeds from the BCIFF support the SHOCK Youth Arts Program and the Performing Arts Mentorship Program hosted by the PROGRESS Arts Group.  For more information on this film festival and the PROGRESS Art Group, go to   A labor of love for friends and first-time film producers Steve Roese, Mike Gwartney and Shawn Small, Ru: Water is Life shares the challenges the majority of South Sudanese face in accessing clean drinking water through the true story of a 12-year-old girl.  The sole caretaker of an ailing grandmother and five younger siblings, Jina Teji totes muddy groundwater down a two-mile path three times a day to provide them with the only available water for their village.   Since this daily burden consumes the majority of each day, Jina Teji has no time left to achieve her dream of going to school. A primary goal for these North Texas filmmakers is that by raising awareness, Ru (Water is Life) will help raise the needed funds to drill more water wells for South Sudanese villages like the one Jina Teji lives in. To learn more about Ru (Water is Life), go to