Scenes from a dry city - a documentary about the Cape Town drought, and the then impending Day Zero crisis, has won the top prize for online film at the 2020 World Press Photo Contest.

'Scenes from a Dry City exposes the exacerbation of social inequality due to water shortage in Cape Town, South Africa. The city has been experiencing a severe water crisis since early 2017 when the municipal government began pleading with its 4.5 million residents to conserve water.

The production reflects on the impact of the global climate crisis in both the landscape and society. Poetic drone images are mixed with the perspectives of car washers, demonstrators against water privatization, and golfers playing on green courses.

Francois Vernster, co-director, producer, cinematographer and writer, said: “Simon and I were both astounded when we read about the prospect of day zero, the day when the taps will be turned off, arriving. I think the first time it was mentioned was the year we made the film. The predictions were that the day will be by March already.” (...) “We thought this would be a good opportunity to give insight into Cape Town’s inequality.
Simon Wood, co-director, producer, cinematographer and writer, added: “We wanted to create something futuristic, something that would allow us to peek into the future and imagine a world without water.”

Francois Verster is a South African documentary filmmaker following creative and observational approaches to social issues. Simon Wood is a filmmaker based in Cape Town, South Africa.' - via


The drought, for now, is seemingly a distant memory, but our challenges with inequality in other manifestations continue. It's certainly a short film to add to your growing. lockdown 'to watch'-list.