The winner of sH2Orts, a global short film competition themed around water, has been won by ‘Moonwalk’ – a South African production following a girl’s journey to a tap in her township

Entries for the competition, a partnership between our content development project WorldView and development charity WaterAid, saw filmmakers submit one-minute films about water from 33 different countries. Water ‘treatment’ in the shortlist of 21 ranged from films about Ebola to stop-motion animation with Lego.

The aim of the competition was to raise awareness and provide information through creative storytelling. The announcement comes ahead of World Water Day this Sunday 22 March, a UN date to highlight critical water issues.

Women collectively walk the equivalent of 16 times to the moon and back to gather water

Moonwalk, (right) by Sven Harding, is described as a “compelling juxtaposition of mankind’s success in space versus his failure on earth.” Harding said his inspiration came from a stark statistic he had once seen: “the women of South Africa walk the equivalent of 16 times to the moon and back, every day, gathering water” and the absurdity that humans are capable of space travel but haven’t figured out how to provide adequate water and sanitation for millions of people.

The three runners-up were:

Recovery, a music video by Josta Hopps of Sierra Leone, about the importance of clean water in the fight against Ebola. Hopps said:  “Sierra Leone is rarely recognised in competitions, so I feel proud for my country.” He added: “Many people in Sierra Leone do not have clean water to drink and if this competition helps raise awareness, I am pleased to have taken part.”

Joe’s morning by 11-year-old Indie Mark from the UK, features a Lego man called Joe who faces a challenging morning without water.

Right to water produced by Sohel Rana from Bangladesh and filmed with a hidden camera, showed the challenges in collecting water.

The people’s choice

The shortlisted film amassing the most views has earned the People’s Choice award – won by Gaurav Dhwaj Khadka from Nepal, whose film, Paani (Water), notched up more than 27,000 views in three weeks.

The judging panel included Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville; Indian film director, actor and producer Shekhar Kapur; British directors Philip Bloom and Gurinder Chadha, Nigerian filmmaker Jeta Amata, and head of documentaries at the Guardian UK, Charlie Phillips.

The two winners and runners up received cameras from Fujifilm, and the winners will also receive filmmaking masterclasses with Shekhar Kapur and WorldView.

A second pair of shorts

This isn’t the end of sH2Orts. WorldView and WaterAid are now inviting established filmmakers to pitch story ideas for the chance to be awarded a grant of up to £3,000 to make a documentary film, in time for World Water Day 2016. Applications are now open.

The global water crisis is one of the greatest challenges facing the world, but it’s clear there are inspirational people who are taking the future of water into their own hands. WorldView and WaterAid want to hear and share their stories.

Watch the winning entries and other shortlisted films