Footprints on the Water

I had planned to go to the Indie Meme Film Festival this year but was laid in bed with something wretched. The organizers of this Austin-based non-profit offer a unique opportunity to experience Indian and South Asian films that are not seen elsewhere. Now in its ninth year, the fest is a treasure trove of cinematic gems.

Founded by two passionate women, the festival has grown to feature more than 30 international films from over 13 countries, spanning more than 17 languages. It has solidified Austin’s reputation as a hub for cultural exchange and an actual film capital. The festival’s roster includes several international premiers, an array of international shorts, and a lineup of award-winning feature films, most of which are created by female and global filmmakers. This platform brings socially relevant cinema from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, and more to the United States, fostering an international dialogue on important issues.

The Indie Meme Film Festival 2024 delved into relevant themes, including women’s rights, immigration, childhood trauma, family dynamics, and other human interest stories. It also explored issues centered around consumerism and environmentalism, providing a comprehensive and thought-provoking cinematic experience.

I screened the film Footprints on the Water, a gripping drama directed by Nathalia Syam that featured Adil Hussain in the lead role. The film delves into the harrowing world of illegal immigration and human trafficking, exploring the plight of immigrants who are often unaware of the complexities of Western society. It follows the story of a father and daughter who fall victim to a scam in India, paying a dubious company for UK visas, and the consequences they face upon their arrival in England.

Those consequences are horrific, not to spoil the film’s central arc; they are average occurrences in the UK and worldwide. The acting is so natural that it mesmerizes the viewer into thinking that the events in the movie happened to the character actors. Additionally, we are given a brutal account of the many cultural conflicts that beset immigrants without prior knowledge or education of the country they’ve chosen to emigrate to. Dreams based on fantasy are shattered once these living lambs enter a foreign country. The phrase, “a sucker is born every minute,” couldn’t be more accurate in Footprints on the Water.

My only comment about this otherwise excellent film was that it shunts back and forth between timelines, past and present. In many cases, it was hard to follow as the context was unclear or the viewer was not familiar with the past event leading up to a fast-forward of the present day.

The sad truth about human and organ trafficking is that unless government or NGO bodies in each country are well funded and staffed, many people die, get drugged and sold into slavery, or wither away behind some gruesome closed doors. The blatant exploitation of immigrants is a despicable practice. One can only hope the lowlifes trading in this type of money-making tragedy are called to justice and jailed forever.

This story must be seen as it affects tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of innocent people around the globe daily.

By Elise Krentzel

Elise Krentzel is the author of the bestselling memoir Under My Skin - Drama, Trauma & Rock 'n' Roll, a ghostwriter, book coach to professionals who want to write their memoir, how-to or management book or fiction, and contributing author to several travel books and series. Elise has written about art, food, culture, music, and travel in magazines and blogs worldwide for most of her life, and was formerly the Tokyo Bureau Chief of Billboard Magazine. For 25 years, she lived overseas in five countries and now calls Austin, TX, her home. Find her at, FB: @OfficiallyElise, Instagram: @elisekrentzel, LI: