The Hudson River, like so many waterways around the world, was for many decades treated like an infinite waste barrel, a dumping ground for toxic chemicals, hazardous waste and trash. But for the past fifty years an amazing group of environmental groups – Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, Clearwater and many more – have worked to rescue the Hudson and the valley that surrounds. Today the river is vastly healthier and the accomplishments of these environmental heroes remind us what an incredibly beautiful and resilient resource the river is.
Despite heroic efforts today the Hudson River and Valley face serious environmental risks. Bomb trains carrying toxic and flammable crude oil course along its banks. A leaky nuclear power plant at Indian Point continues to operate just thirty-five miles from Times Square. General Electric’s PCBs still ravage the river, land and air. And despite that New York banned fracking the river and its environs are threatened by pipelines, barges and trains delivering fracked oil and gas from as far away as North Dakota.
In our growing web series, The Hudson: A River At Risk, you can learn more about these issues, meet some of the people who have committed their lives to preserving the Hudson Riverand discover what you can do to make a difference. Please spend time with the website which is packed with stories, videos, graphs, maps and photos.
It was very fun to be queried by Kate Orne and her cool, new Upstate Diary (the hard copy of Issue #3 is just out!) I’ve lived in the Hudson Valley longer than anywhere else, nearly thirty years, and have watched life here change incredibly. Long renowned as a haven for musicians, artists and actors, the woods and meadows that rise from the Hudson River are increasingly home to filmmakers, photographers, writers and social media enthusiasts.
I’ve long threatened that someone should publish a “creative directory” to the Hudson Valley, to prove if just to ourselves how rich these hills and valleys are with incredible artists. But that would run against the very grain of why such people move here: This is a place designed to hide out, rather than to be seen.
In a small, elegant way, by introducing us to some of the more interesting characters who are our neighbors, Kate is doing just that, one snapshot at a time. Check out her new issue here.
When we began shooting After the Spill, we had just finished up our SoLa, Louisiana Water Stories documentary. We felt a moral obligation to document the disappearing way of life of those whose livelihoods depended on a coastal ecology. After the BP oil spill tragedy reverberated far beyond Louisiana, we had to return to tell the story of a community and an ecology devastated by fossil fuel extraction.
We have had an amazing spring and summer, touring the country promoting our latest and perhaps biggest production, Dear President Obama.
Spanning over a dozen states impacted by fracking and telling the stories of its victims, the film has moved audiences from disparate geographic, economic, and social backgrounds. We have worked hard to connect with and energize the many “fractivist” organizations across the country, while providing a science-based, rational and realistic representation of fracking facts.
The response has been nothing short of overwhelming. We’ve been blown away by the intensity of responses during our many Q&A’s with filmmaker Jon Bowermaster, house party viewings with a guest appearance by executive producer and narrator Mark Ruffalo, and the sold-out, star-studded NYC premiere screening featuring them both. It’s clear that citizens across the US are passionate and serious about changing our energy landscape, and embracing the clean energy revolution that is already underway.
We are collecting the many photos and videos we took throughout the trip to post on Dear President Obama. For now, here are some scenes from the premiere:
Our Earth Day 2016 world television premiere of Dear President Obama, The Clean Energy Revolution is Now was on VICELAND. We couldn’t be happier with the response we’ve seen online and in person as we travel the country on our 40-day film tour. People are turning out in droves at our film screening appearances, and it’s clear the movement toward clean energy is already well underway for many citizens.
We’ve also received glowing press coverage, from national outlines like The Huffington Post to great local papers like the Hudson Valley Alm@nac. Jon Bowermaster and Mark Ruffalo even stopped by the Weather Channel for a chat with Sam Chamipon!
New Yorkers and others in the tri-state area of the Northeastern U.S. have lived in the shadow of Indian Point for decades. The aging nuclear power plant sits perilously close to New York City and millions of people who have no opportunity to evacuate in the event of a catastrophic accident.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the findings of increased radiation at the plant on Saturday, saying that “alarming levels” of radioactivity caused by tritium contamination had been detected in three of the 40 monitoring wells. At one of the wells, Mr. Cuomo said, the level of radiation had jumped 65,000 percent.
Groundwater contaminated by radioactive waste could be a game-changer in the citizen-led quest to shut down this aging nuclear power plant that potentially threatens lives and land on a daily basis. We’ll continue to do our part to publicize this most dangerous game Indian Point is playing with one of the country’s most populated areas.
It’s treacherous territory taking a new film into the backyards and bayous where it was shot and putting it on a big screen for locals to take a first crack at. We did that in January, staging a couple very fun premiere screenings of “After the Spill” in Baton Rouge (The Manship Theater) and New Orleans (The Joy Theater). It helped that the crew for the film were all locals, as were the interviewees. I made the film, but it’s their story.
With a panel moderated by filmmaker Jon Bowermaster, and led by noted media personality James Carville. Photographer Jeffrey Dubinsky captured the event beautifully:
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is “where activism gets inspired.” More specifically, it’s where we’ll be January 15-18 to screen two of our films: After the Spill and Dear Governor Brown.
If you’re near Nevada City, CA, please join us and be one of the first in the world to see these two new films. Dear Governor Brown questions California’s status as 3rd largest producer of oil and gas in the country in light of Gov. Brown’s purported climate leadership. And After the Spill documents the Deepwater Horizon spill, and a way of life in Louisiana that may be gone forever.
Here are the showtimes for Oceans 8 Films documentary screenings:
After the Spill
• Saturday AM – After the Spill @ Yuba River Charter School
• Sunday mid-day – After the Spill @ Vet’s Hall
Dear Governor Brown
• Friday evening, Stone Hall
• Saturday mid-day, Vet’s Hall
• Sunday Afternoon, Yuba River Charter School
All screenings feature filmmaker Jon Bowermaster in person, doingQ&A with the audience!
We are excited to be kicking off 2016 in Louisiana with a few big premiere screenings of After the Spill: Louisiana Water Stories Part II.
After The Spill is an in-depth look at the BP oil spill, the effect of the spill and Big Oil’s exploration and production operations on the Louisiana coast. The film features James Carville, John Barry, Nick Spitzer, Gen. Russell Honore and others directly affected by the spill. A Q&A panel featuring the participants will follow the screening.
Narrated by Academy Award Winner Melissa Leo and featuring a score by Louisiana guitar legend Sonny Landreth (who will perform at some of the screenings), the film chronicles a way of life that may no be gone forever.
Catch one of the three Louisiana screenings in January 2016: