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What Lies Upstream (2017)

In this classic detective story, investigative filmmaker Cullen Hoback travels to West Virginia to uncover the truth behind a massive chemical spill that left 300,000 people without ... See full summary »

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In this classic detective story, investigative filmmaker Cullen Hoback travels to West Virginia to uncover the truth behind a massive chemical spill that left 300,000 people without drinking water for months. But when Hoback discovers an obscene collusion between chemical corporations and the highest levels of government, the investigation spirals in a terrifying direction, and we learn the frightening truth about what lies upstream of us all.

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20 January 2017 (USA)  »

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Probably the most poignantly political film I saw at 2017 Hot Docs
7 May 2017 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This film begins with a chemical leak from a chemical plant/storage centre that lies immediately upstream from a West Virginia water treatment plant whose downstream residents immediately notify the world that something is wrong with their water.

This causes our gallant documentarian to head there and capture on film all the local politicians and regulators shouting into cameras "the waters safe! the waters safe!"

As you might imagine the path toward corrective measures in regards to environmental accidents is a slow and dogged one against powerful, vested interests, that excercise measurable control over all things legislated.

This film maker persisted and documented all of proceedings to the point that laws were strengthened to stop this from happening again.

Well done, kind of…

I'm not going to say how it ended, you might, however, have guessed..

At the premiere I had the opportunity to speak to the film maker and asked him about all of the hurdles he had to jump over and obstacles in his path and all of the giants he had to battle. I said I don't know how you could have persisted through all of this…It made me want to just cry.

His response was that yes he was frustrated and that he had thought a few times about self-decapitation (I've never heard that from a film maker before).

We should greatly admire his persistence and his 'stick-to-it-iveness'.

This is something all Americans should see to fully understand how much their government actually loves them.


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