Written, directed and produced by Natalie Kottke (co-producer of Koch Brothers Exposed)
Quick take: This semi-spin-off of Koch Brothers Exposed looks like your typical environmental issue doc focused on a small polluted town. Which is to say it’s another one that needs to be made.
I wrote about this film’s crowdfunding campaign last year on another site, and now Kottke has given us an update in addition to sharing the new trailer:
Since our Indiegogo campaign last year we’ve partnered with independent Act 4 Entertainment, a production company, and we’ve traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, this summer and documented a conference held by the Environmental Protection Agency. Our main subject, Mr. Bouie was the only person from the state of Arkansas invited to speak out about the pollution in Crossett. Ron Curry, Region 6 Administrator, stated (on camera) that he would travel to Crossett to further investigate the pollution. This is the first time the government has recognized the pollution problem in Arkansas.
Sounds like the film is already making a difference before anyone’s even seen it.
Release date TBD
Synopsis, via the film’s website:
Crossett is a story about a small working class town in Arkansas experiencing extreme illnesses caused by extreme pollution from the same company that employs their people, puts food on their tables, and ultimately supports their community; all the while poisoning the air they breathe and the water they drink because it helps their bottom line. Crossett challenges viewers to take a deep look into the human side of pollution caused by big business. It affects all races, all ages, and all genders and one small town in Arkansas is where we find our story.
Crossett represents small towns across America plagued with illnesses from the pollution caused by the same companies that provide them with their livelihoods. This is a human story. What do you do when the same company that helps provide for you is also making you sick? How can we work together to make sure this never happens again?
Crossett is a company town. It’s a population of approximately 5,500 where longtime residents and regional scientists are teaming up to put a stop to the pollution caused by the nation’s largest paper and chemical company, Georgia Pacific, owned by Koch Industries. According to a study in USA Today, Crossett, Arkansas rates in “the nations top one percentile of schools near toxic fumes” and cancer-causing chemicals.
The people in this community are dying of cancer and living on respirators caused by the pollution they breathe every single day. Georgia Pacific is the only plant in the community and is the pulse and livelihood of the town. Crossett residents want the company in the town, they want their jobs, and they recognize the value the company contributes; but they want the company to be socially and environmentally responsible. The subject explored in this documentary is a human rights issue looking deeper into environmental impact, which speaks to everything that we need for our survival and well being, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations. Sustainability is critical, ensuring that we have the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.
This story is important because Crossett represents all small towns across America polluted by industry, where companies, like Georgia Pacific, pollute land, air, and water and continue to profit while government regulations weaken, and communities remain unprotected. Making this film gives a voice, not only to our main characters, but also to the entire community of Crossett and voice to rest of the world that shares Crossett’s struggle.