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Oil & Water

USA | 2014 | 78 minutes | Laurel Spellman Smith, Francine Strickwerda

Two teenagers, David and Hugo, meet by chance on a canoe ride in the Amazon. This documentary follows their lives as David begins a fair-trade certification system for oil production companies to help with the oil-waste problem in the Ecuadorian Amazon, while Hugo gets an American education that will allow him to return to his homelands as a leader.

June 3, 2014
AMC Pacific Place 11  
7:00 PM Date has passed

Directors Francine Strickwerda and Laurel Spellman Smith scheduled to atend

June 4, 2014
AMC Pacific Place 11  
4:15 PM Date has passed

Directors Francine Strickwerda and Laurel Spellman Smith scheduled to atend

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Most people are well aware of the continuing destruction of the Amazon rainforests, but relatively few people know about the devastation happening underneath this rich ecosystem in Ecuador. Since the 1960s, oil companies have contaminated vast swaths of pristine jungle with 18 billion gallons of cancer-causing oil sludge in open-air pits. Oil & Water portrays this environmental disaster from the unique perspectives of young people at both ends of the spectrum—Hugo Lucitante, from the indigenous Cofan tribe in Ecuador, and David Poritz, from middle-class Amherst, Massachusetts. Hugo, sent at age 10 by his tribal-elder father to get an American education, graduated from Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School in 2006. David first became aware of the oil catastrophe while researching a 6th-grade school project and made a commitment ever since to bring justice to the Amazon. This engaging doc follows the two teenagers with their feet in both worlds as their paths intersect over the next six years. While still in college, David fights an uphill battle to establish a "fair trade" certification system for oil production. Meanwhile, Hugo gets married to Sadie, a friend from his American high school, and the couple moves back and forth between his Cofan lands and the U.S. to save up for college. Oil & Water is a sobering look at the enormous pressures David and Hugo face, but it also demonstrates how two determined people can make a positive difference in the world.

Director Biography

Starting as a reporter for newspapers in Washington and Idaho, Seattle-based Francine Strickwerda moved into documentary filmmaking, via her company Stir It Up Productions. Two-time regional Emmy Award-winning producer, Laurel Spellman Smith, is also a co-founder of Stir It Up Productions. Spellman and Strickwerda directed the award-winning Showtime TV doc, Busting Out (2004). Oil & Water (2014) is their second feature collaboration.

Sponsored by 4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Washington State Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Black Rapid Media, CityArts

Director: Laurel Spellman Smith, Francine Strickwerda
Premier Status: World Premiere
Country: USA
Year: 2014
Running Time: 78 minutes
Producer: Laurel Spellman Smith, Francine Strickwerda
Screenplay: Laurel Spellman Smith, Francine Strickwerda
Cinematographers: Diana Wilmar, Laurel Spellman Smith
Editors: Tracy Dethlefs
Music: Erik Aho
Website: Official Film Website
Filmography: Busting Out (2005)
Language: English, Spanish, Cofan
HasSubTitles: Yes
Format: HDCAM
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