This week’s featured film is Oil & Water, a story about an indigenous Ecuadorian from the Amazon Rain forest who comes to the U.S. at age 10 and is the first of his tribe to visit the U.S. And it’s about an American boy who becomes completely interested, intrigued with life in the Ecuadorian Rain Forest and the destruction being fomented by major U.S. oil companies. It goes from interesting to heart-breaking to inspiring.
See the trailer:
Joining Mitchell in the Round Table is filmmaker Francine Strickwerda of Stir It Up Productions. Francine Strickwerda is an award-winning director, writer and producer of independent documentary films for PBS and Showtime, and owner of Flock This Way Films. Her newest documentary, Spirit of the Game (currently in production) is the story of an extraordinary school counselor who helps children and families heal through the sport of Ultimate Frisbee.
Francine co-produced, directed and wrote the feature film Oil & Water for PBS, as well as Busting Out, a feature documentary about the history and politics of America’s obsession with the female breast, which aired on Showtime. An expert film fundraiser and grant writer, her films have been funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Independent Television Service (ITVS), Chicken & Egg Pictures, the city of Seattle and many others. Also, she is a documentary film coach and grant writer for hire, and she helps other filmmakers find success on their creative paths.
Francine runs Hullabaloo.tv, a Seattle production company that creates high-end corporate and commercial work with her husband Tracy Dethlefs, creative director and editor. Previously, she worked on several feature documentaries at Seattle’s KCTS Public Television, including Affluenza and Escape from Affluenza, and she produced and executive edited national PBS Web sites including Don’t Buy It, Videogame Revolution and Exploring Space. She was a senior producer at HealthTalk.com, and she has created videos for clients including the United Nations, Fortune 500 companies and the Seattle Fire Department. Francine began her storytelling career as a newspaper reporter and she has a degree in journalism from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University.
Also joining Mitchell is Hugo Lucitante, a Cofan representative from the Northeastern part of Ecuador. A student who at the age of 10 was sent to the US to get education. He was one of the youngest speakers at the UN at the age of 12. After High School he returned to Ecuador for couple of years to learn Spanish and to participate for Cofan Federation. Every year he returns home and works with communities on various projects mostly focused in Zabalo. They are currently working on crowd funding for Cofan Community Health Project, to make medicinal garden and for a better access to the nearest hospital.
Lucitante’s attempt to figure it out is chronicled in this documentary.
The film, by local directors Francine Strickwerda and Laurel Spellman Smith, picks up as Lucitante is graduating from Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School and follows him for eight years as he goes back and forth between his native and adopted homes. Along the way he meets American David Poritz, a kind of environmental prodigy, who while still a child devoted himself to fighting oil pollution in Ecuador and who is now immersed in a movement to certify ethically produced “fair trade” oil, similar to what has been done in the coffee and chocolate industries.
As of production, other possible guests are still in the making!