POV Shorts film, debuting November 4, highlights how an unlikely alliance stopped a billion-dollar company
When an energy company begins searching for natural gas in New Brunswick, Canada, indigenous and white families unite to drive out the company in a campaign to protect their water and way of life.
Texas-based SWN Resources arrived in New Brunswick to explore for natural gas. The region is known for its forestry, farming and fishing industries, which are both commercial and subsistence operations that rural communities depend on. In response, a multicultural group of unlikely warriors—including members of the Mi’kmaq Elsipogtog First Nation, French-speaking Acadians and white, English-speaking families—set up a series of road blockades, preventing exploration. After months of resistance, their efforts not only halted drilling; they elected a new government and won an indefinite moratorium on fracking in the province.
The film is part of the second season of POV Shorts, the newest broadcast series from American Documentary, the producing company behind public media series POV on PBS and America ReFramed on WORLD Channel. Earlier this year, POV Shorts film A Night at the Garden received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject. POV Shorts was recently nominated for the IDA Documentary Awards for Best Short Form Series.
"Water Warriors proves that a small group of people really can change the world.," said Michael Premo, director of Water Warriors. "In a society that seems more divided than ever, this film stands as an example of what happens when people come together across lines of race and culture. The people in this story were fighting to protect their water, but their lessons are applicable to anyone fighting for a better future."
"We don't get much good news these days when it comes to the environment," said Chris White, executive producer of POV Shorts. "Michael's film, however, refuses to bend to fatalism, instead highlighting what happens when people take matters into their own hands."
About the Filmmakers
Michael Premo, Director and Producer
Michael Premo is a journalist, filmmaker and artist. He is co-founder and Executive Producer at Storyline, a non-profit production company. His photography has appeared in publications like The Village Voice, and The New York Times, among others. Michael has created original work with numerous companies including Hip-Hop Theater Festival, The Foundry Theater, The Civilians, and the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps. Recent projects include Sanctuary, a theater commission from the Working Theatre; the award-winning short film Water Warriors (POV); the multiplatform project 28th Amendment: Housing is a Human Right (Project Row Houses); the participatory documentary Sandy Storyline (Tribeca Film Festival’s 2013 inaugural StoryScapes Award) and This Changes Everything, a film by Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein. He consults on participatory documentary processes, impact strategy, and civic engagement through Storyline and the Interaction Institute for Social Change. He is a frequent speaker and leader in the field of multiplatform documentary work. Michael is on the Board of Trustees of A Blade of Grass and The Center for Story Based Strategy. He is the recipient of a Creative Capital Award (2019), Rockwood JustFilms Ford Foundation Fellowship (2017), A Blade of Grass Artist Files Fellowship (2012), and a NYSCA Individual Artist Award (2009).
Rachel Falcone, Producer
Rachel is a documentary filmmaker and multimedia artist. She is co-founder and Executive Director at Storyline. In addition to producing Water Warriors (POV), recent projects she’s co-directed include: the participatory web documentary and exhibition Sandy Storyline (Tribeca Film Festival’s inaugural Storyscapes Award 2013); Sanctuary, a theatre commission from the Working Theater; and 28th Amendment: Housing is a Human Right, a multimedia project about the 2008 housing crisis. Rachel has produced content with the award-winning national oral history project StoryCorps and EarSay, Inc., and was an associate producer on Incite Picture’s Young Lakota (Independent Lens 2013). She has directed dozens of short films for organizations like AFSCME and The John. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She is also a sound recordist for film and radio, including most recently Knock Down The House (Netflix) and a forthcoming podcast from The Weather Channel.
Director: Michael Premo
Producers: Michael Premo, Rachel Falcone
Cinematographers: Scott Cramer, Michael Premo, Andrew Stern, Franklin Lopez
Editors: Diana Diroy, Scott K. Foley, Ligaiya Romero
Executive Producers for POV Shorts: Justine Nagan, Chris White