LOS ANGELES (April 7, 2011) – On Saturday April 23, at 2:30 p.m. ET, Planet Green will air the world premiere of “Stories from the Gulf: Living with the Oil Disaster,” produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and presented by Robert Redford.
“Stories from the Gulf” is a powerful half hour documentary about the impact on gulf residents of the largest oil spill in American history. The movie is based on audio interviews produced by NRDC and Bridge the Gulf, recorded by StoryCorps, and stunning original documentary photography.
The BP oil disaster contaminated marshland and beaches from Texas to Florida, devastated wildlife, and shuttered much of the Gulf Coast economy. One year later, residents still struggle in the disaster’s wake, fearful that their way of life on the bayou may soon be lost along with their livelihoods as fisherman, oystermen, and shrimpers, tour guides, and restaurant owners. “Stories from the Gulf” is a riveting portrait of this way of life, built upon the water’s bounty, generations of tradition and a tight-knit sense of community.
“Many Gulf residents live with the fallout of April 20, 2010 every day,” said Peter Lehner, NRDC executive director. “Nearly one year later, the aftermath of the spill persists. This film provides a voice to the voiceless in a region of our country decimated by natural and manmade disasters.”
The unusual force and intimacy of what these subjects have to say is partly a function of the atypical style of the film’s interviews. Instead of questions and answers between a director and a subject, most of the interviews in “Stories from the Gulf” are conversations between family members, friends and colleagues.
In the opening narration of the movie, Robert Redford, reminds viewers that the Gulf oil disaster, though no longer on the front page, continues to affect residents. “The people of the Gulf Coast still live with the oil disaster. And they have something to say.”
Above all, “Stories from the Gulf” is about the resilience and hope of those residents. “I believe there will be some young people that will come by, full of knowledge, and say ‘what can we do to help you make a better life on the bayou?’” says Geraldine Philippe Ancar in the film’s closing. “Pass our story, our lives on. Give someone what we have in our hearts, and let them know that life on the bayou is a wonderful life.”
Unlike a traditional environmental documentary, “Stories from the Gulf” doesn’t include interviews with scientific experts, and its only policy prescriptions are heartfelt statements by Gulf residents. Nevertheless, the movie compels the viewer to think hard about the future of America’s Gulf Coast and the consequences of our addiction to oil.
“Stories from the Gulf” is directed by Daniel Slocum Hinerfeld, NRDC’s deputy director of communications, edited by Renee Barron, co-produced by Hinerfeld and Lisa Whiteman, NRDC film associate, with principal photography by Craig Fritz, Lisa Whiteman, and Cary Conover, music by John Fahey, Gillian Welch and Brightblack Morning Light. Associate producer is Kashina Kessler. Assistant producers are Rocky Kistner, Anthony Clark and Sherry Goldberg.
A collection of audio slideshows based on the individual interviews used in the film is available at www.nrdc.org/storiesfromthegulf. NRDC, StoryCorps and Bridge the Gulf recorded more than 60 forty-minute interviews about the BP oil disaster in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in October 2010.