A movie that focuses on Alberta’s oilsands industry and its effects on residents in Fort Chipewyan should raise several eyebrows, says a group of panellists during a discussion yesterday.
Downstream is an Academy Award-shortlisted documentary short produced by Phil Alberstat and directed by Leslie Iwerks. The film takes an in-depth look at the environmental impact the Alberta oilsands are having downstream from the development.
The film also follows the effect pollution is having on the people of Fort Chipewyan, and physician John O’Connor as he deals with the health problems faced by that community, specifically cancer.
Iwerks said the response to the film has been very positive following a showing in Fort Chipewyan.
“The film has really become a polarizing force for this issue and we’re really thrilled for that,” he said.
The panel members encouraged those concerned about the oilsands and the effect it has on surrounding communities to write letters to the government.
“It’s very, very important that as Albertans we speak out,” said Linda Duncan, MP for Edmonton-Strathcona. “We’re tarred with the same brush.”
Former chief of Smith’s Landing Treaty 8 First Nation Francois Paulette expressed that First Nations are very concerned about what is happening in Fort McMurray.
“We view the land as being all spiritual, and we need to treat it as such, the film that you just saw very brief is real, its happening.”
In March, a film titled Upstream will be released. Iwerks said it will add to Downstream.