"Something in the Water" is a stunning documentary mosaic of America searching for common ground. The film is woven from the voices of 200 Americans during unprecedented challenges and changes. The filmmakers journeyed 16,500 miles to 30 states over 50 days between October 2020 and April 2021 to speak with people from all walks of life.
Americans across the United States faced political division, police and racial tensions, isolation from family and friends, a sharp economic downturn, and a global pandemic that altered their lives. Their thoughts and perspectives reflect some of the most challenging issues of our time and reveal the resilience of America as the people's testimonies are not only filled with the crisis we are facing in our country, but they are also of tremendous hope, pride, and love for the people and this place we call our country and our home.
"Something in the Water" sparks respectful curiosity and fosters dialogue among its viewers to help bridge misunderstandings. It explores American perspectives around racism, economic disparities, democracy, leadership, the Black Lives Matter movement, the American Dream, COVID-19, and finding common ground. The film is 100 minutes long.
The "Something in the Water" documentary is an Important Films Media production.
Joseph C. Stillman (Producer/Director) is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, director, cinematographer, and writer. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, Stillman brings more than four decades of filmmaking experience to the creation of substantive documentary films, Motion Pictures, Television programming, and other video and film projects for clients from around the world. Documentary works include the internationally acclaimed, "Citizen Clark... A Life of Principle", the story of former U.S. Attorney General and Human Rights activist Ramsey Clark, and "Rural Matters: Poverty in the Other America," A consummate artist dedicated to human rights and social justice, Stillman's works have been seen around the globe.
Jeri Wachter (Producer/Director) is a NYC and Southern-raised filmmaker, producer, director, researcher, camerawoman, and public speaker. She creates films and events to inform and inspire action toward positive societal change. Recent documentary works include the award-winning "Something in the Water," a film about finding common ground in America, and "Rural Matters: Poverty in the Other America," an intimate portrait of people living on the edge of economic insecurity. She brings over two decades of experience in the worldwide scientific, technical, and scholarly publishing industry as an advocate for equity and for twenty years as co-founder/chair of William Andrew Publishing, an independent publisher in disciplines including materials, energy, and ecology.
Americans across our land have many concerns, and depending, of course, on their individual and family situations and connection to history, their viewpoints represent tremendous diversity, which is, as we found, the great American experience. As filmmakers, we take this responsibility seriously and are confident that our film offers an opportunity to learn from others what we don’t often get a chance to see.
It captures the nuances, perspectives, and experiences of Americans from across the United States. It is the story of America set against the backdrop of a contentious 2020 Presidential Election, nationwide social unrest, and a global pandemic. From economic challenges to political polarization, growing racial and economic disparities, to healthcare hurdles, across ages, people were angry, hopeful, sad, betrayed, depressed, optimistic, concerned, hurting, feeling despair, and all the above.
Depending, of course, on what their individual and family situations and connection to history are, their viewpoints represent tremendous diversity, which is, as we found, the great American experience. Our documentary seeks to find common ground in America. We feel privileged that people trusted us with their stories and the challenges they faced during this unique period in our Nation’s history. Their testimonies inspire respectful curiosity and an atmosphere of caring deeply about our fellow Americans, thus engaging viewers to begin a process to bridge misunderstandings about each other and around challenging and critical issues in our country.
It is intended for broad audiences, ages 14-103, in high schools, colleges, universities, businesses and organizations, legislative policymakers, and communities across our land to screen and hold forums. Closed Captioning (CC) is available.
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The "Something in the Water" documentary is inspired by the American spirit during a dark and critically important period in the recent history of the United States. Between October 2020 and April 2021, Americans everywhere faced an acute and permanent change to the very structures of their social, domestic, and working lives. Whole communities across the country struggled through confusion, fear, and grief while reckoning with historical truths and the implications of a polarized nation. The film celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the American people and seeks to find common ground amid political division, social unrest, and a global pandemic.
It is an immersive and historical portrayal of the American experience through a non-binary and empathetic lens, as the collective testimonies of two hundred people in thirty states, representing all regions of the U.S., bring real hope to this story about a country ridden with negativity and cynicism that are deeply embedded in the very social fabric of our daily lives.
The film is a compelling, illuminating, and moving experience that elicits from the viewer a closer examination of the same questions the interviewees discussed. It helps us to face uncomfortable truths from America's past, as well as the admirable strengths of present-day Americans, with outcomes that have affected a redefined democracy as a result. As filmmakers, we believe in the power of diverse voices to foster dialogue, raise hope, and bring positive change to some of the most challenging issues of our time.
Jeri Wachter and Joseph C. Stillman, Directors, "Something in the Water" documentary
WINNER! 31st BVFF GRAND FESTIVAL AWARD DOCUMENTARY - STATE OF THE NATION was presented to Jeri Wachter and Joseph C. Stillman for their documentary, "Something in the Water" for the film's courageous look at the state of the Nation, on October 28, 2022, at the East Bay Media Center. Thank you, Mel Vapour, Executive Director | Co-founder the Berkeley Video Film Festival, and your team for this tremendous honor and recognition.
WINNER! 10TH STUFF BEST OF THE FESTIVAL CORPUS CHRISTI “Something in the Water” has been selected in the feature documentary category for the 10th South Texas Underground Film Festival (STUFF), screening on December 4, 2022, at the Alamo Drafthouse, Corpus Christi, TX. Thank you, Mariella Salinas Perez, Co-Founder | Festival Director of STUFF for the honor.
SEMI-FINALIST! Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival "Something in the Water" has been listed as a semi-finalist in Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival, from August 8-14, 2022, in Providence, RI. Thank you, George T. Marshal, Executive Director, and your team for all you do to bring important films to light.
OFFICIAL SELECTION Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival "Something in the Water" has been selected in the full length documentary category for the 4th annual Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival, September 20 – September 24 on the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Thank you, Kara Walker, Executive Director and your team for the honor.
NEW YORK PREMIERE Two nights of music, film, and community conversations with filmmakers Jeri Wachter and Joseph C. Stillman at the NY Premiere of “Something in the Water,” their stunning and thought-provoking look at Americans in the present era, at Foothills Performing Arts Center, on April 21 & 22, in Oneonta, NY.
Special thanks to:
The Major’s Inn, Gilbertsville, NY, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), New Orleans, LA, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Bark Productions, Kansas City, MO, East Rock Creek Village, Washington, DC, Hire Art, NYC, Braver Angels, USA, Chagrin Documentary Film Fest, Chagrin Falls, OH, The Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, MN, Northland Country Club, Duluth, MN, UU Church of Fargo Moorhead, Fargo, ND, Turtle Mountain Band of the Chippewa, Belcourt, ND, The Roman Theatre, Red Lodge, MT, St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Salt Lake City, UT, John Scott Real Estate, Des Moines, WA, Answer Coalition, San Francisco, CA, East Bay Media Center, Berkley, CA, Kingston 11 Cuisine, Oakland, CA, First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, J Feldman Studio, Albuquerque, NM, El Paso Community Foundation, TX, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, The Park Foundation, Ithaca, NY,
Center for Independent Documentary, Boston, MA
Special, special thanks to:
Gaila Reyna-Arguell, Jamie Azure, Bob Babcock, Robert Blanton, Reginald Bullock Jr., Elizabeth & Brian Burns, April Chatham-Carpenter, Tamara Childs, Lisa & Ruel Cowles, Wanda Davis, Paul Driftmier, Leigh Eckmair, Maria Farrington, Phil Farrington, JoAnn & Lee Fisher, John Feldman, Christopher Forbes, Ben & Diana Friedell, Bev Gibbons, John Gill, Terry Gomez, Patricia Griffith, Roberta Griffith, Mimi Grolund, Darrell Gunter, Cathy Hamilton, Christine Heller, Tony Hettler, Bev Hoffman, Nigel Jones, Kelly Kimball, Gloria LaRiva, Ron Lee, Kim Martinson, Peter Matthes, Deborah Merola, Robert Moreno, Diane Moseley, Shelley Moskowitz, Jim Mullowney, Barry Murphy, Kelly Noack, Eliza Oprea, Danny Ordner, Adelaide Gomer-Park, Chris Peters, Richard Pineda, Adan Plascencia, Mary Ann Ponce, Andy Puritz, Dave Rabin, Ilene Resnick, Robert Rosellini, CeCe Rowe, Jordy Sargent, Betsy Scanlin, Jack Schluep. Mark Schotte, Barbara Siesel, Ellie Stromberg, Keith Torgan, Joan Turbidy, Mel Vapour, Arthur & Lois Wachter, Beth Weinstein, Brenda Williams, Teresa Winchester, Joe & Shelley Whitworth, Aidan Woishnis
This project would not have come this far without you!
"Something in the Water"
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