A "work in progress" feature documentary
Inspired by one of the most turbulent periods in the recent history of the United States, the “Something in the Water” documentary project was created in the spirit of keeping democracy alive by capturing the nuances, perspectives, and experiences of Americans from all across the United States.
It's the story of America, set against the backdrop of a contentious 2020 Presidential election and in the midst of a global pandemic. Since mid-October, our project team has traveled more than 16,500 miles and interviewed 185 participants from a diverse spectrum of people in 30 states, over 55 days, acquiring more than 180 hours of filmed testimony.
When completed, this documentary will present an unbiased historical portrayal of a country struggling to understand and rationalize the ideologies that divide its people. And yet, despite its uncertain future and the obstacles that confront it, the promise of the ‘American Dream’ is still alive and prospering, offering hope to heal the wounds of a fractured nation.
The "Something in the Water" documentary is the third collaboration between filmmakers Jeri Wachter and Joseph C. Stillman.
If you'd like to get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 607.226.4181.
Joseph C. Stillman (Producer/Director) is an award-winning filmmaker, focused on human rights and social justice issues. He has spent forty-six years producing, directing, shooting, writing, and editing motion pictures and documentary films during the course of his career. His recent works include the internationally acclaimed feature documentary, "Citizen Clark... A Life of Principle," the life story of former U.S. Attorney General and Human Rights activist, Ramsey Clark and "From Mills River to Babylon and Back... The Jimmy Massey Story." As an Emmy winning, Oscar nominated and Best Documentary Film Producer/Director, Stillman's projects have been seen around the globe.
Jeri Wachter (Producer) is a producer, consultant, and public speaker. Recent works include "Rural Matters; Poverty in the Other America" a documentary project focussed on the impact of socioeconomic inequities in rural communities; and the Workplace Equity Project, a global grass-roots initiative addressing equity issues in scholarly publishing. She previously co-founded and for twenty years grew William Andrew Publishing, a publisher of leading titles in ecology, materials, and nanotechnologies.
"... the filmmakers capture this spectacularly unique moment in history from a multitude of perspectives, force us out of our respective echo-chambers, and give us a better and more empathetic understanding of the world around us."
Mira Simon - Center for Independent Documentary
We had the pleasure to speak with Darrell Gunter about “Something in the Water" on his radio show Leadership with Darrell W Gunter on Seton Hall University's WSOU 89.5 FM / wsou.net and iTunes Podcast. Check it out.
In late October of 2020, we left Upstate New York on a three leg journey to visit more than half the country. We've spoken with individuals from states in the South, along the East Coast, through the Midwest, down the West Coast, and across the Southwest, to document and preserve people’s testimony at this unique juncture in history. It has been a fascinating discovery!
Amid a contentious election, a pandemic, and an economic downturn, Americans across our land have many concerns. From economic challenges, to political polarization, racial inequities, to healthcare hurdles, across ages, people are angry, hopeful, sad, feel betrayed, are depressed, optimistic, concerned, hurting, feel despair, and all of 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. When we began this project, we had hoped to connect people by capturing this moment in our country’s history. While we had no pre-conceived ideas as to what people would say, we soon discovered, people were more than generous in expressing their thoughts on many subjects.
These sentiments mirrored the shared experiences that citizens, regardless of where they live, are feeling all across our land. As filmmakers, we were constantly surprised at their insight which was so thoughtful and deeply moving to us. The people we spoke to, the subjects they talked about, and the stories they relayed to us, reaffirmed what we had suspected before we began this project.
Americans everywhere have more things in common than the issues that divide us. And yet, is this commonality enough to heal a nation that is so deeply divided and wounded from years of tribalism and subversion? The answers to that question surprised us and we believe are essential to healing America.
We're honored to have the Center for Independent Documentary as our fiscal sponsor. They believe, as we do, that objective, independent documentary films play an important role in fostering dialogue around deeply complex social challenges.
Jeri Wachter and Joseph C. Stillman, Producers
The “Something in the Water” documentary project
Jeri and Joseph in Washington, DC on January 20, 2021.
SUPPORT THIS FILM
We hope you feel as strongly about justice, equality, and the common dignity of every person in our country as we do. Be part of history by helping us to bring these important perspectives to light.
CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT DOCUMENTARY IS OUR FISCAL SPONSOR. TO MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTABLE CONTRIBUTION: Please make your check payable to the “The Center for Independent Documentary” and put “Something In The Water” in the memo line. Please mail your check to: The Center for Independent Documentary 1300 Soldiers Field Road, Suite #5 Boston, MA 02135.
Thank you, everyone who helped to make this project possible along our journey across America. We are truly humbled to have your trust in the power and importance of our project.
SPECIAL THANKS TO!
The Major’s Inn, Gilbertsville, NY; The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC;
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, New York, NY;
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, El Paso, TX;
University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, AR.
Gaila Reyna-Arguell, Bob Babcock, Reginald Bullock Jr., Elizabeth & Brian Burns, April Chatham-Carpenter, Tamara Childs, Ruel Cowles, Wanda Davis, Paul Driftmier, Maria Farrington, Phil Farrington, JoAnn & Lee Fisher, John Feldman, Christopher Forbes, Ben & Diana Friedell, Bev Gibbons, John Gill, Terry Gomez, Patricia Griffith, Mimi Grolund, Darrell Gunter, Roberta Griffith, Cathy Hamilton, Christine Heller, Tony Hettler, Bev Hoffman, Nigel Jones, Kelly Kimball, Gloria LaRiva, Ron Lee, Kim Martinson, Peter Matthes, Robert Moreno, Shelley Moskowitz, Jim Mullowney, Kelly Noack, Chris Peters, Richard Pineda, Adan Plascencia, Mary Ann Ponce, Andy Puritz, CeCe Rowe, Jordy Sargent, Betsy Scanlin, Mark Schotte, Ellie Stromberg, Joan Tubridy, Mel Vapour, Lois Alba Wachter, Beth Weinstein, Brenda Williams, and Joe Whitworth.
We have been graced by your care to provide our team with spaces to film around the country, which has allowed us to protect our subjects and our crew during the pandemic. You kept our bellies full and we continue to savor the many delicious meals so lovingly prepared, and which sustained us after long days of production and travel. We would not have gotten this far without you!
Do you have questions or comments about our documentary? Help support this project by getting involved.
Copyright © 2020 Something in the Water - All Rights Reserved.