"... 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
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... A Search for Common Ground in America” documentary project was created in the spirit of keeping democracy alive by capturing the nuances, perspectives, and experiences of Americans from across the country about the state of our nation.
It's the story of America set against the backdrop of a contentious 2020 Presidential election, nationwide social unrest, and amid a global pandemic. Between October 2020 and April 2021, our team traveled sixteen thousand, five hundred miles, conducting filmed interviews with one hundred nighty-five people in thirty states, over fifty days.
This documentary "work in progress" is an historical portrayal of a country struggling to understand and rationalize the ideologies that divide its people. And yet, despite the obstacles that confront it, the promise of America 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. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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/Director) is a filmmaker, consultant, and public speaker utilizing research, communications, and advocacy to educate, engage the public, and drive positive social change. Other “works in progress” include "Rural Matters; Poverty in the Other America," addressing the impact of social and economic inequities in three counties in Upstate New York. Previously, she cofounded the Workplace Equity Project, a worldwide initiative in scholarly publishing. In 1989, she cofounded William Andrew Publishing, and over twenty years, established the company as a leading applied science publisher in fields such as materials, energy, and ecology.
We're honored that this project was awarded a matching grant challenge by a major foundation donor to help raise funds toward its production. Thanks to those who have accepted the challenge, the project has nearly met its match. We are ever grateful for the care and participation that individuals and organizations have shown because they believe in the power and importance of this work.
By making a tax-deductible donation to our fiscal sponsor, Center for Independent Documentary, donors can double the value of their contribution. If you care about what we do, a gift of ANY size would make a world of difference. Thank you, as always, for your support.
Americans across our land have many concerns and 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. 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.
Early “work in progress” screenings have shown a profound effect on audiences, sparking dialogue and a sense of respectful curiosity, engaging viewers to begin a process to bridge misunderstandings about each other, and around challenging and critical issues in our country. It fosters love, hope, and pride for the people, and this place we call our country, and our home.
This work is intended for students, faculty, and staff, in high schools, colleges and universities, as well as individuals at all levels in businesses and organizations, legislative policy makers, and where communities across our land can screen and hold forums.
Joseph and Jeri in Las Cruces, New Mexico in March 2021.
Thank you to all who have helped to make production possible along the journey across America.
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; Park Foundation, Ithaca, NY.
Gaila Reyna-Arguell, Bob Babcock, Robert Blanton, Reginald Bullock Jr., Elizabeth & Brian Burns, April Chatham-Carpenter, Tamara Childs, 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, 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, Diane Moseley, Shelley Moskowitz, Jim Mullowney, Kelly Noack, Eliza Oprea, Adelaide Gomer-Park, Chris Peters, Richard Pineda, Adan Plascencia, Mary Ann Ponce, Andy Puritz, Ilene Resnick, Robert Rosellini, CeCe Rowe, Jordy Sargent, Betsy Scanlin, Jack Schluep. Mark Schotte, Barbara Siesel, Ellie Stromberg, Joan Tubridy, Mel Vapour, Lois Alba Wachter, Beth Weinstein, Brenda Williams, Teresa Winchester, and Joe and Shelly Whitworth.
This project would not have come this far without you!
Update: Since this interview aired in December 2020, we have spoken with 195 people in thirty states about their views of America. We shot for 50 days, and over 16,500 miles, completing principal photography in April 2021. "Work in progress" screenings are receiving a great response from broad audiences across ages. Would you like to know more? Give us a call at 607.226.4181. We'd appreciate hearing from you.
"Something in the Water"
P.O. Box 289 Gilbertsville, NY 13776
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