"... 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
We are pleased to share that our documentary project has received a challenge grant from a major anonymous donor who has promised to award $25,000 when the project raises an equal sum. We are honored to have their trust in the power of our work and its potential to inform and inspire positive social change.
"Something in the Water" chronicles a critical time in America's history between October 2020 and April 2021. People from all across the United States found themselves at the intersection of a contentious election, growing racial and economic disparities, nationwide protests, and the experience of profound grief in response to the hundreds of thousands of American lives lost in isolation due to the forces of a global pandemic.
It raises important political and social issues that promote a better informed citizenry and tells the story about the state of our nation from many spectrums of ideological thinking, ages, and backgrounds. This much needed film is on point about topics that impact the health of our country, the preservation of our democracy, and fosters dialogue around deeply complex social issues that impact all Americans.
Please consider making a donation toward our matching grant goal of $25,000 and double your contribution. Your support is appreciated. Thank you.
Jeri Wachter and Joseph C. Stillman,
Producers, "Something in the Water" documentary
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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. Between October 2020 and April 2021, our project team traveled more than 16,500 miles, in three legs and interviewed 185 people in 30 states.
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 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 email@example.com 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, using research, communications and advocacy to drive positive social change. Other "works in progress" include, "Rural Matters; Poverty in the Other America" a documentary project on the impact of social and economic inequities in rural communities, and "Secondhand Chemo" an expose on the dangers of cytotoxins. She cofounded the Workplace Equity Project, a worldwide volunteer initiative to advance equity in scholarly publishing. Previously, she cofounded William Andrew Publishing, a publisher of leading works in science and engineering.
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.
Joseph and Jeri in Las Cruces, New Mexico in March 2021.
We had the pleasure to speak with Darrell Gunter in December 2020 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.
Update: Since this interview, we have interviewed 180 people in thirty states and completed principal photography.
Thank you everyone who helped to make production 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 would not have gotten this far without you!
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