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Three indigenous activists in Central and South America fight to stop multinational corporations from polluting their waters and destroying their agricultural way of life. We follow their fights as they brave death threats and murder, and in the process reveal a troubling pattern of resource exploitation, corruption and political violence throughout Latin America. In our activist’s struggles we see that the disruption of poor, rural communities has deep roots in Latin America and how it intertwines with the current refugee crisis at our own border.
The feature documentary Troubled Water weaves together this trio of stories of true heroism, each with the potential to inspire other ordinary citizens around the world. Alberto Curamil, an indigenous Mapuche leader in Chile, successfully stops two hydroelectric projects planned by an Italian multinational corporation on his sacred Rio Cautín. As retribution, the Chilean government frames him for an armed robbery. Alberto now awaits his trial; Salvadoran farmer Francisco Piñeda pulls the curtain back on a US corporation’s cyanide-water poisoning gold mine, and despite the murders of four of his fellow activists, prevails in getting his government to ban all metallic mining; and in Honduras, indigenous Lenca leader Berta Cáceres gives her life protecting her people’s sacred river from a Chinese dam and a Honduran hydroelectric corporation. Now Berta’s three daughters carry on her work.
Will Parrinello, (Producer/Director) has created more than 100 films on environmentalism, including Sea Change and Unfair Game. His multiple Emmy award winning series, The New Environmentalists, narrated by Robert Redford, is broadcast nationally on PBS and has screened at more than 95 international film festivals. His other producing/directing credits include Mustang - Journey of Transformation, Emile Norman – By His Own Design, Kerouac, Little Italy, Dreaming of Tibet and A New World. In 2017 he directed/produced the documentary short, Movies Around the World, for the Oscars broadcast. More than 250 million people in 85 countries saw the film. He was director of photography on the Academy Award nominated feature documentary Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press, was DP/editor for In the Light of Reverence, Sumo Basho, A Yen For Baseball, A Literary Friendship and numerous other films.
Rick Tejada-Flores (Producer) has dozens of award winning films to his credit, including Rivera In America and Jasper Johns, Ideas In Paint, both of which aired on the PBS series American Masters. He is also the producer and director of The Fight in The Fields - Cesar Chavez and The Farmworkers Struggle; Low 'N Slow - The Art of Lowriding; Race is The Place; the PBS series The Great Depression; and most recently My Bolivia - Remembering What I Never Knew, an intimate investigation into his family’s Bolivian roots.
Vicente Franco (Director of Photography/Associate Producer) is an award winning, Oscar nominated documentary cinematographer. His many DP credits include the Academy Award nominated films The Most Dangerous Man in America – Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Freedom on My Mind, The Barber of Birmingham, and Daughter from Danang which also won the Sundance Film Festival 2002 Grand Jury Prize. Born in Madrid, Vicente is fluent in Spanish and has filmed extensively throughout Latin America.
Stephen Talbot (Senior Producer/ Senior Writer) has produced and written more than 40 documentaries for public television including KQED’s Broken Arrow: Can a Nuclear Weapons Accident Happen Here? and The Gospel and Guatemala. He has won nearly every major award in broadcast journalism including Emmy's, Peabody’s, DuPont’s, a George Polk and an Overseas Press Club of America Edward R. Murrow award. He produced 10 films for PBS FRONTLINE, including The Best Campaign Money Can Buy, Justice for Sale, Spying on Saddam. He went on to create the PBS series Frontline World for which he served as series editor.
Sarah Kass (Writer) has written extensively on human rights and environmental issues, including 45 short films on civil liberties, migrant workers, and aboriginal peoples rights for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. She has worked with Will Parrinello on several projects including The New Environmentalists and Mustang - Journey of Transformation. Her shows have aired on PBS, Discovery Channel, and The History Channel including US Constellation: Battling for Freedom about the African slave trade and Discovery’s natural history series North America.
Helen Garrett (Social Impact Consultant) is an innovative marketing and artist engagement expert who has spearheaded human rights and media projects for over 25 years. As head of creative services at Amnesty International USA she produced highly visible campaigns that contributed to major human rights victories. She also raised millions of dollars through two benefit albums – the first featuring the songs of John Lennon with artists like U2 and Green Day, and the second, the songs of Bob Dylan with Miley Cyrus, Adele, Sting and others. She currently works as a consultant to nonprofits on branding, creative projects, artist engagement and activism.
Maria Calderon (Field Producer/Chile) has a Masters in journalism from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She was producer/director of the award- winning environmental documentary The Edge of the Sea; associate producer of Elizabeth Farnsworth’s Emmy Award nominated POV documentary The Judge and the General - The Story of Juan Guzman; associate producer of Stable Life - stories of undocumented immigrants who live and work on American racetracks, and producer of the 10-part HBO series Outpost, combining experiential journalism with adventure travel reporting.
Renato Lacayo (Field Producer/Honduras) has worked as a field producer / fixer for numerous mainstream news organizations including the New York Times, New Yorker Magazine, Washington Post, The Economist, ABC, BBC, CBS, NPR, TV Globo, ZDF, and the Pulitzer Center. His documentary work has appeared on VICE, HBO and PBS. Renato was fixer on a 5-part documentary series, “The Fabric of Life” for TV5 Canada. Working as a field producer has enabled Lacayo to acquire knowledge about the challenges faced by the Honduran people in their struggle to find peace and lead tranquil and meaningful lives. His assignments include gang violence, drug trade, corruption, elections and immigration.
Ernesto Avalos (Field Producer/El Salvador) worked as a sound engineer for the Reuters News Agency during the Salvadoran civil war. After the government signed the Peace Accords in 1992 he began working as Telemundo’s primary cameraman in El Salvador and a freelance field producer. In 2012 Avalos began working as a producer/writer for Telesur in El Salvador, and in 2014 he became Telesur’s primary correspondent.