(Tuesday) 7:00 pm CST
Bologna Performing Arts Center, Delta and Pine Land Theatre
1003 W. Sunflower Road, Cleveland, MS 38733
Mossville, Louisiana is a shadow of its former self—a community rich in natural resources and history, founded by formerly enslaved people and free people of color—where neighbors lived in harmony,
Mossville, Louisiana is a shadow of its former self—a community rich in natural resources and history, founded by formerly enslaved people and free people of color—where neighbors lived in harmony, insulated from the horrors of Jim Crow. Today, Mossville no longer resembles the town it once was. Surrounded by 14 petrochemical plants, Mossville is the future site of apartheid-born South African-based chemical company Sasol’s newest plant—proposed as a $21.2 billion project and the largest in the western hemisphere. The community struggles to let go of their ancestral home, and at the center of it all is a man named Stacey Ryan, a lifelong resident. In the past ten years, Stacey has lost much of his family to cancer and seen the neighborhood he grew up in demolished to make way for Sasol’s new multi-billion dollar project. He experiences these changes from the view of his parent’s home, a FEMA trailer smack in the middle of where the new Sasol facility is being built—and he refuses to leave. Having promised his dying parents to fight the sprawling chemical companies, Stacey struggles to keep his word as his power, water, and sewage are cut off, and his health continues to decline from ongoing chemical exposure. As Sasol encroaches on citizens’ property with buyout offers, Stacey and other community members have to decide whether to exist in a chemical war zone, or abandon land that has been in their families for generations.
Part of the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. Free Admission. Southern Circuit screenings are funded in part by a grant from South Arts, a regional arts organization, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
Traveling with the film: Alexander Glustrom, Director; Daniel Bennett, Producer; Katie Mathews, Producer; Michelle Lanier, Executive Producer; Catherine Rierson, Producer
Alexander Glustrom – Director/Editor
Alexander Glustrom has directed, shot, produced, and edited a wide variety of film projects ranging from commercial, music, and art videos that have reached hundreds of thousands online, to documentaries that have been featured in film festivals internationally. He has shot footage that has aired on major networks such as HBO, CNN, Fusion, NYtimes.com, Great Big Story and Democracy Now. He has also created a number of fundraising videos that have raised thousands of dollars for New Orleans youth programs. Alex’s first film is the award winning documentary film, Big Charity, which he directed, shot, produced and edited. Big Charity won The Jury Award and Audience Award at The New Orleans Film Festival, was awarded 2015 Documentary of the Year by Louisiana Endowment For The Humanities, and was named the 5th Best Film Made in Louisiana in 2014 and the 4th “Best Katrina Film” by NOLA.com. Alex was awarded “Filmmaker of the Year” at the 2015 New Orleans Millennial Awards and named as one of New Orleans’ “40 under 40 brightest and most innovative young people” by Gambit Magazine.
Daniel Bennett – Producer
Daniel Bennett grew up in Mossville, Louisiana, the son of Delma and Christine Bennett, longtime Mossville residents and environmental activists. Daniel brings a crucial perspective to the project, helping to ensure that the story is being told accurately and in the spirit of the place and people who live there. Daniel has years of experience as a photographer, videographer and storyteller with his company, Snapshots by D. Bennett Photography. He has a degree from McNeese State University.
Katie Mathews – Producer
Katie Mathews is an award-winning filmmaker, educator, and researcher whose work explores the intersection of identity and the places and spaces we call home. She is currently directing Roleplay, a feature documentary about campus rape culture. Most recently, Katie produced and story edited Mossville: When Great Trees Fall, a feature documentary about environmental racism currently touring festivals. She was a 2018 Fellow in the UnionDocs Summer Documentary Lab, a 2018 Fellow in the inaugural Southern Producer’s Lab and an Artist in Residence at A Studio in the Woods for their Adaptations Residency.
Prior to her work in film, Katie worked as an anthropologist and ethnographer at global design firm IDEO, using individual stories to inspire new systems in education and the public sector. Katie holds a BA in Communications from Northwestern University and is currently an MFA student at Hunter College’s Integrated Media Arts Program.
Michelle Lanier – Executive Producer
Michelle Lanier is a Documentary Doula, helping makers birth films. She has served on the faculty of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University since 2000. Michelle uses her background as an oral historian and folklorist to connect communities around personal narratives and cultural expression. She has traveled to Panama and Ghana to document African Diaspora funerary traditions, and her ethnographic work in a South Carolina Gullah community led to her role as a liaison to the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Growing up in a family that includes veterans of five American wars has inspired her current work in training students to collect veterans’ narratives through a Service-Learning course. In 2008, Michelle successfully advocated for legislation creating the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, which she led as its founding executive director. As a seasoned public humanities and museum professional, in 2018, Michelle was named as the first African American director of all of North Carolina’s 25 state-owned historic sites. Michelle is also a proud founding member, along with her daughter Eden, of a multi-media and multi-modal coalition called DOADA, the Documentarians of African Descent Alliance.
Katherine Rierson – Producer
Catherine Rierson is an award-winning filmmaker based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Working namely as a creative producer of documentary film, her work is journalistic and observational, examining the relationships between identity, sense of place, and public policy. She recently produced Mossville: When Great Trees Fall and is currently story producing Dir. Dara Kell’s 40 Days (2020), a feature-length Ford Foundation documentary about poverty and the people fighting to end it. In 2018, Catherine worked as the local producer of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown “Cajun Mardi Gras”, as well as producer of several narrative shorts – including Dir. Nick Singer’s Stella for Star and Dir. Andre Rangiah’s Quiet and Clear. Prior to this, she produced the feature-length documentaries, Sick to Death (Dir. Maggie Hadleigh-West, 2017), which was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and Big Charity (Dir. Alex Glustrom, 2015), which won the New Orleans Film Festival’s Jury Award and Audience Award, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Documentary Film Award, and many other accolades.
With an educational background in reporting and writing, Catherine holds a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been a student of journalism at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), and has completed postgraduate coursework at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.