How a book about environmental racism in Nova Scotia became one of the big documentaries of 2020
May 01, 2020
One day in 2018, Ingrid Waldron noticed that her Twitter mentions were pinging a lot more than usual. She discovered that Nova Scotia–born actor and film producer Ellen Page was tweeting about Waldron’s book, There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous & Black Communities (Fernwood Publishing).
There’s Something in the Water examines the experiences of Mi’kmaw and African Nova Scotian communities who have been affected by toxic industrial fallout, and the efforts generations of grassroots activists have made to draw attention to the crisis. While environmental racism is now front-page news thanks to the protests by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in B.C., that wasn’t the case when Page started discussions with Waldron about turning her book into a documentary.
Page’s film, co-directed by Ian Daniel, launched on Netflix on March 27. When it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2019, the documentary received coverage in publications such as Rolling Stone, Time, and Variety.