Cautionary health doc to hit Art

From September 27, 2010:

LIVING DOWNSTREAM, a documentary film about Illinois native Sandra Steingraber which links human health with the health of our environment, comes to Illinois on a five-city screening tour in October

A new documentary film that has met with sold-out shows across the continent, standing ovations in major centers from Boston to Toronto, and rave reviews in media outlets such as The Washington Post, charts the life and work of Illinois native Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D.

LIVING DOWNSTREAM is an eloquent feature-length documentary based on the book of the same name by Steingraber, a biologist, author, cancer survivor, and cancer prevention advocate who was born and raised in Pekin, Illinois. Pekin is where Sandra was diagnosed with bladder cancer at age 20 and also where she first began her work as an “environmental detective.”

Like the book on which the film is based, LIVING DOWNSTREAM documents the growing body of scientific evidence that links human health with the health of our environment and concludes that the best way to beat cancer is by preventing it in the first place.

Part scientific exploration, part personal journey, the film follows Steingraber during a pivotal year in her life – as a biologist and author, speaking to groups across North America about cancer prevention, and as a cancer survivor, receiving ambiguous results from a cancer screening test. The film captures this movement between the scientific and the personal, which is also a hallmark of Steingraber’s work.

Critics have repeatedly commented on the visual beauty of the film and its poetic persuasiveness. “Handsomely photographed and powerfully argued … an arresting portrait,” says Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post (04/23/10). “Visually elegant,” says Mamalode magazine (05/10), “an absolute must-see … it is powerful, it is inspiring, it is moving,” says CineSource (05/07/10). The Missoulian calls LIVING DOWNSTREAM “at times intimate, at other times shocking, and occasionally tragically humorous” (03/05/10), while the Pekin Daily Times says simply that Steingraber offers “a message of hope.”

While Steingraber’s life and work are certainly the central focus of LIVING DOWNSTREAM, the physical beauty of the American landscape infuses the narrative with a poetic force. The film was shot in several locations in Illinois, including Springfield (the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum), Pekin, Peoria, Creve Coeur, Congerville, Saybrook, and Forrest.

“I’m thrilled to return with LIVING DOWNSTREAM to Illinois, whose landscape suffuses this film with beauty and is the source of my own ecological roots,” says Steingraber. “I enjoy describing this loveliness of Illinois to audiences far from my home state, but it’s a special honor to screen the film in communities whose back roads I can still navigate from memory. Most of all, I hope the film emboldens those who are seeking sustainable solutions to Illinois’ many environmental problems. What we love we must protect.”

Several experts in the fields of toxicology and cancer research make important cameo appearances in the film, highlighting their own findings on two pervasive chemicals: atrazine, one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, and industrial compounds called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Their work further illuminates the significant need to focus on cancer prevention and develop a more complete portrait of the relationship between potential carcinogens and the risk to human health.

LIVING DOWNSTREAM is directed by Chanda Chevannes of The People’s Picture Company (The PPC). “The film follows Sandra, who is on a journey,” says Chevannes, “but the chemicals against which she is fighting are also on the move. We follow these invisible toxins as they migrate to some of the most beautiful places in North America. We see how these chemicals enter our bodies, and how, once inside, scientists believe they may be working to cause cancer.”

To coincide with the documentary adaption of LIVING DOWNSTREAM, Da Capo Press has published an updated 2nd Edition of the book.

Steingraber and Chevannes will be in attendance throughout the Illinois screening tour and will participate in a question and answer session following the film. Signed copies of the book will also be on sale after each event.

For more information on LIVING DOWNSTREAM:

Kathleen O’Grady, QUOI Media Group
Mobile: +1.613.897.9276
Email: quoi [at] quoimedia [dot] com
Twitter: @quoimedia


Illinois Screening Tour Details

Saturday Oct. 16, 7:00 p.m., The Art Theater, Champaign-Urbana
Advance tickets available online and by phone from Brown Paper Tickets or in person from The Art Theater, $8.

Sunday Oct. 17, 1:00 p.m., Normal Theater, Bloomington-Normal
Advance tickets available online and by phone from Brown Paper Tickets or in person at The Garlic Press, $8.

Sunday Oct. 17, 7:00 p.m., Hoogland Center for the Arts, Springfield
Advance tickets available online, in person, and by phone from Hoogland Center for the Arts, $8.

Monday Oct. 18, 7:00 p.m., Peoria Theater, Peoria
Advance tickets available online, in person, or by phone from the Peoria Theater, $8.

Tuesday Oct. 19, 7:00 p.m., Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Advance tickets available online or by phone from Brown Paper Tickets or in person at Women and Children First bookstore, $10.

A co-presentation of: The Land Connection, an Illinois non-profit working to promote healthy farms, healthy food and healthy communities, and Pesticide Action Network North America, a non-profit organization that works to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives

Local Partners: Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Peoria Families Against Toxic Waste

Book signings hosted by: Babbitt’s Books (Bloomington-Normal), I Know You Like a Book (Peoria), Jane Addams Book Shop (Champaign-Urbana), Women and Children First (Chicago)

One Response to Cautionary health doc to hit Art

  1. Paul :

    Looking forward to attending the showing tonight!