‘There’s Something in the Water’: Ellen Page Addresses Environmental Racism in Directorial Debut

Ellen Page has been building a behind-the-lens resume for quite some time now but the documentary There’s Something in the Water marks a major milestone for the Academy Award nominee; it’s her directorial debut. An exciting achievement no doubt, but  the real standout quality of There’s Something in the Water is that it raises awareness for environmental racism, specifically in her home province of Nova Scotia. The film is based on Ingrid Waldron‘s book, There’’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous & Black Communities. Along with co-director (and her Gaycation co-creator) Ian Daniel, Page talks to community members dealing with the fallout of industrial development, all of whom live in remote, low income areas.

The film is eye-opening and downright devastating. Hopefully the film will get in front of more eyes soon as the issue is urgent to say the least, but in the meantime, we were honored to welcome Page, Daniel and Waldron to the Collider Lounge to talk about the film. You can hear what they told us about adapting Waldron’s book, figuring out when to incorporate themselves in the movie, why the 70-minute running time best suited this topic, what you can do to combat environmental racism right now, and so much more in the video interview at the top of this article.

nordstrom-supper-suite-tiff-2019We also need to send a big thank you to our presenting sponsor Nordstrom Canada and supporting partners Marriott Bonvoy and Ciroc Vodka for supporting the Collider Lounge at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and helping to make these interviews happen.

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You can find a full breakdown of the interview and the official TIFF synopsis for There’s Something in the Water below.

Ian Daniel, Ingrid Waldron, Ellen Page:

  • 00:18 – Waldron on what it was like being approached to adapt her book to film.
  • 01:05 – What is environmental racism?
  • 01:48 – What does Waldron say when someone asks, “Why don’t they just move?”
  • 02:45 – Page discusses figuring out how much to incorporate themselves as filmmakers in the movie.
  • 04:06 – Why a 70-minute running time was best for this subject.
  • 05:35 – Page discusses her future behind the lens.
  • 06:25 – What is it that makes the collaboration between Page and Daniel something special?
  • 08:15 – Page names someone who’s changing the film industry for the better.
  • 08:55 – What can someone do about environmental racism right now?

Based on Ingrid Waldron’s incendiary study, the film follows Page as she travels to rural areas of the province that are plagued by toxic fallout from industrial development. As did Waldron, the filmmakers discover that these catastrophes have been precisely placed, all in remote, low income — and very often Indigenous or Black — communities. As the filmmakers observe, your postal code determines your health.


Image via TIFF


Image via TIFF


Image via TIFF


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