Pass the Popcorn

Preservationists, pass the word (and the popcorn)-the long-awaited premier of Come Hell or High Water is finally here!

Turkey CreekCome Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek will air on WORLD Channel, on the series America Reframed on April 29, 2014. In the month of April, WORLD Channel explores the resiliency of people and the planet. Viewers can find the broadcast of Come Hell or High Water on a local public TV station or watch when it streams for free online for 30 days following the premiere broadcast. The broadcast will be followed by a half-hour discussion between the series host, Derrick Evans and journalist Brentin Mock. For more information, visit

Come Hell or High Water follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who moves home to coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Over the course of a decade, Derrick and his neighbors stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians and face Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice.

“This intimate film tells a gigantic story — about race, about power, about so-called development. But it is also a saga of community, resilience, resistance, and hope. It’s about everything that matters in our society.”

Bill Bigelow, Rethinking Schools

The film won the Audience Award for Documentary Feature when it premiered at the New Orleans Film Festival in October 2013 and a sneak preview at Power Shift, a national gathering of 8,000 youth leaders held in Pittsburgh, was hosted by the Reel Power project. The film will be included in the 2014 American Film Showcase, a cultural diplomacy program sponsored by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts that aims to highlight the value of film in fostering understanding and cooperation, dialogue and debate.

“This powerful documentary illustrates a classic case of environmental injustice and exposes raw in-your-face Mississippi racial politics. Come Hell or High Water is a perfect lesson that we are not living in a post-racial era.”

– Dr. Robert Bullard, “father of environmental justice,” Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University

Filmmaker Leah Mahan worked on the documentary for a dozen years and was invited to collaborate with world-class creative advisors as a fellow at the Sundance Institute Documentary Editing and Story Lab. While producing the film, Mahan worked with Derrick Evans and the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health to create a community media project titled Bridge the Gulf that lifts up the voices of Gulf Coast communities working towards justice and sustainability. Through multimedia storytelling on the online platform, an active network of community leaders, experts, and media-makers connect and share their perspectives on the places, cultures, histories, and challenges that define the Gulf Coast region.

The project has drawn the attention of MSNBC, the BBC, NPR and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. A redesign of the site supported by the Independent Television Service launched in late March and was celebrated at the Washington, D.C. film premiere at the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital.

Come Hell or High Water is part of Reel Power, a collaborative of award-winning documentary filmmakers, individual leaders and organizations working to address climate change and the long-term impact of destructive resource extraction. Through targeted and public screening events, strategy convenings, and hands-on trainings coordinated by Working Films and supported by Chicken and Egg Pictures, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the Putnam Foundation, Reel Power is positioning Come Hell or High Water and other high impact films to promote and advance new energy solutions and a clean and just energy future.

Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek is a co-production of Zamler Productions, LLC and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), produced in association with Mississippi Public Broadcasting, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The film was also supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Berkeley Film Foundation, Just Media Fund, Winograd-Hutner Family Fund, Nu Lambda Trust, LEF Moving Image Fund, Fleishhacker Foundation and individual donors.

Sign up to host a watch party of Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek when it airs on MPB on April 30th at 8 p.m. or when it streams on PBS Video in May. After you sign up, we’ll provide you with a guide to hosting a successful party.

About the filmmaker:

Leah Mahan is an independent documentary filmmaker whose work has been nominated by the Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. Mahan’s film Sweet Old Song (2002) was featured on the PBS series P.O.V. and was selected by film critic Roger Ebert Mahan began her career as a research assistant for filmmaker Henry Hampton on the groundbreaking PBS series on the civil rights movement Eyes on the Prize. A sequel to her first film, Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street (1996), was completed in 2013. The films tell the story of a vibrant community organization that transforms a devastated Boston neighborhood through grassroots organizing.

Production Credits:

Producer, Director, Cinematographer-Leah Mahan

Producer and Editor-Jane Greenberg

Co-Editors-William A. Anderson, Dawn Logsdon

Composer-Derrick Hodge

Categories: Gulfport, Historic Preservation


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