FILM: COME HELL OR HIGH WATER: THE BATTLE FOR TURKEY CREEK
Co-sponsor: The Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism, Graduate School of Journalism
A discussion with filmmaker Leah Mahan and activist Derrick Evans about their collaboration on the documentary: Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek. Here is a link to the trailer for the film: http://leahmahan.com/comehellorhighwater/#trailer
Derrick Evans' efforts to protect Turkey Creek are told in Leah Mahan's documentary Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek. Evans and Mahan collaborated with the Gulf Coast Fund to launch Bridge The Gulf, a community media project that lifts up Gulf Coast voices on key human rights and ecological concerns. This film is about community-driven efforts to create a more healthy, just and resilient Gulf Coast.
Co-founder of the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health
Derrick Christopher Evans is a sixth-generation native of coastal Mississippi’s historic African-American community of Turkey Creek, founded in 1866. He earned his bachelor's and master’s degrees from Boston College, where he taught civil rights history as an adjunct professor from 1992 to 2005. Evans also taught middle-school American history and social studies in the Boston public school system from 1991 to 2001 and taught history and African-American studies at Roxbury Community College. In 1997, Evans co-founded Epiphany School, a full-service and tuition-free independent middle school for low-income children and families from Boston neighborhoods.
Evans is the co-founder of the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health, which directs financial, technical and collegial support to grassroots community groups addressing the region’s challenges of poverty, racism, gender inequality and environmental destruction. He is also the co-founder of Turkey Creek Community Initiatives, which works to conserve and restore the culture and ecology of his native Turkey Creek community and watershed.
In 2010, Evans worked with filmmaker Leah Mahan and the Gulf Coast Fund to launch Bridge The Gulf, an interactive Web-based platform for community advocates, journalists and storytellers. Evans' efforts to protect Turkey Creek are told in Mahan's documentary Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek.
Leah Mahan is an independent documentary filmmaker whose work has been nominated by the Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. She is a Film Envoy for the American Film Showcase and has been a fellow at the Sundance Institute Documentary Editing and Story Lab.
Leah’s work has been supported by the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, Independent Television Service, Ford Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. She holds a BA in anthropology from Cornell University and an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two children.
Leah’s film Sweet Old Song (2002) was featured on the PBS series P.O.V. and was selected by film critic Roger Ebert to be screened at his Overlooked Film Festival (“Ebertfest”). The film tells the story of Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong, an old-time string band musician who undertakes a bittersweet journey with the woman he loves. In 2013 she completed Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek, about a group of determined Mississippians who struggle to save their endangered Gulf Coast community in the face of rampant development, industrial pollution and disaster. She worked with Gulf Coast NGOs to develop a related community journalism project titled Bridge The Gulf. A sequel to her first film, Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street (1996), was also completed in 2013. The films tell the story of a vibrant community organization that transforms a devastated Boston neighborhood through grassroots organizing. Leah 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.
For more information about the LAEP Lecture Series go to: http://ced.berkeley.edu/events-media/lecture-series/laep-land-lectures-2014/