COME HELL OR HIGH WATER follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who returns to his native coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport.
COME HELL OR HIGH WATER follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who returns to his native coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Derrick is consumed by the effort to protect the community his great grandfather's grandfather settled as a former slave. He is on the verge of a breakthrough when Hurricane Katrina strikes the Gulf Coast.
After years of restoration work to bring Turkey Creek back from the brink of death, the community gains significant federal support for cultural and ecological preservation. Derrick plans to return to Boston to rebuild the life he abandoned, but another disaster seals his fate as a reluctant activist. On the day Turkey Creek is featured in USA Today for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes.
Directed by Leah Mahan
Produced by Leah Mahan, Jane Greenberg
Cinematography: Leah Mahan
Editor: Jane Greenberg
Co-Editors: William A. Anderson, Dawn Logsdon
Composer: Derrick Hodge
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)
"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
"Exposes raw in-your-face Mississippi racial politics...a perfect lesson that we are not living in a post-racial era."
Dr. Robert Bullard, Dean, School of Public Affairs, Texas Southern University, Author, Race, Place, and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina
"A deeply moving depiction of the many layers of vulnerability that affect so many communities of color in the U.S. and the dedication and sacrifices required of those who fight for justice. Viewers of this film – including students of environmentalism, social movements and local politics – will gain a vivid understanding of the complexities of environmental justice and the ups and downs of grassroots struggles, which rarely come to neat, Hollywood endings. Indeed, Come Hell or High Water brings life to the words, 'Long is the struggle, hard the fight.'"
Dr. Melissa Checker, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, Queens College, Author, Polluted Promises: Environmental Racism and the Search for Justice in a Southern Town
"A very powerful film...explores the nexus between two powerful and important facets of American life – the surging movement to restore rivers and preserve wetlands, and the quest for environmental justice. This is the story of how one man can energize an entire community and engage in a fierce David vs. Goliath struggle, and win. It explores the burgeoning connection between protecting the environment, and protecting culture, history, and the welfare of poor communities. It is impossible to watch this movie without being moved."
Daniel Craig McCool, Director, Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program, Professor, Political Science, University of Utah, Author, River Republic: The Rise and Fall of America's Rivers