Woodstock Film Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival, Citizen Jane Film Festival, Columbia University Film Festival, Chesapeake Film Festival, Lone Star Film Festival, North Shore Towers Film Festival, Beloit International Film Festival, March on Washington Film Festival, Green Mountain Film Festival, Tupelo Film Festival

Director's statement

Director's statement

I wanted to tell a story set in my family's home state of West Virginia for quite some time when I began working on Crick in the Holler, my 2017 Columbia University MFA thesis film. The 2014 Elk River chemical spill incited a water crisis that left roughly a third of the state's population without potable water, but received very little national attention. It seemed like the perfect backdrop for exploring polarized reactions towards environmental crisis within one West Virginia family, while also raising awareness about the true-life events of the spill. Dawn, the film's protagonist, is a determined, intelligent young woman who goes to great lengths to help her family in a moment of urgency and uncertainty, using all resources at her disposal. These are qualities I've observed in many young West Virginians, and I hope the film gives insight into the complexities of the region and how someone with a need for agency like Dawn might react to a seemingly insurmountable catastrophe.

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Woodstock Film Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival, Citizen Jane Film Festival, Columbia University Film Festival, Chesapeake Film Festival, Lone Star Film Festival, North Shore Towers Film Festival, Beloit International Film Festival, March on Washington Film Festival, Green Mountain Film Festival, Tupelo Film Festival

At a family farm in West Virginia, Dawn, a first-generation college student, takes care of her rebellious younger sister, Summer, while their grandmother is out of town. When she discovers a licorice scent in their tap water, she investigates, finding the same odor in their farm's creek. Alarmed, she appeals to her sister and uncle, Buck, who mock her suspicions. Nevertheless, she follows the scent upstream and stumbles onto a chemical spill in progress. She collects samples of the substance, MCHM, and through a simple experiment learns enough entered the water supply to be harmful. She warns Summer and urges her to take it seriously, but she is busy readying for a party with Buck. They argue and Dawn leaves to get bottled water, checking out of a convenience store just as news of the spill breaks publicly. She arrives home to apologize to Summer, but she is gone. Dawn goes to the party and retrieves an ailing Summer, the two reconciling as the clean-up efforts of the spill continue.

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