Subjects: Environmental Studies, Physical and Mental Health, American Studies, African American Studies, Public Health, Documentary Studies, Southern Studies, Public Policy, Environmental Law
Mossville, Louisiana is a shadow of its former self – a community rich in natural resources and history, founded by formerly enslaved people and free people of color – where neighbors lived in harmony, insulated from the horrors of Jim Crow. Today, however, Mossville no longer resembles the town it once was. Surrounded by 14 petrochemical plants, Mossville is the future site of apartheid-born South African-based chemical company Sasol’s newest plant – proposed as a $21.2 billion project and the largest in the western hemisphere.
The community struggles to let go of their ancestral home - and at the center of it all is a man named Stacey Ryan. Stacey is 49 years old and a lifelong resident of Mossville. In the past ten years, Stacey has lost much of his family to cancer and seen the neighborhood he grew up in demolished to make way for Sasol’s new multi-billion dollar project. He experiences these changes from the view of his parent’s home, a FEMA trailer smack in the middle of where the new Sasol facility is being built – and he refuses to leave. Having promised his dying parents to fight the sprawling chemical companies, Stacey struggles to keep his word as his power, water, and sewage are all cut off, and his health continues to decline from ongoing chemical exposure. His dilemma is a moral one, too: he has a 5-year-old son living nearby with the child’s mother that he wants to move out of state, yet for now, the pull of that promise to his parents keeps him living in the middle of a construction site. As Sasol encroaches on citizens’ property with buyout offers, Stacey and other community members have to decide whether to exist in a chemical war zone or abandon land that has been in their families for generations.
Mossville has won the following awards:
Kathleen Bryan Edwards Human Rights Award from Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.
David Carr Truth in Non-Fiction Filmmaking Award and Junior Jury Award from Montclair Film Festival.
Best Documentary Film from Rainier Independent Film Festival.
Best Documentary Film and EcoHero Award from Portland EcoFilm Festival.
Best International Feature from Toronto’s Planet In Focus Film Festival.
Best In Show from Bend Film Festival.
Best Southern Feature from Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.
Audience Award and Honorable Jury Mention from New Orleans Film Festival.
Documentary of the Year from Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.
Spirit of Activism Award from Wild & Scenic Film Festival
“Striking and Urgent…” – Indie Wire
“Mossville captures the devastation of the destruction of a community with grace and empathy and has a message that will reverberate across generations.” – BRWC
“A sad and uncommonly stunning exploration of environmental racism and the adverse effects of industrialization on fenceline communities.” – Anti-Gravity
“A nightmarish landscape is the battleground for Stacey’s defiant spirit, as he’s forced to choose between a better life for his son and fighting to preserve his ancestors’ legacy.” – Planet in Focus
About the filmmaker
Alexander Glustrom has directed, shot, produced, and edited a wide variety of film projects ranging from commercial, music, and art videos that have reached hundreds of thousands online, to documentaries that have been featured in film festivals internationally. He has shot footage that has aired on major networks such as HBO, CNN, Fusion, NYtimes.com, Great Big Story and Democracy Now. He has also created a number of fundraising videos that have raised thousands of dollars for New Orleans youth programs. Alex's first film is the award winning documentary film, Big Charity, which he directed, shot, produced and edited. Big Charity won The Jury Award and Audience Award at The New Orleans Film Festival, was awarded 2015 Documentary of the Year by Louisiana Endowment For The Humanities, and was named the 5th Best Film Made in Louisiana in 2014 and the 4th “Best Katrina Film" by NOLA.com. Alex was awarded "Filmmaker of the Year" at the 2015 New Orleans Millennial Awards and named as one of New Orleans' "40 under 40 brightest and most innovative young people" by Gambit Magazine.