THE POISONED WINDS
B Y C O R Y F R Y E
FILM STILL: DARRYL IVY
Clandestine cell phone footage from a helicopter service technician of a commercial herbicide spraying operation on a rainy day in Oregon. The rain washes the spray down into nearby streams and into a reservoir.
When Carol Van Strum collects the International David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award, it’s a well-deserved milestone for decades of work on the environment's behalf. A high note, to be sure, acknowledgment of the awareness she’s raised. Yet we also know the horrific tragedy she's endured to earn it. And after watching the powerful The People vs. Agent Orange (2020), I’d give anything to not know the depths of her scars, for this tireless crusader to have enjoyed an anonymous, carefree life.
Causes have a way of enlisting us,whether we want them to or not. Already a fighter, Van Strum was thrown by outside forces into a most personal struggle, as was Tran To Nga, a Vietnamese woman now living in France. Filmmakers Alan Adelson and Kate
Taverna (Lodz Ghetto, In Bed with Ulysses, Two Villages in Kosovo) follow
both from the moments their lives changed irrevocably into their twilights, where they seem to live as the stubborn last survivors of a deadly hell that's haunted consciences for a half-century. Despite attempts to quell their campaigns, they’ve persevered, human reminders of deadly misdeeds in a corruption rife with casualties.
Even worse, part of this story hits close to home: the Five Rivers area in our own Siuslaw National Forest, whose supervisor’s office is located in Corvallis. As a longtime Willamette Valley resident, I’m ashamed to be unaware of what transpired in our own backyard in 1975 and continues today, despite repeated efforts to end it forever.
I recall Agent Orange as the military aerial herbicide developed in the early 1960s and authorized by then-President John F. Kennedy for chemical warfare in South Vietnam. The devastating concoction of 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 2-4 Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid was used to destroy crops and eliminate forest protection for insurgents.
This undertaking, dubbed “Operation Ranch Hand,” lasted from roughly 1962 to 1971. That year Air Force scientist Dr. James Clary, who appears in Agent Orange, authored a report detailing its harmful effects on humans on either side of the conflict. And the multigenerational damage was only beginning. Although its employment was ceased by the government, 2,4,5-T returned to the States, where it was sprayed in forests allegedly, the documentary states, “remote from sustained human contact.”
Carol Van Strum with her rescued animals in Five Rivers.
Sadly, that wasn’t the case. California transplant Carol Van Strum had moved with her husband and four children to Five Rivers in 1974, attracted to its bucolic pace. Within a year the U.S. Forest Service began spitting chemicals across the populated wilderness. Her kids were affected as they played outside. Miscarriages, tumors, and birth defects erupted. In one of the doc’s more aggravating sequences — unsurprisingly, company reps appear only in archival footage — the late Dr. Cleve Goring of Dow Agricultural Research claims in 1979, “The attack is not scientific. It’s purely emotional. The public does not understand” and that 2,4,5-T is “about as toxic as aspirin.” (Also coming under fire: OSU School of Forestry emeritus professor Mike Newton and his claims that the spraying caused no harm. Newton is not interviewed in the documentary for reasons outlined in the interview below.)
Van Strum's story runs in conjunction with a pair of other threads. Agent Orange opens on 2015 cellphone video shot by Darryl Ivy as he drives into Douglas County's Swiftwater Park, where according to the film’s accompanying materials, he's servicing spray helicopters, coming into dangerously close proximity to the cocktail. We watch as he refills tanks with the stuff, often struggling to breathe in its presence. He winds up hospitalized, though he's forced to stand outdoors. "I am treated like a biological hazard," he observes.
We also meet Van Strum’s sister in the revolution, Tran To Nga, a resistance fighter exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Her first daughter succumbs to a heart defect at the age of 17 months. Her two other daughters lived but also suffer various issues, as do her grandchildren, the internal lingering effects of her exposure, now in its third generation. Tran launches a lawsuit against 26 multi-national companies, hoping to succeed where countless plaintiffs had either failed or agreed to settlements with the powerful firms, allowing monoliths to legally hide whatever havoc they’ve wreaked. Final pleadings are set to be entered next week (Jan. 25) by Tran’s squad of human rights attorney William Bourdon and associates Bertrand Repolt and Amélie Lefebvre.
FILM STILL: MILENA DONATO
Tran To Nga addresses the press outside the Tribunal de Grande Instance courthouse in Evry, France. In her lawsuit, now entering its seventh year, Madame Tran is the sole complainant against an original list of 26 American chemical manufacturers.
Peculiar occurrences have befallen evidence-gathering efforts over the years, from instances of alleged witness intimidation to the mysterious disappearance of carefully compiled surveys. These people have contended with the loss of untold lives. That they continue to fight, collecting acres of documentation, much of it hidden for decades, and writing books, remains nothing short of astonishing. Tran proves formidable as well. as she bravely faces a race against time — her own.
The People vs. Agent Orange is forced to end inconclusively, as the Tran suit remains ongoing. But what it compiles is an intriguing Exhibit A for contemplation, revived from near-obscurity as an outrage whose denouement, after nearly a half-century of slippery spin-and-dodge, is perhaps upon us at last. Stilled voices speak again. Are we listening?
The People vs. Agent Orange continues its virtual run at Corvallis’ Darkside Cinema through Jan. 28. Watch HERE. Please consult this page for future screenings. The film is also scheduled to air June 28 on PBS.
'I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Activism'
A Conversation with Alan Adelson & Kate Taverna
You know it’s winter when you interrupt your interview subject rescuing firewood from accumulated snow. But that’s life in the Catskill Mountains. And it’s nothing for Alan Adelson, who’s spent the last 40-plus years liberating stories from layers of purposely lain dust — maybe a padlock or two — as both a print journalist (you know he’s a pro because he instinctively spells proper names and outlines compounds with necessary punctuation while speaking) and as a filmmaker.
His written work has appeared in such publications as Esquire and The Wall Street Journal. He’s also used his Columbia School of Journalism-honed investigative skills in multiple acclaimed documentaries, including Lodz Ghetto (1988), Two Villages in Kosovo (2006), and In Bed with Ulysses (2016; perhaps the funniest film you’ll ever see about James Joyce and his modernist classic), all in league with his wife, filmmaker and editor Kate Taverna.
Their latest collaboration, The People vs. Agent Orange (2020), is an emotional triumph as both storytelling and activism, weaving multiple devastating stories into an unforgettable call for action. If it’s Adelson’s parting statement, he and Taverna have made it count. Its voice is loud, its message urgent. Audiences have responded to the film with thoughtful, proactive discussion — not bad for a documentary issued during a worldwide pandemic. Truthfully, the film transcends simple edifying entertainment; it’s a mindful reflection of who we’ve been and a plea to improve before it’s too late.
Earlier this week, Adelson and Taverna sat down with Mid Valley Noise for a conversation as powerful, informative, and passionate as their work.
— Cory Frye
This is your fourth collaboration. How does it work creatively?
ALAN ADELSON: It works creatively extremely well because as husband and wife, we can debate, dispute, and carry conflict further than most ordinary creative partners probably could tolerate. On a personal level, it can be really trying. If you’re working all day in the editing room, disputing emphasis, cuts, whatever the discretionary issues that come up in the filmmaking process may be, then imagine the control issues that any normal couple experiences amplified many times over by those creative disputes. So, the film is more or less rarified through conflict, but we really have to learn how to deal with the related personal issues.
Kate is an absolute ace film editor. She has edited more than 50 films. By her own declaration, because of the multiple narrative strands and multiple characters involved in this film, this was the hardest she’s ever had to deal with it.
KATE TAVERNA: [Our creative partnership] is pretty dynamic. We used to have set assignments. Alan was involved in the writing and the context, and I’d be involved with the structure, the picture, the visuals, sound, and all the other things. Then it gets overlapped and we’re both concerned with those issues.
I was going to ask you about the structure of this documentary, because obviously, it’s not told chronologically; it jumps back and forth between distant past, recent past, and the present. How did you agree on that structure, to tell all these stories concurrently?
KT: We didn’t want to make it look like this was just a historical problem. I wanted to infuse the notion that it was still happening in the present, because most people think it’s an old nut: “Agent Orange happened a long time ago; why are we watching this?” So just to keep it out of the realm of chronology and try to get as many chronological hits and milestones for people to be able to follow it — did you have any difficulty following it?
No, none at all.
KT: I’m happy to hear that, because it was a struggle to figure that out and keep people as informed and tuned in to where they were in time while they were watching.
So, bringing in the man who’s only in the film a few times — our whistleblower, Darryl Ivy — who shot the spraying process on his cellphone was a way of — you’re watching it happen now, immediately. Then, bingo, you’re back in 1975 and Carol [Van Strum] is being sprayed, and then it’s 1966. You realize this has been going on for 50 years. It was taking a chance, but I think the audience manages to follow it.
AA: It was electrifying and exciting to find those cellphone videos from Darryl Ivy and to be granted permission so generously by him to make use of them. Because it’s going on now. He shot the footage a few years ago , but helicopters are still spraying the balded hillsides of coastal Oregon.
It’s very interesting how in the course of his videos you can begin to intuit the crisis of conscience he’s experiencing. In the beginning, he’s kind of blasé, although there’s a self-consciousness to it when he says, “We’re going to go up there and spray.” He’s very glib, but he’s aware even from the start that there’s a danger involved.
As it goes on — he only did that work for 17 days — he's starting to get sick. His skin is breaking out. He’s getting sprayed and soaked, and he doesn't like it. He’s coughing, and he tells us that he’s having difficulty breathing. Then, in the final scene, he shows us how his skin is broken up —
KT: He’s spitting up blood.
AA: — probably chloracne, the first sign of dioxin contamination, which he experienced.
KT: It's no longer anecdotal: people telling us these were their symptoms, this is what their kids are going through, or what they themselves experienced. We were seeing someone firsthand going through it in the present, while they were talking about their experiences in the past.
And you’re watching it develop in real time.
KT: Yes, exactly.
How were you made aware of him?
KT: I actually Googled something when I was looking for someone in the present dealing with the situation in Oregon, and it led me to an Oregonian article about this man who had video clips he shot with his phone. I said, “Alan, I think you have to chase this guy down, see if we can get him.”
AA: It took a while. Rob Davis, the Oregonian reporter who does a lot of herbicide reporting, had originally received Darryl’s emails and communications. But Rob was understandably protective of Darryl and was not answering my emails. Ultimately, the publisher helped us contact Rob. Rob gave me Darryl’s email address, and within 15 minutes of my email, I had Darryl on the phone. He was totally eager to share his experience and spread the word. He’s become something of a missionary now, advocating against toxic substances. He even wants to write a book guiding people on how to eat without endangering themselves with toxins.
Do you know how he’s doing now, health-wise?
AA: He’s a total health fanatic. He says he’s in great shape. He goes to the gym almost every day. He’s built like the proverbial brick shithouse. He says his body is his temple. I think an inclination in that direction existed in him before the crisis in his health that resulted from those 17 days loading a helicopter with herbicides. It took him several years to regain his health. I only hope that the long-term diseases that can result from toxic exposure, like cancers, are not lying in wait for him. He knows full well how bad it can be.
Even at the end of his work in those 17 days with the helicopter company, he had begun becoming familiar with the anti-herbicide movement and had attended a meeting of no-spray activists. I don’t think he had committed himself to working with them in any way, but I think he was starting to get religion, so to speak.
You’ve also been a print journalist. Was film work always part of your attack, or is that more recent?
AA: That’s been an interesting duality. I went to Columbia Journalism School after a couple of years doing small-newspaper work and working for the Newsweek bureau in San Francisco. Then I came back east to go to journalism graduate school at Columbia [Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism]. Midyear, I opted to specialize in documentaries. A guy who was rather famous then, Fred Friendly, who’d been the president of CBS News — I'm not sure whether he had resigned or been forced out, because he insisted on covering the [1966-1971] Fulbright hearings about the Vietnam War live, taking CBS’ airtime down, so he left CBS after a celebrated career — had come to Columbia. His first year was my first year, so I got to learn documentary-making on an initial level from him.
Coming out of there and applying for jobs, I was offered a reporting slot on The Wall Street Journal. That was hard to beat, although my interest still remained in documentaries. So I did several years at The Wall Street Journal. In the 1970s I wore work boots into work whereas my colleagues had wingtip shoes. My bureau chief told me, “You can’t wear those boots to work.” I would say, “Why not? They’re work boots.” Social conflict, even on a daily engagement level.
But when The New York Times featured, as a Sunday magazine piece [July 29, 1984], excerpts from the official chronicle kept in Poland’s Lodz ghetto, the most richly documented daily history of community life under Nazi oversight — it was a Jewish slave camp, where hundreds of thousands of Jews were worked as slaves producing the emissions for the Germans — I realized those materials might be a documentary film. That became the first film Kate and I made together..
I’ve pretty much been stuck in documentaries ever since. Happily stuck.
How did you encounter this clutch of stories?
AA: Typical reportage. The process in Oregon ensued from Carol Van Strum. Awareness of Carol’s story came in, really, the most mundane way: through a Google alert. She was featured in a [July 26, 2017] article that ran in The Intercept, the investigative journalistic publication. Hearing that Carol had been leading the movement in Oregon against aerial spraying gave us that contemporary and domestic element that we did not have with Madame Tran and the Vietnam side, which I had already thoroughly reported. I spent several years investigating who knew what and when, digging into correspondence, internal correspondence among the chemical companies.
My family moved to the Oregon in 1979. I must admit with some embarrassment that I was unfamiliar with these local tragedies; I call myself a student of history, yet these events took place in my own lifetime and I was totally unaware of them. I saw that you referred to newspaper articles in the documentary. How prominently was this covered in the 1970s and ’80s?
AA: I think it was pretty regular news then, but you shouldn’t be too self-critical. We have people who are saying in response to the documentary and its publicity that they’ve been living in Oregon for more than a decade and were utterly unaware of the controversy, even as they see the helicopters spraying hillsides in their own communities.
Local folks recorded a talk-back to the film; it’s posted on the Darkside Cinema website. People involved in that discussion have been actively fighting against herbicides, but there was one woman in that group who'd been a Navy commander, Leah Bolger, who didn’t know, although she’s been living in Corvallis for 10 years. She didn’t know about it until word of the film reached her. Many, many people are unaware of it. If they’re aware at all, they’re unaware of its dangers.
You had this Lincoln County Community Rights group that is mentioned in the film — not extensively; I regret that we didn’t give it more attention. They undertook a ballot initiative to ban the aerial spraying of herbicides in Lincoln County. They won by only a few votes after a very hard-fought campaign. They won it, and it remained in effect for 27 months, until state law was successfully invoked in appeal and the ban was overturned in a dynamic called pre-emption, which is happening all over the country and has environmental groups banging their heads on the proverbial wall. The power structure in the United States is such that laws governing the environment are vested at the state and federal levels, and lobbying at the state and federal levels has succeeded in preventing community initiatives.
Carol Van Strum has a motto, quoted on the film’s poster: “We have the right to protect ourselves from being poisoned.” But, in fact, while people may insist that it is their right, the courts are denying that right, instead investing that right in state legislatures and in the federal Environment Protection Agency. As Carol Van Strum asserts so adamantly in the film, if corporations have the same rights as individuals, then corporations should face capital punishment the same way individuals can. And she means that, absolutely. Carol believes those corporations should be put to death. They should not be allowed to continue to exist.
I don’t know exactly how I feel about that. There are legal dynamics that if you look very deeply into might ramify in ways that warrant further consideration. But I do believe that enormous punishments would succeed in inhibiting the conscious production and sale of such products. To see those products remaining on the market — there was a tremendous movement in the coast range to stop the use of 2,4-D, which is half of Agent Orange and is the half that remained on the market until today.
One of the people who saw the film recently sent us a photograph of herself and three of her schoolkid friends holding signs that read “Ban the use of 2,4-D.” Those photographs were taken in the ’70s and ’80s. They were fighting 2,4-D all the way back then. And 2,4-D does have dioxin in it — not the same dioxin as 2,4,5-T, which was taken off the market, but it’s half of Agent Orange. Its dangers remain very, very possible.
The environment and chemical companies were hot-button issues among certain factions at the time. How was it regarded by the populace at large?
AA: I would say it was largely ignored. What really came to broad public awareness was the fact that U.S. veterans of the Vietnam War were getting sick. At the time it was the largest class-action lawsuit in history. Literally hundreds of thousands of U.S. veterans sued the chemical companies. There was a $180 million settlement that the chemical companies made with the veterans. That may seem like a lot of money, but it turned out not to be. So many veterans got sick that they got maybe only a few thousand dollars apiece as a result of the settlement pushed through in the Southern District Court in New York.
But the lawsuit hung on for years and got a good bit of publicity. People never thought that those same diseases could be propagated, were being propagated, by chemicals that had been banned from use in the Vietnam War. Yet they were being brought home for use in agriculture here. That story remained to be told and was a primary motive for us in making the film.
A woman who had volunteered in an orphanage for deformed and diseased Agent Orange orphans in Vietnam asked me to do a documentary about those children. I resisted. I thought, “It’s an old story in a world with new problems.”
But when she put her cellphone in front of me and showed me these kids with heads blown up from water on their brains, a condition called hydrocephalia; withered limbs; totally dysfunctional arms and legs that come to club ends without fingers or toes; painfully deformed and disabled children, I thought, even as I resisted the idea of embarking on such a film — because it’s taken me 10 years and these films are hard; they’ll suck your life away — “If these poor human beings were the result of conscious decisions made by corporations to make money — and it could be shown that they knew the damage that could be done — this film would be a cautionary tale society needs to hear and see.”
While expressing resistance to this young woman, who became an associate producer and helped us start the film, even the initial efforts that investigation laid bare — correspondence among the chemical companies and internal correspondence in these companies’ archives, which people like Carol Van Strum and others have found, documents that were acquired through the discovery process of the American Vietnam war veterans’ lawsuit — the fact that the chemical companies knew full well about the presence of dioxins and attempted to cover it up rather than take the product off the market. So here we are, 10 years later, still railing about it and railing through the film about it.
One of the figures who appears a number of times in the film is [emeritus Oregon State University professor] Michael Newton, who is still alive. Did you reach out to him or to any of the chemical companies or forest agencies for comment?
AA: Yes, we did. I had several conversations with Michael Newton on the phone and he made a date with me to film an interview, but his family intervened. His daughter said that he was not in sufficient physical health to be interviewed. I did reach out to the chemical companies. I did have some fact-checking from Dow Chemical and Monsanto. Otherwise, they declined to comment.
I have to say that when Carol Van Strum received that award near the end, I felt conflicted: proud for her achievement, yet awful for all she’d endured personally to reach that point. How did she strike you as a subject?
AA: I’m so grateful you asked that question. She is one of the most wonderful and inspiring human beings we have ever had the privilege of knowing and working with after decades of filmmaking. We’ve had extensive interviews and relationships with sources in films, sources who'd experienced the most profound losses, people whose families were wiped out in the Holocaust, people whose children were machine-gunned in Kosovo. I have never been exposed to a person like Carol, who has turned tragedy into constructive effort and who conveys a most positive human spirit, who loves humor, who laughs contagiously.
I understand, Cory, how that scene when she got the award plays on your emotions that way. It does evoke the tragedy that Carol weathered. She comes to tears in saying, “It wasn’t just me.” It was about other people, many who are not with us. Dear friends who contracted cancer and died are present in the film as well. When she acknowledges them in that tearful moment, when she has otherwise suppressed or avoided experiencing such tragedy, you really feel it.
Yeah, it’s nice to see her being acknowledged, and she wrote a wonderful book, A Bitter Fog [full title: A Bitter Fog: Hebicides and Human Rights], which hopefully could get a boost out of that David Brower award. But the loss is irreparable. I can only experience Carol’s goodwill and disposition with awe.
I was thinking about this this morning: the core of this film, its strength, are these two incredibly intelligent, talented, well-spoken women on two different continents with two different stories, yet with one central similarity: they’re both proven fighters already when they’re forced to embark on the fights of their lives.
AA: Yes, that’s very true. I would just add, very briefly, that because of that, they become models for young people and environmental activists now. I think that’s why Carol got the David Brower award. I think that’s what the young lawyers-to-be at the University of Oregon law school wanted to happen. I think that’s why they held Carol up as a model.
How is it touring and promoting a film during the pandemic?
AA: Disorienting and enabling, a brand-new learning experience. This whole phenomenon of virtual screenings has enabled theaters to book many more films than they would otherwise, if actual screen time in their auditoriums was necessary. Because of the opening-up of virtual cinema, a theater which is not a multiplex, a small community theater, can still offer 10 titles at a time. So, to our amazement and gratification, we’re finding theaters all over the country that want to show the film. And that’s, of course, very empowering.
We opened in Corvallis, and there’s a statement on the website and on the Darkside Cinema website that we wanted to preview the film in Corvallis as a way of “bringing it home to its origins.” We’re really glad to have done that, in part because these super people in Oregon are loving the film so much that they’re kicking in with their activism to help build an audience for it. We’ve been logging good numbers through the Darkside’s virtual offering.
Starting March 5, theaters all over the country will follow suit. We’ll be offering it virtually as well. In New York City, at one of the finest cinemas in Manhattan, right across from Lincoln Center, we’ll be sponsoring a virtual run. The Laemmle theaters in L.A. will be showing it through their virtual screening format. Portland, Oregon, will be coming up in March. Dayton, Ohio. Boston. Washington. San Francisco. Hopefully Berkeley. The list will continue. It’s growing, going off like popcorn, which is absolutely delightful.
The fact that people are not gathering physically to see it or converse about it, to not be able to show It to film festival audiences — those are the depriving aspects of the pandemic. But people are coping and learning alternative ways, so we’re getting correspondence from people who are doing things like sending photographs of themselves when they were 8 years old, holding “No Spray” signs in the coast range of Oregon and saying how inspired they were by the film. “Look, we were doing this back then and it’s still going on now. What can we do to help?” What goes around comes around, I guess.
Despite the pandemic we are pleased to be able to have an audience and even to hear from that audience, though not face-to-face.
At the end of June [June 28], the film will kind-of hit its peak with a full-length PBS broadcast on its documentary series, Independent Lens. There will be a whole series of community-based, organizationally sponsored screenings that should be live, we hope, by then and folks have gotten the vaccine. We’ll be able to gather and talk about how the sponsoring organizations and communities can benefit from sharing the film and the examples and inspiration of these two women.
So it’s new and very, very different. The pandemic is an enormous tragedy, the scope of which we probably will not come to grips with for many years to come. Even the father of our commissioning editor in France — the film was commissioned in part by Arte, the French and German public broadcasting network — died of COVID in March. He was a lawyer in New York City and got hit with it in the early wave when people didn’t know how to treat it and didn’t know how to protect themselves from it, either.
Still, to see the tens of thousands of people who are sick with it and dying now is deeply, deeply troubling and is prepossessing people to the extent that giving their attention to Agent Orange at this time might seem like a diversion. The pandemic is the most important thing that faces us.
How did your perception of the subject change from production to completion?
AA: It’s tricky to describe the deepening of understanding as change. I was more judgmental in the early years and more easily outraged. My reactions have mellowed to the point where good intentions and ambition to spread the word and to warn the population have replaced anger.
I’m deeply skeptical about the corporations, still. I doubt their goodwill. I fear their initiatives. I’m really uptight about toxicity. I believe deeply in paying the extra price to eat organically to the extent that I am able. I wish I could feed myself and wife exclusively organically.
I have learned to respect the power of activism much more than I was aware of early on. I believe that change is possible. I know how difficult it is. I know that the capitalist motivation will prevent the redistribution of power as much as it can. But I don’t see any other way for humankind to continue to exist. Those corporate giants, their executives, their executives’ children and grandchildren are all going to have to breathe the same air and eat the same food and drink the same water, and they are not going to be able to survive without allowing change.
I also think there are real profit potentials in acknowledging the need for change and accomplishing it. So, while it probably involves a major redirection of the marketplace, I don’t think you have to end capitalism entirely in order to be safe. But I would really like to inhibit the ruthlessness of capitalism as much as we can.
Final pleadings in Madame Tran’s lawsuit are expected to be heard Monday. What do you think of its chances? Have we changed enough as a world to turn the tide?
AA: We are on tenterhooks awaiting that judgment, which will probably come down after all these years within a month or two. There have been signs that corporate influence has been brought to bear in Madame Tran’s lawsuit. The corporations have succeeded in stalling for many years. As she herself says, they were waiting for her to die. If she died, the case would die with her. That’s the way that French law and most Western law works. You need a living plaintiff to bring a case.
But maybe the humane aspects of French society will enable her to prevail. If she does, it will send a shockwave around the world and will have a profound effect on how chemicals are marketed. If she wins, the world will be warned once again not to believe false assurances that chemicals are safe and to be as vigilant as they possibly can be to protect themselves. Let’s talk in a month.
Do you have any other projects in development? What’s next?
AA: No more projects in development. I am 77 years old. My grandson interviewed me a couple of years ago. He had a list of questions that ended with the very same one you just asked. I told him, “This film has taken me 8 years, and I’m 75 years old. I don’t think I have time for another one.”
What I do hope is that I will have the good fortune and ability to build the audience for this film as much as I can, and that I can share whatever expertise I have with younger filmmakers, possibly filmmakers working on environmental and investigative films, and that I can help lend my credentials and experience to helping them bring their projects to fruition.
That brings me back to Kate. She’s younger, and as a filmmaker, might very well entertain new projects. What do you think, Kate?
KT: I’d like to go back to cultural documentaries, art films (laughs), music. That part. That kind of project.
AA: You’ve got the whole kitchen sink now, Cory.