Grades 10-12, College, Adults
Directed by Francine Strickwerda and Laurel Spellman Smith
DVD Purchase $295, Rent $95
US Release Date: 2014
Copyright Date: 2014
DVD ISBN: 1-94154-516-5
Forests and Rainforests
Latin American Studies
Awards and Festivals
Selected for Brown University Freshmen First Readings, 2014
Audience Award & Jury Award for Best Documentary, Northampton International Film Festival
Green Planet Award and Audience Award for Best Documentary, Rhode Island International Film Festival
South Arts Southern Circuit
Seattle International Film Festival
Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival
Rio International Film Festival
Hollywood Film Festival
Bahamas International Film Festival
Northampton International Film Festival
Social Justice Film Festival
Global Peace Film Festival
Orcas Island Film Festival
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
San Luis Obispo International Film Fesival
Sonoma International Film Festival
Maryland International Film Festival
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival
Haida Gwaii Film Festival
Princeton Environmental Film Festival
Ecologos Water Docs Film Festival
SAFILM-San Antonio Film Festival
San Francisco Green Film Festival
United Nations Association Film Festival
Marda Loop Justice Film Festival
Greenbuild Film Festival
Borneo Eco Film Festival
Science Books and Films Best Films List 2017
Oil & Water|
Two boys come of age looking for solutions to the global problem of reckless oil drilling following years of oil contamination in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
[Note: Community screenings of OIL & WATER can be booked at Bullfrog Communities.]
Note: There are two versions of this program on the same DVD: 78-minute theatrical and 55-minute classroom.
OIL & WATER is the coming of age story of two boys as they each confront one of the world's worst toxic disasters, the prolonged contamination of the Ecuadorian Amazon by Texaco and other oil companies. Hugo comes to America to fight for the survival of his tribe, the Cofán, while David goes to Ecuador to launch the world's first company to certify oil as "fair trade." Can Hugo become the leader his tribe so desperately wants him to be? Will David clean up one of the world's dirtiest industries?
This film is an intimate portrait of two young people finding their voices and trying to beat incredible odds. Their journeys lead them to explore what could be a more just future, not just for the people of the Amazon, but for all people around the world born with oil beneath their feet. Eight years in the making OIL & WATER is a shocking and inspiring David and Goliath story.
"An important film--it puts a human face on the very real and severe consequences of our thirst for oil. Yet it also gives viewers hope in the way it shows how two young adults can make meaningful changes to the world around them."
Dr. Benjamin Sovacool, Director of Danish Center for Energy Technology, AU-Herning, Associate Professor of Law, Founding Director of the Energy Security and Justice Program, Vermont Law School, Author, Energy and Ethics: Justice and the Global Energy Challenge
"Give[s] viewers hope that the next generation will help atone for the last...This inspiring eco-activist true tale is highly recommended."
C. Cassady, Video Librarian
"I don't know if one person can change the world, but perhaps two people can, and if so, Hugo Lucitante and David Poritz are the two...The world needs more people like Hugo and David, who straddle worlds with knowledge and dignity, and it needs them fast...Level/use: Suitable for high school classes and college courses in cultural anthropology, development anthropology, anthropology of oil, economic anthropology, anthropology of indigenous survival/threatened cultures, and South American studies, as well as for general audiences."
Jack David Eller, Anthropology Reviews Database
"Oil and Water offers no easy solutions to the problems of oil contamination and the presence of the oil industry in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Instead, this documentary searches for answers through the lives, pressures and actions of two young men, who are growing up with a heavy burden of decision: to negotiate, to regulate or to resist the oil companies. Watch it, and ask yourself: how could I resolve the ongoing injuries of oil? Then remember that these two young men are working and studying to be the leaders that they want to be--in order to solve the harms of an industry, or ills that were not created by them and in many cases that predate them."
Patricia Widener, Associate Professor of Sociology, Florida Atlantic University, Author, Oil Injustice: Resisting and Conceding a Pipeline in Ecuador
"Oil and Water immerses the viewer in the at once captivating and complex experiences of society and oil in one of the world's most biodiverse places on the planet, the Ecuadorian Amazon. Unlike other analyses on the topic, this film does not demonize or simplify the oil industry or indigenous peoples. Rather, it brings the very human connections we all have to each other and to the planet, including with petroleum resources, to the forefront and presents hopeful global and local solutions to pathways beyond fossil fuels. Students, educators, policymakers, and industry experts will not only learn from this film, but will hopefully be inspired by it to create real change."
Dr. Pamela Martin, Professor of Politics, Director of Model United Nations Program, Coastal Carolina University, Author, Oil in the Soil: The Politics of Paying to Preserve the Amazon
"Great film...arresting...Oil and Water is the most complete portrait of how societies might move beyond 'the oil curse' to use resources from crude development to benefit the local communities from which it is found. Or, possibly, as a launching point to standardize and regulate best practices in the entire industry...It is a story of recovery but also of the need for aggressive assistance and understanding. Oil and Water puts a very human face on the ground-level of the extraction that is fueled by distant consumers."
Dr. Brian Black, Professor, History and Environmental Studies, Penn State Altoona, Author, Crude Reality: Petroleum in World History
"This a moving and thought-provoking story that opens up avenues of hope in a challenging reality."
Patricia I. Vasquez, Independent Consultant on Extractive Industries and Conflicts, Author, Oil Sparks in the Amazon: Local Conflicts, Indigenous Populations, and Natural Resources
"This film offers a compelling narrative of the unique social, cultural, and activism experiments of two young men whose political commitments are entangled with the complex and dangerous system of oil production in Ecuador...[This is] a sophisticated argument about why such struggles matter and why their stories should be shared. In the words of David Poritz, the experiments of the Cofán and Equitable Origins have been launched to address a very real issue: the 'indirect genocide' of oil. The question is no longer whether it is possible to talk about sustainable oil; the question is how to make it a reality."
Gabriela Valdivia, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
"Oil and Water reveals the social and ecological trauma of our global fossil fuel culture and how it shapes the lives of an indigenous population in Ecuador. The film also demonstrates the collaborative, visionary creativity that can also emerge from that space of pain, urgency, and love for humanity and our life support systems. I have followed the struggle of the Cofan people for decades and just when I thought all hope was lost, this film gives me reason for renewing my conviction in the power of struggle, the power of the people hit hardest by environmental injustice - and their allies - to imagine and forge new possibilities."
David Naguib Pellow, Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota, Author, Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice
"Oil and Water is a masterful depiction of the intractable dilemmas and irresolvable contradictions that haunt the lives of those entangled by oil extraction in the Ecuadorian Amazon and beyond. This film undauntedly delves into the challenges posed by our hydrocarbon times and boldly raises more questions than it answers. It promises to be an incisive tool for generating critical discussion on the politics of petroleum."
Suzana Sawyer, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California at Davis, Author, Crude Chronicles: Indigenous Politics, Multinational Oil, and Neoliberalism in Ecuador
"Exquisitely edited...Both young men are focused, diligent, goal-oriented, and committed to their cause of saving the environment, and the film's mode of presentation renders it possible for viewers to perceive and appreciate these qualities...Classes across the curriculum can utilize this film to study geography, the consequences of oil drilling, cultural anthropology, and the topic of environmental racism."
Patricia Ann Owens, School Library Journal
"It's a tale of crusaders but of crusaders sometimes in conflict; Poritz and Lucitante are both committed to helping Ecuador's rain forests and indigenous tribes, but at times they disagree about the best way to do that...Lucitante wanted battle. Poritz favored collaboration. But Poritz says both strategies are pieces of the same puzzle."
Sacha Pfeiffer and Kathleen McNerney, Radio Boston
"A powerful and appealing documentary film...The connection between Hugo and David takes the documentary into a personal life that is fascinating in its portrayal of the Cofan culture and environment."
Floyd McKay, Crosscut
"If one ever needed proof that the universe has a hand in shaping our life's path, it can be found in the documentary film Oil and Water...Riveting."
The Midwest Book Review
"Recommended...Audiences are recommended to follow their journeys first hand through the camera lens and to learn more about the major environmental insults of the oil contaminations, the voices of peoples living in the highly polluted areas, and the effectiveness of the potential solutions that David and Hugo have tried to find."
Irina Stanishevskaya, Educational Media Reviews Online
"Highly Recommended...Much more than courtroom and lawsuits, Oil and Water sees this ecological crisis through the experiences of personal human dramas."
William E. Roweton, Science Books and