The important documentary RiverBlue: Can Fashion Save the Planet? Premieres at the New Jersey Film Festival on Sunday, February 12, 2017!
Here is my interview with RiverBlue Co-Director Roger Williams:
Nigrin: Your film RiverBlue: Can Fashion Save the Planet? follows Mark Angelo, an advocate for the world’s rivers, as he journeys through pristine and polluted waterways, to expose a deeply disturbing, and unknown, side of the fashion industry. Please tell us more about your film and why you made it.
Williams: From the onset of RiverBlue we really hoped the film would be a positive agent for change. We knew we wanted to make a film to bring the message of river and water conservation to a larger audience. David McIlvride, our writer and co-director, found an image from Google earth of a river that had one section that was bright indigo blue, and when he did the research to find out why, he learned that that denim and textile factories along the river bank had been dumping their toxic chemical waste into the river. This became the base of our story.
Nigrin: Your film features both stunning and shocking images and your film is a call to action. What can people do to help make the world's river healthier an hold the fashion industry accountable? Is this discussed in your film?
Williams: We can all start to ask our fashion brands where and how our clothes are made. There are certification systems in place now, one called Bluesign amongst others, that require brands to meet a certain level of environmental and social standards to be able to receive certification. We can look for approved clothing. We can also support the brands that are taking steps in the right direction to produce fashion in a sustainable way. We have created a RiverBlue sister site to support organizations, people and brands in sustainable fashion. The site is www.yourchoice-yourvoice.com.
On this site we have also listed various ways people can help support and hold the fashion industry accountable for how they produce their clothes. Writing letters to CEO's, sharing what you find through social media, All of us, the consumers, have power with our buying dollar; if we choose to buy sustainably made products and not the others, the fashion industry will start to listen.
Nigrin: How were you able to connect with Mark Angelo?
Williams: Mark and I worked together on a water special for Global Television here in Vancouver, Canada in the past. I have a production services and rental company in Vancouver, and Mark had contacted me with the idea for a river themed special for World Water Day. Many people call our office with great ideas, but Mark took my advice on how to make a production happen and came back to me with all of the right pieces in place for us to move forward to film together. It was after filming the special that I realized that I wanted to continue my work in stories on water conservation and started developing the story that became RiverBlue.
Nigrin: Are there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you can rely to our readers?
Williams: There are many! It's hard to know where to start. We filmed in about 23 locations in a time span of three years. Getting into a lot of the places we visited was a challenge, and each country had it's own set of challenges as well. Some of the places we went to, like India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and China, we hired a 'fixer' someone with local knowledge, to help us. In one location in Dhaka, Bangladesh, our fixer made it clear to us that if he gave us a signal to wrap up our equipment and go, we were to do just that immediately. And that happened. We noticed that we were being followed by a few motorcyclists one afternoon. Our fixer gave us the look and the hand wave, and we got out of there. On a lighter note, while setting up for an interview in India one day we had a herd of water buffalo run straight through the shot, giving Mark Angelo quite the scare! We had a good laugh about it afterward. The thing is when you are traveling to places like we did for RiverBlue, there are bound to be many surprises. Perhaps the most striking and saddening surprise was the extent of the pollution in the tanneries and along the river banks. The air was so toxic it was burning our eyes, the chemical smell was overwhelming and it was heart breaking to see adults and children bathe in this effluent.
Check out this behind the scenes video which gives more info from the filmmakers about filming and the goals of RiverBlue: http://riverbluethemovie.com/bts/
Here is the trailer for RiverBlue:
River Blue will be preceded by Dan Natale’s great documentary Bad Tidings. Here is more info on this screening:
Bad Tidings - Daniel Natale (Red Bank, New Jersey)
What would you do if your town was sinking? This timely documentary is set in Sea Bright, a New Jersey town that faces the grim reality of climate change. After being devastated by Hurricane Sandy, the townspeople of Sea Bright must now deal with a future of rising sea levels: climate models predict that their homes will be under water in the next 50 years. 2016; 49 min. With an introduction and Q+A session by Director Daniel Natale!
River Blue: Can Fashion Save the Planet?- David McIlvride and Roger Williams (Vancouver, Canada)
With images that are both stunning and shocking, RiverBlue is a call to action, to manufacture our clothing in more sustainable ways. The filmmakers follow Mark Angelo, an advocate for the world’s rivers, as he journeys through pristine and polluted waterways, to expose a deeply disturbing, and unknown, side of the fashion industry. Harsh chemical dyes, and the irresponsible disposal of toxic chemical waste, in the manufacturing of our clothing, are destroying rivers world-wide. 2016; 90 min. With an introduction and Q+A session by Director Roger Williams! Co-sponsored by the Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) General Honors Program!
Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University
71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey
$12=General; $10=Students+Seniors; $9=Rutgers Film Co-op Friends
Information: (848) 932-8482; www.njfilmfest.com
Jimmy John’s of New Brunswick will be providing free food prior to all New Jersey Film Festival Screenings!