For 170 years, a Native American community has occupied Isle de Jean Charles, a tiny island deep in the bayous of south Louisiana. They have fished, hunted, and lived off the land. Now the land that has sustained them for generations is vanishing before their eyes. A host of environmental problems -coastal erosion, lack of soil renewal, oil company and government canals, and sea level rise -are overwhelming the island. Over the last fifty years, Isle de Jean Charles has been gradually shrinking, and it is now almost gone. On the heels of this tragedy has now come another: the BP oil spill, which left millions of gallons of oil in the waters surrounding the island, halting the livelihoods of many islanders, who work as fishermen, shrimpers, and oystermen. Those who vowed to stay on the island until it completely washed away now face an even more uncertain future.
For these Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians, their land is more than simply a place to live. It is the epicenter of their people and traditions. It is where, for eight generations, their ancestors cultivated a unique part of Louisiana culture. Our film tells their story.
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
Can’t Stop The Water is co-directed by Rebecca Marshall Ferris and Jason Ferris.
Rebecca Marshall Ferris began her career with the renowned documentary film company Pennebaker Hegedus Films, serving as associate producer on their films Down From The Mountain, Startup.com, Only The Strong Survive, andElaine Stritch at Liberty. In 2004, she produced the program Fox vs Franken for the Sundance Channel’s series on the First Amendment and in 2005 produced the feature documentary Al Franken: God Spoke. Born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Rebecca received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City. Her thesis film, Jonah and the Wail, about jazz trumpeter, Jonah Jones, was awarded an Independent Feature Project Market Award and was broadcast on the Independent Film Channel. In 2011, her first feature documentary, Miller’s Tale (about actor and playwright Jason Miller), aired nationwide on PBS.
Jason Ferris grew up on a farm in Mississippi and also has family roots in New Orleans. After studying filmmaking at Davidson College, Jason moved to New York to work for PBS. His credits there include work on documentaries about Sigmund Freud and Robert Capa, along with three seasons at the international documentary series, Wide Angle. In 2004, Jason entered Union Theological Seminary (NYC), where he earned a Master of Divinity and received the Maxwell Fellowship in recognition of his short films exploring religious topics. In 2009, he added a Master of Social Work from Tulane. Throughout his graduate studies, Jason worked as a freelance camera operator on documentaries. He served as the executive producer and cinematographer on Miller’s Tale. Jason currently serves as the pastor of the Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA.