Troubled Water

A Documentary by Will Parrinello

FranciscoBodyguards (2)In 2002 Canadian mining corporation Pacific Rim began exploration of the El Dorado gold mine in El Salvador. When farmer Francisco Pineda vowed to protect his region’s fragile water resources from the devastating impacts of mining, it was the beginning of a major battle in his community that divided neighbors, led to multiple assassinations and pitted the mining company against El Salvador in a showdown in the World Bank court.

Stylistically, Troubled Water is a traditional documentary with a classic three-act dramatic structure. The story opens with Pacific Rim’s early mining activity and the rise of the anti-mining movement. We follow with Francisco’s successful struggle to ban metallic mining in El Salvador and the toll it takes on his family and his community when four anti-mining activists are murdered. Francisco’s wife Ana tells of the price their family has paid for his activism.

The film culminates in El Salvador’s successful legal battle in the World Bank tribunal. The David vs Goliath struggle of a small developing nation winning over a multinational mining corporation is a rarity in the court. We have been following this story for 7 years and were given a beautiful coda to our film when El Salvador’s legislative assembly voted in March 2017 to ban all metallic mining.
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The characters of this multifaceted conflict tell their story in a naturalistic, non-stylized manner. Much of the film has been shot with a hand-held camera. Archival news footage, still photographs and newspaper headlines will depict key historical moments in the story.

Troubled Waters‘ funders include National Geographic’s All Roads Program, the Goldman Environmental Fund, Silicon Valley Foundation, Nu Lambda Trust, Fleishhacker Foundation, My Hero Project, Pathfinder Fund and a long list of individual donors.

Producer / Director Will Parrinello has been making award-winning documentaries for nearly three decades. For the past 15 years he’s been co-producing and co-directing The New Environmentalists, an Emmy Award winning series that profiles grassroots activists around the world. His other credits include Mustang – Journey of Transformation, Emile Norman – By His Own Design, Dreaming of Tibet, The New Environmentalists, Sea Change and Kerouac.

Producer Rick Tejada-Flores is an award-winning pioneer of Latino cinema. He has more than 40 years of experience in the industry with dozens of award winning films to his credit, including Rivera In America and Orozco, Man of Fire, on the PBS American Masters series; The Fight in The Fields – Cesar Chavez The Farm workers Struggle; and his latest film, My Bolivia – Remembering What I Never Knew, an intimate investigation into his family’s Bolivian roots.

Director of Photography/Consulting Producer Vicente Franco made the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winning film Daughter from Danang. It was an Oscar nominee for Best Feature Documentary and was broadcast on the PBS American Experience series. Vicente is a Peabody Award winning cinematographer whose credits include the Academy Award nominated feature documentary The Most Dangerous Man in American – Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Race is the Place and The Fight in the Fields.

 Writer Sarah Kass has written extensively on human rights and environmental issues, including 45 short films on civil liberties, migrant workers, women’s rights, and aboriginal people’s rights for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. She has worked with Will Parrinello on numerous projects including the award winning independent film Mustang – Journey of Transformation. Among Sarah’s other credits are the Discovery Channel’s landmark seven-hour natural history series North America.

Editor Ibon Olaskoaga graduated from San Sebastian’s School of Cinema. Ibon has edited more than a dozen award-winning documentaries, notably, Bucharest, Lost Memory, winner of the prestigious Goya Award from the Spanish National Film Academy and the Gaudi Award from the Catalan Film and Arts Academy. His work on the film PAX Americana earned him Best Documentary Award at the Whistler Film Festival and screenings at IDFA, Thessaloniki and the London Documentary Film Fest.