the woods and wetlands of northwestern Canada lie roughly two trillion
barrels of oil, fifteen percent of the world's known reserves and six
times more than what's left in Saudi Arabia. This documentary
film follows the journey of Warren Cariou, a writer from northern
Saskatchewan, who learns that the oil companies from Alberta are
expanding into his homeland.
Warren returns home, to the Cree and Dene community of La Loche
and to the nearby Métis village of Buffalo Narrows, to talk to people
about what they hope the development will bring, and about their fears.
He then travels across the border to Alberta and speaks to the people
there who have lived with the oil sands development for more than
The Alberta oilfields are also the homeland of two small
aboriginal communities, Fort Mackay and Fort Chipewyan, which lie along
the Athabasca River. Warren learns of their struggle to preserve
their traditional way of life in the midst of the largest and most
destructive oil recovery operation the world has ever known.
This sensitive and nuanced documentary gives voice to the people
who are most directly affected by the development that is driving
Canada’s new role in the global economy. It is a story of change,
of struggle, and of cultural persistence. Fundamentally it is
about the different ways in which people value the land.
2009. 45 minutes)
film by Neil McArthur and Warren Cariou
devastating effects of the open-pit mines and their tailing ponds take
the stage in this topical Canadian documentary. . . dedicated to
giving a voice to an isolated people. Land
of Oil and Water
speaks up in what is becoming a more and more heated conversation for
us as Canadians.” Geist
Aboriginal Film Festival
Festival (Golden Sheaf Award
Land of Oil and Water is matched by
this shorter film (15 minutes) which focuses solely on the Alberta
Aboriginal communities of Fort Mackay and Fort Chipewyan. It was
an official selection at festivals including the Vancouver
International Film Festival and the Toronto Worldwide Short Film
Festival. Click the “Overburden” tab above for more information.
Both films are available on a single DVD --click “Order” above
for more info.