Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek
Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who moves home to coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Over the course of a decade, Derrick and his neighbors stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians and face ordeals that include Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice.
“This intimate film tells a gigantic story — about race, about power, about so-called development. But it is also a saga of community, resilience, resistance, and hope. It’s about everything that matters in our society.”
— Bill Bigelow, Rethinking Schools
Filmmaker Leah Mahan worked on the film for a dozen years and received a fellowship to work on the rough cut at the Sundance Institute Documentary Editing and Story Lab. While producing the film, Leah worked with Derrick Evans and the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health to create a community journalism project titled Bridge the Gulf that has been a source for independent reporting and opinion since 2010. The project has been supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and has drawn the attention of MSNBC, the BBC, NPR and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The Independent Television Service is supporting a redesign of the site that will launch in early 2014.
Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek premiered at the New Orleans Film Festival in October 2013 and will air on public television in 2014 with support from the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB). The production was supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, ITVS, Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, Chicken and Egg Pictures, Fledgling Fund, Berkeley Film Foundation, Just Media Fund, Winograd-Hutner Family Fund, Nu Lambda Trust, LEF Moving Image Fund, Fleishhacker Foundation, Diana Patrick, Amelie Ratliff and individual donors. The project has benefited from participation in the Sundance Documentary Editing and Story Lab, the Producers Institute for New Media Technologies and The Good Pitch.
The film has been invited by Working Films to be included in the Reel Power collaborative, which brings together documentary filmmakers and organizers who are “fueling the energy revolution.” Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek was shown in October with other Reel Power films at Power Shift, a gathering of 10,000 youth leaders.
Articles about the production of the film can be found on the websites of Bill Moyers Journal (Turkey Creek: Preview and Q & A with Filmmaker Leah Mahan) and the San Francisco Film Society (“Turkey Creek” Bridges the Gulf) and articles by Leah Mahan can be found on the Tides blog (”Documenting Disaster and Renewal“) and Bridge the Gulf (”A different take on Turkey Creek’s epic story tonight on the Daily Show“).
Tax-deductible contributions to support the outreach and engagement campaign for Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek can be made to the Center for Independent Documentary.