TURKEY CREEK tells the story of a handful of determined Mississippians who have struggled to save their endangered community in the face of rampant development, industrial pollution and disaster. The film follows Derrick Evans and his family and neighbors, who are descendants of emancipated slaves who settled on the Gulf Coast in the 1860s. They have been stewards of Turkey Creek’s rich wetland habitat for generations, where they have farmed and fished and were baptized. Today, the Turkey Creek watershed lies at the center of the sprawling city of Gulfport - Mississippi’s fastest-growing urban area. The threat of encroaching sprawl, spurred by the gaming industry in the 1990s, and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 mobilized members of this insular, self-sufficient community and made them citizen activists on a regional and national level. Turkey Creek’s hard-won victories were featured in an April 20, 2010, front-page article in USA Today commemorating Earth Day’s 40th anniversary. The BP oil rig exploded on the 20th, spewing oil into the Gulf and threatening the coast’s fragile wetlands. Today residents of Turkey Creek continue their fight for a sustainable future. The film will be completed in 2012.
I’ve always had it in my mind that somehow someday I would tell this story — the Turkey Creek story. If I’m not careful, if Turkey Creek is not careful, it may be like an obituary.
- Derrick Evans, Turkey Creek Community Initiatives
The production of TURKEY CREEK has been supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Independent Television Service, Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, Fledgling Fund, Chicken and Egg Pictures, Just Media Fund, LEF Moving Image Fund, Nu Lambda Trust, Winograd-Hutner Family Fund, Fleishhacker Foundation, Diana Patrick and Amelie Ratliff.
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.
A related digital initiative called BRIDGE THE GULF launched in 2010. The website features the voices of a vibrant community of citizen journalists and independent mediamakers working to document the efforts of ordinary people to protect and revitalize endangered Gulf Coast communities. The project was featured at the Media That Matters conference and on NPR’s State of the Re:Union website.
Make a contribution to support the creation and distribution of TURKEY CREEK. The film is a nonprofit project of the Center for Independent Documentary, so your donation is tax-deductible.