Living with the Spill
a film by Ruedi Gerber
After the Exxon Valdez oil tanker disaster in 1989, Exxon Corporation spent over $1.5 billion on cleaning up the ecosystem in Prince William Sound off the coast of Alaska – as well as the company's tarnished reputation. In the widespread media coverage of the damage to the environment and to Exxon’s repute, however, the fate of the people in the city of Valdez itself was overlooked: among other things, the huge amount of money Exxon invested in the clean-up gave rise to tensions within the formerly peaceful local community. Within just a year after the disaster, the population of Valdez tripled and the standard weekly wage for unskilled workers shot up to $1600. Skyrocketing property prices forced many long-time residents to leave their homes, while fishermen charged up to $500,000 rent for their boats. The local salmon cannery went bust, the smokehouses were deserted and the dead fish rotted away.
In LIVING WITH THE SPILL, locals talk about the disaster’s impact on their lives long after Exxon left the area.
Festivals and Awards
Vision du Réel 1991
"Qualitätsprämie" by Swiss Federal Office of Culture 1991
1991| UK, USA | 52min. | Documentary
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Jean Snedegar (Narrator)
Producer: Ruedi Gerber
Cinematography: Christian Hoagland
Editing: Sabine Krayenbühl
Music: Rory McFarlane, Mark Russell