Raised in small-town Illinois, cancer seems to run in Sandra Steingrabers family. Sandra was diagnosed with bladder cancer when she was just twenty years old. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when Sandra was in high school. Many of her aunts and uncles have struggled with the disease. One aunt even died from the same form of bladder cancer that Sandra had. But while cancer runs in her family, she cannot say that it runs in her genes. Sandra is adopted. This unusual twist led Sandra to ask what else families have in common besides their DNA. The answer is all around us: our environment.
Based on the acclaimed book by ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., Living Downstream is an eloquent and cinematic feature-length documentary. This poetic and character-driven film follows Sandra during one pivotal year as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links.
As our journey begins, we follow Sandra in her professional life. After a routine cancer screening, Sandra receives some worrying results and is thrust into a period of medical uncertainty. Thus, we begin two journeys with Sandra: the private and the public.
But Sandra is not the only one who is on a journey the chemicals against which she is fighting are also on the move. We follow these invisible toxins as they migrate to some of the most beautiful places in North America. We see how these chemicals enter our bodies and how, once inside, scientists believe they may be working to cause cancer.
At once Sandra's personal journey and her scientific exploration, Living Downstream is a powerful reminder of the intimate connection between the health of our bodies and the health of our air, land and water.
Living Downstream is produced by The Peoples Picture Company, with the support of: The Ceres Trust, Kendeda Sustainability Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund, Canada Council for the Arts, Park Foundation, Canadian Auto Workers Social Justice Fund, The Cancer Prevention Challenge (Ya Ya Sistahs & Bruddahs Too! and Team Vitality), Doris Cadoux & Hal Schwartz, and the Saunders-Matthey Cancer Prevention Coalition.
Living Downstream is currently available for film festival and theatrical screenings. Please contact us if you are interested in screening the film in your community.