2017 | 89 min | USA
Directed by Greg Kohs

 Presented by 


Biologist and wildlife filmmaker
Lecturer in Integrated Water Resource Management International WaterCentre
General Practitioner / National Board Director – Transitions Film Festival

A powerful investigative documentary about the battle to keep water drinkable.

In early 2014, the residents of Charleston, West Virginia, were lucky — to use the word advisedly — that one of the chemicals that leaked into their water supply had a strong odor. Otherwise, as What Lies Upstream illuminates in eye-opening detail, they might never have known that their tap water wasn’t safe to use.

As in his superb 2013 documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply, director Cullen Hoback looks beneath an everyday aspect of life that we take for granted. In the case of the earlier film, the subject was the privacy rights we routinely and unknowingly trade away in the digital age; in Upstream, he examines the shocking lack of meaningful oversight for the water we drink, cook with and bathe in.

The essence of both cases is the unholy alliance between corporate and government interests and its effect on unsuspecting citizens.

Described by the Los Angeles Times as ‘an exemplary piece of advocacy filmmaking,’ and The Hollywood Reporter as ‘One of the most vital docs to hit theaters in 2018,’ What lies Upstream speaks truth to power and inspires us to fight for the protection the most important elements which sustain us as humans – water.