The Battle for Matheny Tract

Samuel Contreras
2017 | 20 minutes
Country of Production: USA
Country Featured: USA

In the state of California, over 300 communities do not have access to potable drinking water. Droughts and costly irrigation systems have created a type of hardship that is difficult to imagine in a first-world country. Here is the story of California’s San Joaquin Valley and the struggle to find a consistent source of clean, affordable water—or as one resident puts it, “the pure and holy liquid.”

This screening is part of the Emerging Visual Anthropologists Showcase and will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers, and anthropologist Dr. Faye Ginsburg and documentary instructor Dr. Pegi Vail of the New York University Center for Media, Culture and History.

Activate: My Perspective

“My film has definitely activated a sense of hope and perseverance in my persona. I been documenting the community’s struggle for three years and I have been a witness to how the unincorporated community of Matheny Tract has fought endlessly for their right to clean and affordable water. The film precisely invokes that. The film is a call for action and I hope it activates the audience to get involved and resist.”  

—  Samuel Contreras | Director, The Battle for Matheny Tract