It hasn’t received as much attention as “An Inconvenient Truth,” but another environmental documentary is up for an Oscar this year. “The Warriors of Qiugang,” a 39-minute documentary about a Chinese village's fight against a chemical company, has been nominated in the best short documentary category.
Co-produced by Yale Environment 360 with filmmakers Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon, the heart-tugging tale is a real David and Goliath story. On one side are disenfranchised farmers and villagers, led by a farmer with a middle-school education. On the other side are powerful corporate interests allied with local government officials.
And while the Chinese village that the film focuses on is small, the environmental implications are widespread. The discharge from the chemical plants killed fish and other living organisms in a much larger area and harmed farmlands, too. One farmer says he doesn’t think the grain grown on the polluted land should be eaten — but concedes that the grain gets milled and sold to consumers who don’t know about the food’s toxic origins.
After intimidation, broken windows, and even a fight that required a visit from the riot police, the film concludes on a happy note — though with a note that shows the story hasn’t entirely ended. Watch “The Warriors of Qiugang” in its entirety at Yale 360.