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The Swamp: An Informal Evening of Environmental Film, Science and Discussion

The Swamp

Presented by Science Matters as part of the RVA Environmental Film Festival


Thanks for joining us at the Community Idea Stations for an evening of film and conversation about one of nature’s most mysterious and unique ecosystems - the Florida Everglades. The American Experience/PBS film, The Swamp tells an epic tale of man’s never-ending attempt to control nature. The film explores the repeated efforts to transform what was seen as a vast and useless wasteland into an agricultural and urban paradise, ultimately leading to a passionate campaign to preserve America’s greatest wetland. The story is told through the lives of a handful of colorful and resolute characters, from hucksters to politicians to unlikely activists.

As the world copes with increasingly deadly weather events, The Swamp is a timely tale of the perils of mankind’s abuse of nature. Based in part on the book The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise by Michael Grunwald, The Swamp is produced and directed by Randall MacLowry and executive produced by Mark Samels.

On Friday, February 8, 2019, as part of the RVA Environmental film festival, over 240 guests enjoyed light refreshments and interactive activities:

Watch the full 2 hour episode of The Swamp on WCVE PBS on March 21 at 9:00 p.m.


About the Filmmakers
A Film Posse, Inc. production for American Experience of WGBH Boston

Randall MacLowry (Producer/Director/Writer) is an award-winning filmmaker who works primarily in the television arena. A director, writer, producer and editor with over 30 years of experience, he crafts documentary stories that connect society’s large historical and cultural narratives with individual life journeys. Much of MacLowry’s work has been for the PBS history series American Experience, most recently producing and directing The Battle of Chosin and The Mine Wars. With his wife and business partner, Tracy Heather Strain, MacLowry produced and edited the critically acclaimed Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart about the late playwright Lorraine Hansberry – best known for writing A Raisin in the Sun, which aired on the PBS series American Masters. MacLowry received a Writers Guild award for the 2013 NOVA episode “The Fabric of the Cosmos: The Illusion of Time” and the 2014 American Experience episode Silicon Valley, and his American Experience films The Gold Rush and The Mine Wars won the Organization for American Historians’ Erik Barnouw Award. MacLowry is a graduate of Wesleyan University, where he studied under film scholar Jeanine Basinger and has served as a visiting instructor.

Mark Samels (Executive Producer) conceives, commissions and oversees all films for the PBS flagship history series American Experience. Samels has overseen more that 130 films, expanding both the breadth of subjects and the filmmaking style embraced by the series, allowing for more contemporary topics and witness-driven storytelling. Beginning his career as an independent documentary filmmaker, he held production positions at public television stations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania before joining WGBH Boston. Samels is a founding member of the International Documentary Association and has served as a governor of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Samels holds honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Emerson College and Elizabethtown College.

Terri Allard, Host and Co-producer of Charlottesville Inside-Out, was the Moderator.

About American Experience
For 30 years, American Experience has been television’s most-watched history series. Hailed as “the most consistently enriching program on television” (Chicago Tribune) and “a beacon of intelligence and purpose” (Houston Chronicle), the series brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America’s past and present. American Experience documentaries have been honored with every major broadcast award, including 30 Emmy Awards, four duPont-Columbia Awards and 17 George Foster Peabody Awards; the series received and Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature in 2015 for Last Days in Vietnam. American Experience also creates original digital content that uses new forms of storytelling to connect our collective past with the present. Visit and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to learn more.

Major funding for American Experience provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance, Consumer Cellular and by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Additional funding for The Swamp provided by The Kendeda Fund and the Yawkey Foundations. Additional funding for American Experience provided by the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, the Documentary Investment Group, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers. American Experience is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.

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