Poisoned Ground: The Tragedy at Love Canal – Director Jamila Ephron

Poisoned Ground: The Tragedy at Love Canal tells the dramatic and inspiring story of the ordinary women who fought against overwhelming odds for the health and safety of their families. In the late 1970s, residents of Love Canal, a working-class neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York, discovered that their homes, schools and playgrounds were built on top of a former chemical waste dump, which was now leaking toxic substances and wreaking havoc on their health. Through interviews with many of the extraordinary housewives turned activists, the film shows how they effectively challenged those in power, forced America to reckon with the human cost of unregulated industry, and created a grassroots movement that galvanized the landmark Superfund Bill. Director / Producer Jamila Ephron (Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies) joins us for a conversation on her detailed look into the incredible story of Niagara Falls, developer and con man William T. Love, hydro-electric power, Hooker Chemical, birth defects, cancer, miscarriages, Lois Gibbs,  empowered woman, Griffon Manor, the taking of “hostages”, President Jimmy Carter, New York Governor Hugh Carey, establishment of the EPA and 22,000 tons of toxic chemicals under the feet of an unsuspecting community.


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Poisoned Ground: The Tragedy at Love Canal premieres Monday, April 22, 2024, 9:00–11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on American Experience on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS App.


About the filmmaker – Jamila Ephron (Writer, Producer, Director) has been producing and directing documentary films for nearly 20 years. Her most recent film was The Blinding of Isaac Woodard, which premiered on American Experience in 2022. Her previous works for the series include Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation, which was released theatrically, and George W. Bush. Ephron also produced and co-directed Far from the Tree, based on the bestselling book by Andrew Solomon for Participant Media and Sundance Selects. Additional work for American Experience includes My Lai (winner of the Primetime Emmy and Peabody Award), The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and Clinton. She co-produced Makers: Women Who Make America, a three-hour documentary on second wave feminism, and Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Siddhartha Mukherjee.