Living Downstream doc takes creative distribution route

Niche market targeting aims to get Toronto filmmaker Chanda Chevannes' film about the link between cancer and exposure to toxic chemicals to a wider audience.
Living Downstream-1

Chanda Chevannes earned a Gracie Award for her documentary Living Downstream, about ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber (pictured) travelling North America to expose the link between cancer and exposure to pesticides and other toxic chemicals.

That was followed by First Run Features picking up the documentary from Toronto-based The People’s Picture Company for a home video and VOD release.

Now Living Downstream director and producer Chevannes has unveiled another releasing platform: distribute the DVD in 400 food co-ops and natural food stores across U.S. and Canada.

The distribution strategy comes courtesy of a grant from the Minnesota-based Ceres Trust, which hopes the co-ops exposure to the educational DVD will spur community screenings, workshops and other public events.

“In today’s ever-changing marketplace, it’s vital for filmmakers to be as creative in the distribution of our documentaries as we are in their creation,” Chevannes said in a statement.

She insisted filmmakers need to look beyond theatrical distribution, broadcast, and VOD to get their product into the marketplace.

“This model allows us to tap into a very specific target audience at the grassroots.It allows us to bring Steingraber’s powerful story to individuals and groups who are already taking steps to create positive change their communities,” she added.