Grand Opera House to screen local documentary “Saving Juliette”


(Photo by Grant Blankenship)

The documentary film “Saving Juliette” is being shown June 17 at The Grand Opera House. The film highlights problems with the potential contamination of natural water sources in Juliette, Ga. from the leaking coal ash pond at Plant Scherer.

The free screening begins at 7 p.m and will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and Altamaha Riverkeeper Director Fletcher Sams. The Q&A lasts until 9 p.m.

Evey Wilson Wetherbee, the director behind the film and a journalism professor at Mercer University, said the documentary is more relevant than ever in the age of green energy.

“As a lot of people start thinking about green energy, you have to think about what to do with the legacy of our energy sources before that,” Wetherbee said. “In Juliette everybody’s on well water, so when the coal ash pond is contaminating well water, that’s the only access that the people in Juliette have to drink.”

Wetherbee and Georgia Public Broadcasting journalist Grant Blankenship, the other producer behind the documentary, will both be present during the screening and the Q&A. Wetherbee said she came across the video project by chance thanks to a mutual friend.

“It was kind of serendipitous, actually,” Wilson said. “Grant had been reporting the story for years, but I had a friend who was actually the minister at one of the first community meetings.”

What started off as a simple trip to a community meeting quickly turned into a story Wilson wanted to tell.

“I looked into what the community meeting was, and it looked like it was going to be really intense,” she said. “So I just brought my camera and figured, if it seems interesting, this could be the start of something.”

After an emotional meeting, Wilson teamed up with Blankenship to tell the story of the Juliette residents’ fight for clean water. For them, the story doesn’t end with the documentary.

“That’s what’s really important, is that it’s still unfolding,” Wilson said. “We’re still trying to figure out what they’re going to do about the pond. It’s still an issue.”

The documentary is around 40 minutes long and will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and Sams.

For more information, view the screening’s event page here.