In 2006, approximately 30 years after the Ford Motor Company had dumped toxic waste on the land of the Ramapough Mountain Indians, the Ramapough filed a class action lawsuit against Ford and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) due to countless premature deaths.
Tonight Producer Jamie Redford (son of Oscar-winning Hollywood icon Robert Redford) along with producer Micah Fink, and producer and director Maro Chermayeff will showcase Mann v. Ford, a story of the battle of the Ramapough Indians in a bid to secure a healthier future for their children in the face of alleged atrocities committed by the Ford Corporation and the EPA.
According to the HBO website, the film focuses on the time between 1967 and 1971, when Ford’s largest automobile assembly plant located in Mahwah, New Jersey dumped untold amounts of paint sludge and industrial toxic chemicals like PCBs, Freon, heavy metals, lead and arsenic into the veritable backyards of the Ramapough Indian people.
The communities’ children had played in the paint sludge sitting in the landfill areas, painting themselves with the rainbow of dumped paint and even ate colorful handmade paint pies. The community suffered from immediate health problems such as nosebleeds and rashes, now nearly every home in the community has had a cancer related death.
In Mann v. Ford, Redford, Fink and Chermayeff have worked to document the timeline of events from the dumping of toxic paint sludge by the Ford corporation in the ‘50s to the mass action lawsuit filed in 2006 by the residents of the Ramapough community and the Kennedy and Madonna LLC law firm.
In the documentary, Ford admits dumping in Upper Ringwood, New Jersey but their lawyers indicate it was legal at the time. Today, the EPA admits it only cleaned up 20 percent of the toxins in the original cleanup.
Featuring footage of former New Jersey Governor John Corzine and now EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson touring the site, as well as “Toxic Legacy” journalists Jan Barry and Barbara Williams and several accounts from Ramapough community members, Mann v. Ford is certain to address the issues in need of media attention.
Mann v. Ford premieres tonight at 9 p.m. EST on HBO – running time 106 minutes. Rated TVPG.
Stay tuned to ICTMN – for a follow up interview with producer Jamie Redford.