A documentary about the Alberta oilsands is among eight films short-listed for an Academy Award. Leslie Iwerks' Downstream is centered on Dr. John O'Connor's findings of high cancer rates in First Nations of Fort Chipewyan.
The community is 220 kilometers north of Fort McMurray, downstream from major oilsands development and forestry mills. In 2006, Dr. O'Connor called for a health review of the community after raising concerns about the number of colon, liver, blood and bile-duct cancer patients in the area.
Health Canada filed five complaints against the doctor for speaking out, charges which could have resulted in the loss of his licence. In March 2007, the Alberta Medical Association passed a motion supporting Dr. O'Connor.
In the category of best short documentary, three to five of the short-listed documentaries will be nominated for an Oscar. Awards will be handed out February 22, 2009.
View October 9, 2008 CBC Film
View October 9, 2008 Canadian Press article
View October 8, 2008 Reuters Canada article
View October 18, 2008 Limerick Leader article
Sources: CBC, Canadian Press, Reuters Canada, Limerick Leader