Downwind/Downstream documents serious threats to water quality, subalpine ecosystems and public health in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains due to mining, acid rain and urbanization. It examines the AMAX molybdenum mine near Leadville, Colorado, declining populations of salamanders and frogs, and sources of acid rain such as copper smelters, coal-fired power plants and automobiles from as far away as Los Angeles. We updated this film for PBS’s NOVA, adding 23 minutes of new material, and it became Poison in the Rockies.

Distribution: Three-week tour of Colorado, 1987, with premiere concert at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen with Dan Fogelberg in concert; screenings at EPA Regional Headquarters (Denver), Colorado Health Department, Colorado State Legislature, EPA (San Francisco); Congressional screening, May 1989, sponsored by The Wilderness Society.

Broadcast History: Two national broadcasts on the Discovery Channel, 1988-9.

Awards: Blue Ribbon, American Film Festival; Golden Gate Award, San Francisco Film Festival; CINE Golden Eagle; Gold Apple, National Educational Film Festival; Special Jury Award, Telluride Mountain Film Festival.

Produced by Christopher McLeod and Robert Lewis. Written and Directed by Christopher McLeod.

“The air and water cycles are profound and delicate.
Downwind/Downstream shows us how they are being subverted.
The film is scary and beautiful.”
— Gary Snyder