It is the vast, sprawling complexes of oil refineries and petro-chemical plants that help make the Texan economy one of the biggest in the world. But does the wealth come at too a high a price to the local community? Texan industries are legally permitted to release millions of tons of toxic pollutants into the air each year, plus thousands of tons more in ‘accidental’ or ‘unscheduled’ releases. When these incidents happen, local residents are told to stay in their homes and tape up their windows and doors. This procedure is called ‘Shelter in Place’. Communities living on the fenceline of Texan industry are usually poor, African American and powerless to protest. This film is an intimate portrait of a community battling against environmental pollution and corporate power.
Funded by the Channel 4 British Documentary Film Foundation, “Shelter in Place” was awarded the Short Pitch Prize at the BRITDOC Film Festival 2008. The documentary had its world premier at the Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival in November 2009, where it was also nominated for the Green Doc Award.