Living Downstream  Walking Upstream

About the Team

Living Downstream is a production of The People's Picture Company (The PPC) an award-winning documentary production company. The PPC creates entertaining and educational films that compel thought, encourage discussion, and inspire change. For more information, please visit

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Read about the film crew >


Featured Experts




Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D.
Author of Living Downstream and Main Subject

Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D. holds a doctorate in biology and a master’s degree in creative writing. Called “a poet with a knife” (Sojourner), Sandra is the author of the volume of poetry Post-Diagnosis and coauthor of the book on ecology and human rights in Africa The Spoils of Famine. Her memoir, Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood, explores the intimate ecology of pregnancy and was selected by the Library Journal as a best book of 2001. Sandra has won numerous awards, including Chatham College’s biennial Rachel Carson Leadership Award, the Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund, and the Environmental Health Champion Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles. She has served as an advisor to the California Breast Cancer Research Program, provided Congressional briefings, and lectured on many college campuses. A columnist for Orion magazine, Sandra is a scholar in residence at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. Read more about Sandra at


Tyrone Hayes


Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D.
Biology Professor at UC Berkeley

Since his childhood, Dr. Tyrone Hayes has been fascinated by amphibians and the influences that environmental changes have on their development, growth, and reproduction. A graduate of Harvard University, Dr. Hayes has published more than forty papers and 150 abstracts and has given more than 300 talks. Presently, Dr. Hayes’ work in the lab and field is focused on the effects of pesticides on amphibians and the role of this threat in amphibian declines. Among other awards, Dr. Hayes has received both the Distinguished Teaching Award and the Distinguished Mentor Award from the University of California at Berkeley, the Jennifer Altman Award for Integrity in Science (Jennifer Altman Foundation), the Rachel Carson Memorial Award (Pesticide Action Network), the National Geographic Emerging Explorer Award (NGS), and the President’s Citation Award (American Institute of Biological Sciences).


Rachel Carson


Rachel Carson
Biologist and Author of Silent Spring

Rachel Carson graduated from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College), studied at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, and received her MA in zoology from Johns Hopkins University. She then worked as a government scientist and science editor for fifteen years in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. Carson wrote three popular books about the ocean before writing the book that is credited with launching the modern environmental movement: Silent Spring. She died of breast cancer in 1964, but not before testifying before the United States Congress on the potential problems with the broadcast spraying of chemical pesticides. To learn more about Carson, please visit


Stephane Lair


Stéphane Lair, Ph.D.
Veterinary Professor at University of Montreal

Dr. Stéphane Lair is the director of the St. Lawrence beluga whale pathology program that has been in operation for over twenty years. He is concerned about major marine ecosystem changes that result from diverse factors, including the overexploitation of resources, increased industrial activity, and climate change. Dr. Lair sees marine mammals as “signal” species; by studying the health of these animals, he hopes to contribute to a better understanding of the St. Lawrence and other marine habitats.


Linda Birnbaum


Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D.
Director of National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Dr. Linda Birnbaum oversees a budget that funds more than 1,000 research grants. She is the author of several hundred peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, abstracts, and reports. A board certified toxicologist, Dr. Birnbaum has served as a federal scientist for thirty years, nineteen of which were with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Birnbaum has received numerous awards, including the Women in Toxicology Elsevier Mentoring Award, the Society of Toxicology Public Communications Award, EPA’s Health Science Achievement Award and Diversity Leadership Award, and twelve Science and Technology Achievement Awards.


John Spinelli


John Spinelli, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency

In addition to his position at the BC Cancer Agency, Dr. John Spinelli is also a professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health, as well as an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University’s Statistics & Actuarial Science department. Dr. Spinelli’s research focuses on the identification of environmental and genetic risk factors for cancer. He conducts and collaborates on a large number of epidemiological, statistical, and clinical research projects and has 156 peer-reviewed publications addressing various aspects of health research and statistical methodology.


George Woodwell


George Woodwell, Ph.D.
Founder and Director Emeritus of Woods Hole Research Center

Dr. George Woodwell is an ecologist with broad interests in global environmental issues and policies. Prior to founding the Woods Hole Research Center, he was founder and director of the Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory and a senior scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratories. Dr. Woodwell was also a founding trustee and continues to serve on the board of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He is a former chairman of the board of trustees and currently a member of the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund, a founding trustee of the World Resources Institute, a founder and currently an honorary member of the board of trustees of the Environmental Defense Fund, and former president of the Ecological Society of America. Dr. Woodwell is the author of more than 300 major papers and books on ecology.



Film Crew



Chanda Chevannes


Chanda Chevannes
Producer and Director

Chanda Chevannes is a documentary film producer and director. She has been the driving force behind a variety of documentary-based projects, from the point-of-view films to educational videos. Chanda specializes in complex, multi-layered films that are artistically rich and socially meaningful. She is passionate about using film as a tool for public education and social change and has received awards for her work in the categories of non-violence, public health, and social issues. Living Downstream is her third creative documentary and her first feature-length film.


Nathan Shields


Nathan Shields
Producer and Editor

Nathan Shields is a producer and editor in both film and television. He has edited over twenty documentaries and dramatic programs for countless production companies. These projects have ranged from factual entertainment series, to social issues documentaries, to comedic short films. They include the webisodes for the sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie, the biopic The Four Seasons of Isadore Sharpe, and the documentary series The Naked Archeologist. Nathan is a graduate of Sheridan College and the founder of The People’s Picture Company.


Benjamin Gervais


Benjamin Gervais
Director of Photography

Benjamin Gervais is a director of photography and a camera systems engineer. Ben has worked behind the camera for over ten years, most recently in the role of 3D engineer on Martin Scorsese’s Hugo Cabret. He has shot several documentary films and has fulfilled the role of camera operator on a wide range of projects, including feature films, television series, and commercial productions.


JR Fountain


J.R. Fountain
Sound Designer and Re-Recording Mixer

J.R. Fountain has been working in the Toronto film and television industry for over ten years. In that time, he has fulfilled many roles in audio post production. His work has been nominated for several awards, including a Gemini (Canada’s version of the Emmys), and multiple MPSEs. In 2008, J.R. shared in the Best Sound Design award from the Giant Screen Cinema Association for his work on the IMAX film Wild Ocean 3D. J.R. is the founder of Big Room Sound.




Trent Richmond
Sound Editor and Location Recordist

Trent Richmond has worked on the audio for dozens of feature films and television series. While Trent’s work has ranged from editing to recording, some of his more recent credits include foley recordist on King of the Hill and foley editor on The Fighter.


PM Veltri


P.M. Veltri
Additional Camera

Pasquale Marco Veltri is a Canadian filmmaker and photographer whose unique vision crosses the boundaries of culture and language. Faced with the tasks of producing, directing, cinematography, and writing Pasquale has a well rounded, integrated, and holistic approach to the art of cinema. His films have screened nationally and internationally in Canada, Britain, France, Italy, and Egypt. For more information on Pasquale's work, visit


Randall Wallace


Randall Wallace

Randall Wallace is a multi-instrumentalist who has performed throughout the New York area. In 1998, he transformed a mountaintop retreat in Woodstock, New York into recording complex Allaire Studios. Randall studied piano with Yella Pessl at the Eaglebrook School, Film Music Composition with Meyer Kupferman at Sarah Lawrence College, and music arrangement & performance with Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra. He is the original music composer and producer of the documentary film Blind Spot. Randall is also the Co-Chair of the non-profit Wallace Global Fund.   



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