MANN V. FORD (HBO)
A candy apple red 1967 Ford Mustang convertible, shiny and new: is there anything cooler than that? It is a perfect example of a corporation at its peak of popularity. And as the only American car company around today that didn’t need a bailout from the American taxpayer, Ford remains at the top of the heap. Now let’s take a closer look at that heap it’s on top of….
The Ramapough Indians live in northern New Jersey, as they have for hundreds of years. If you fly over or drive through this part of New Jersey, it’s lovely: beautiful woods, flowing streams. On closer examination though, the rocks and dirt show bits of unusual color, and the smell is foul.
Its paint and chemical sludge, some of it still bright and shiny and as candy apple red as it was when it was dumped there decades ago. Ford contracted out its waste disposal, but memos indicate they knew their waste was being dumped in the Ramapough Indians’ land. They also knew it was full of toxins and carcinogens.
Today, a community that once celebrated its elders has no elders to celebrate. Few make it to 60, with many dying much younger. Miscarriage rates are extraordinarily high. The EPA listed the area as a Superfund Site in the 1980’s. After Ford cleaned it up (a little), it was taken off the list. It has since been re-listed twice. There are still toxins at the site.
Until feisty, Erin Brokovich-like attorney Vicky Gilliam takes their case, the Ramapough Indians have little recourse. “Mann v. Ford” follows the case as it wends its way through the legal system, bringing to light the consequences of corporate malfeasance v. poverty.
Jean Tait is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. Currently the Director of Programming for the Connecticut Film Festival, Jean has programmed for the Jacksonville Film Festival and Sundance Channel.
MANN V. FORD (HBO On Demand) availability on your local cable provider.
Check out previous reviews by Jean Tait:
THE BIG C - Showtime - DEMAND IT
WEEDS - Showtime - DEMAND IT
TRUE BLOOD - HBO - DEMAND IT
BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD - HBO - DEMAND IT
TOO BIG TOO FAIL - HBO - DEMAND IT