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Libby, Montana

Libby, Montana

In the small, blue collar community of Libby, Montana, hard working men and women have fallen victim to the worse case of toxic exposure in recorded U.S. history. When W.R. Grace came to Libby, the citizens welcomed them with open arms. It seemed that a corporation had finally taken notice of this iconic American town, and was prepared to invest in its honest workers and valuable resources. But then something went horribly wrong.

Now, the citizens of Libby, Montana have finally found the courage to stand up to W.R. Grace, and attempt to hold the corporation accountable for their alleged transgressions.

“Definitely deserves Oscar consideration.” Illinois Times

“Eschewing rhetoric, hysteria, or commentary, the filmmakers employ a form of direct cinema that in its restraint and layering of details has a cumulative power.” Milton Tabbot, IFP/New York

“The filmmakers’ impressionistic, elegiac approach is often suited to the report’s large ironies.” New York Times

“If the political pressure to prosecute Grace’s executives to the full extent of the law persists, it will be due in part to this deeply moving film. Many critics have praised the ‘objectivity’ of filmmakers Doug Hawes-Davis and Drury Gunn Carr; what they mean is that the directors let the headlines, residents, and Lovick tell the story. This time-tested documentary technique seems fresh in the wake of last year’s much-more-publicized and vocally political Fahrenheit 9/11, but at its root is the recognition that LIBBY, MONTANA isn’t a red-state or blue-state story. It is a story about American democracy and American capitalism, and the battle that must constantly be waged to keep the latter from consuming the former.” San Antonio Current

“Richly rewarding.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle

“As the patient, perceptive LIBBY, MONTANA opens, the town seems set off in a nostalgic haze, a natural splendor indicated by snowy vistas, gamboling dogs, and big blue skies. Though it tracks a horrific and extended saga, Libby, Montana maintains a sense of intimacy…with focus on diurnal details and conceptual ambiguities, probing questions rather than reductionist oppositions of good and evil.”

“Among the observers to arrive in 2000 were Drury Gunn Carr and Doug Hawes-Davis of High Plains Films. But unlike many journalists, Carr and Hawes-Davis hung around, letting their cameras capture the tales of years of secrets and lies.” Missoula Independent

“Incisive and unrelenting.” Mother Jones

“Equal parts mystery, horror film, black comedy, corporate indictment and human tragedy Libby, Montana is expertly compiled and genuinely compassionate when addressing the people involved. The film pulsates with urgency and commitment, and manages splendidly without the abrasive finger-pointing and knee-jerk aggression that has marred reportage in our age of so-called reality television.”

“Tells the story of the contamination of Libby, Montana, location of what the Environmental Protection Agency has called ‘the worst case of industrial poisoning of a whole community in American history.’” USA Today

“Tonight’s Must-See: A jolting story of a conservative town that once distrusted big government and now needs it.” Gannett News Service

“Emotionally powerful. Intense.” Willamette Week

“**** Touching.”



“For seventy years Libby was home to a large vermiculite mine. The ore was later found to contain asbestos and eventually the mine was shutdown in 1990. But that’s just the beginning.” California Gazette

“Thoughtful and wrenching.” Portland Mercury

“With an artful interweaving of the town’s economic history and the life (and death) stories of various individuals, the film picks up a compelling rhythm, inexorably pulling you along. LIBBY, MONTANA is a big film about a big problem, well balanced and well told.” Montana Magazine


Main credits

Carr, Drury Gunn (film director)
Carr, Drury Gunn (film producer)
Carr, Drury Gunn (editor of moving image work)
Hawes-Davis, Doug (film director)
Hawes-Davis, Doug (film producer)
Hawes-Davis, Doug (editor of moving image work)

Other credits

Camera & sound, Drury Gunn Carr & Doug Hawes-Davis; original score, Ned Mudd.


; "Libby, Montana"; Docuseek; asbestos; montana; corporations; toxic; W.R. Grace; vermiculite; zonolite; Environmental Protection Agency; EPA; industrial poisoning; toxicity; mining; Mesothelioma; cancer; lung disease; superfund; Montana; American West; Bullfrog Films; ,doc,env; history; science