Films: Semper Fi: Always Faithful

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Semper Fi: Always Faithful

Semper Fi: Always Faithful

USA, 2011, 76 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Documentary, Environmental, Medical/Health, Mystery, Political
Programs: Documentary Films, Environment in Focus
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Tony Hardmon, Rachel Libert
Producer: Todd Wider, Jedd Wider, Tony Hardmon, Rachel Libert
Editor: Purcell Carson
Cinematographer: Tony Hardmon
Principal Cast: 

For 30 years, over a million Marines and their families lived at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, unaware of their exposure to a toxic water system. Hundreds contracted rare cancers from the contamination—and many died. Semper Fi: Always Faithful documents one Marine’s fight to bring them justice.

In 1970, Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger enlisted in the Marines right out of high school, eventually becoming a drill instructor who trained recruits to abide by the Marine Corps motto, Semper fi (“always faithful”). Then his nine-year-old daughter died of a rare form of leukemia.

Overcome with grief, Ensminger questioned her death for the next fourteen years—until 1997, when he found out about Lejeune’s contamination problem on TV. Joining forces with Major Tom Townsend, a Marine whose infant son had died at the base, he began his detective work—and soon realized he was dealing with a massive cover-up. Ultimately, the once-faithful pair took their fight to Congress.

Directors Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon studied environmental law, military procedure, public-health policy, and the inner workings of Capitol Hill to make this searing documentary, which addresses the pollution at not only Camp Lejeune but 130 other military sites around the country. As they have explained their motivation: “When we dug deeper and learned that the Department of Defense is our nation’s largest polluter, we knew that this was an important story with far-reaching repercussions.”

Sponsored by Consulate General of Canada in Denver, Queen Anne Urban Bed and Breakfast

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