Water Warriors

Nothing in this world can live without water.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
22 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


Water Warriors is the story of a community’s successful resistance against the oil and gas industry. When an energy company begins searching for natural gas in New Brunswick, Canada, Indigenous and white families unite to drive out the company in a campaign to protect their water and way of life.

Featured review

A story of resistance powered by love—for the water, for our communities and generations to come, for the better world that we're working so hard to build. In just 22 short, thundering minutes, Water Warriors will leave you immersed, seeing anew all that surrounds you.
Naomi Klein
author of No Is Not Enough & This Changes Everything


Water Warriors is the story of a community’s successful fight to protect their water from the oil and natural gas industry.

In 2013, Texas-based SWN Resources arrived in New Brunswick, Canada to explore for natural gas. The region is known for its forestry, farming and fishing industries, which are both commercial and small-scale subsistence operations that rural communities depend on. In response, a multicultural group of unlikely warriors–including members of the Mi’kmaq Elsipogtog First Nation, French-speaking Acadians and English-speaking families–set up a series of road blockades, sometimes on fire, preventing exploration. After months of resistance, their efforts not only halted drilling; they elected a new government and won an indefinite moratorium on fracking in the province.

Water Warriors is a 22 minute short film, and a photo exhibit that can scale to fit a variety of spaces and events styles.


Water Warriors highlights a rare success story of ordinary citizens...The short film and multimedia photo exhibition provide an element of much-needed hope at a time when the environment is increasingly imperiled by big business interests.
Filmmaker Magazine
Filmmaker Magazine
Water Warriors tells the story of a province that said 'no' to Big Oil before it was too late, after its people came together to organize on behalf of a far more precious resource.The film is a great resource for the classroom, sure to spark discussion about this pressing issue.
Ryan Katz-Rosene
President of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada & Professor, University of Ottawa
Water Warriors is an inspiring story told with care and authenticity. The film will be a beacon of hope for other communities who are fighting across the globe.
Jess Swigonski
Nevada City, CA
Water Warriors is extremely relevant to environmental water issues in our region. It is deeply moving, beautifully filmed, and the 22-minute length is ideal for my 50-minute classes, because I can show the doc and follow with discussion.
Jane Haladay
Professor, Department of American Indian Studies, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Water Warriors wasn't only an impactful and inspiring film for my students, but served as an opening/foundation for thinking about the very idea of resistance—and the idea that ordinary people stepping up in collective action is what creates change.
Sara Kendall
Professor, Department of Geography, Dawson College
Water Warriors is very relevant to discussions about radical solidarities as well as environmental issues. I appreciated that the film was long enough to get a comprehensive view of the situation, but not so long that younger students would lose focus. (That is such a big deal to an educator! So thank you!)
Adrienna Joyce
Middle School Teacher, Winnipeg
We truly enjoyed screening this film on campus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Here in Alaska we feel the negative impacts of climate change and our extractive economy very strongly. We screened this film in our campus coffee shop during November as part of Indigenous History Month. Feedback from those who attended was entirely positive.
Amy Cross
Nanook Diversity & Action Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks
At just 22 minutes, Water Warriors is a must-watch for anyone interested in collective activism, and participatory documentary. At a time when it can be easy to doubt the effectiveness of political organizing, the people of New Brunswick are charting a different path.
Global Citizen
Global Citizen
The Social Justice Committee of the Calgary Unitarian Church presented Water Warriors as part of a Sunday service on February 17. We surrounded the film with readings and "Blue Boat Home" a favorite congregation hymn. SJC heard very positive feedback. People found Water Warriors powerful and enlightening. They were very impressed by the protesters' boldness and persistence. And a few realized for the first time that protests really can make a difference. Water Warriors had quite an impact.
Penney Kome
author and journalist
350 Spokane screened Water Warriors as part of our campaign to support a 100% Clean Energy law in Washington State Legislature. Water Warriors was very moving and really got our audience of 200 fired-up to act on climate. The people in the film were so brave and determined (and successful)! Thank you for documenting their efforts. The story was very inspiring. We need to hear about each other's successes in this difficult and long struggle for climate justice.
Rebecca MacMullan
350 Spokane
You educated me, you moved me, and you made my convictions on this subject even stronger.
Stacy Sprenz
Community Activist
A fantastic film...not just to know how bad things are in other places, or to get knowledge, but to show solidarity and link fights. The subject was unknown to us in Basque country, but very close. Your fight is now our fight!
Martin Mantxo
Ekologistak Martxan
Water Warriors shows how powerful a community can be when it stands united.
Caila Holbrook
Biologist, Comox Valley Project Watershed
Water Warriors shows how the passion and determination of a community can overcome a corporate threat, both to nature and to human vitality. This film will inspire and stick with you.
Paula Branchi
third year nursing student
We had a great screening and discussion with a super engaged and thoughtful group in the Indigenous Student Learning Centre at the University of the Fraser Valley, on unceded Sto:lo Territory.An action came out of discussion! we are gathering at our MP's office tomorrow to voice our objections to the kinder Morgan expansion.
Suz Coulter
Council of Canadians Chilliwack Chapter
I thought that [the exhibit] was a great way to immerse the viewers in the subject, and come together to explore where we are at in this battle. It was very rich. I am so glad that you will be bringing this show to some other communities in the area. It is an event, and a model, that I feel is definitely worth repeating!
Travis Cohn
Community Activist

Awards and Screenings

Best International Environmental Documentary Short, Green Film Network, 2018
Blackstar Film Festival Best Short Documentary, 2017
Eric Moe Award for Best Short on Sustainability Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, 2018
Prize of the Slovak Environmental Agency for Global Applicability, 2018
Adventure Film Festival Environmental Activism Award, 2017
Austin Under-the-Stars Best Documentary, 2017
Juried Award for Documentary Short, Indigo Moon Film Festival, 2017
Best in Theme, Wild & Scenic Film Festival, 2018
Jury Selection for Best Documentary Short Film, One Nation Film Festival, 2018
Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Short Film, One Nation Film Festival,

Director Commentary

As the climate changes at an alarming rate, the actions of ordinary people to protect democracy and our natural resources are gaining momentum. The success of movements like #NoKeystoneXL and Standing Rock's fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline assert the importance of meaningful consultation with communities and indigenous leadership to protect natural resources. Like these fights and many others that haven’t made headlines, Water Warriors affirms the necessity of leadership from indigenous peoples, who in Canada are, aptly, known as First Nations.

Water Warriors captures how a coalition of unlikely warriors triumphed against seemingly insurmountable odds. The story invites us to consider how multiracial solidarity can guide relationships between historically-divided communities and natural ecosystems, from which too many of us remain disconnected. The warriors in this story were fighting to protect their water, but their lessons are applicable to a range of issues related to corporate exploitation and the corruption of democracy.

The story demonstrates the power people have when they organize. In this moment, especially, success stories are critical to building power and visionary opposition. It was an honor to be allowed to document this story. I hope that it will educate, fortify, and inspire people endeavoring to build a more just and sustainable future.

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • Subtitles
  • Resources for Educators

Subtitle/Caption Languages

  • English
  • French
  • Spanish

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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