About the film
Director, Producer, Cinematographer
Rubbertown is Louisville, Kentucky's neighborhood of heavy industrial manufacturing plants, and is located near a power plant and a toxic landfill site. These facilities are adjacent to residential neighborhoods.
The documentary Rubbertown follows Louisville, Kentucky resident Monika Burkhead as she tries to move her entire house to another county after suffering through years of regular leaks, spills, and occasional explosions at the nearby facilities, alongside fellow residents reporting higher rates of cancer and respiratory illnesses.
Part Studs Terkel-style oral history, part travelogue-from-hell, Rubbertown mixes traditional documentary storytelling techniques with exploratory POV expeditions, weaving together an examination of the environmental, political and social conditions affecting residents of Rubbertown.
Through Monika's house-moving narrative and the parallel story of Charles Pope, the film presents the perspectives of individuals varying in race, class, and regional affiliation, all within Louisville’s borders. The film's diversity reflects Louisville’s particular combination of spaces, with urban areas closer to the city occupied by African-Americans, and white residents in rural areas further from the city center. In exploring these spaces through a POV lens and falling into impromptu conversations, Rubbertown offers a unique documentary experience—one that invites audience members to explore the issues for themselves, and sparks an interest in what’s going on in their own backyard.