Skip to toolbar

Pre-Symposium Documentary Film Screening

In conjunction with the 2019 Symposium on Environmental Justice and Health Disparities in the U.S., the Penn Program on Documentaries and the Law screened the award-winning documentary Cooked: Survival by Zip Code,  followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker, Judith Helfand.

Synopsis: In July 1995, a heat wave overtook Chicago. High humidity and a layer of heat-retaining pollution drove the heat index up to more than 126°F. City roads buckled, electric grids failed, thousands became ill, and hundreds of people died, most of them poor, elderly, and African American. Balancing serious and somber with her respectful, albeit ironic and signature quirky style, filmmaker Judith Helfand explores the long-term crisis produced by the intersection of pernicious poverty, racism, economic and social isolation, and weather-related “natural disasters”.