Humanities Institute

Controversy & Conversation Film Screening: "Under the Stack"

Mon, October 17, 2016 | Avaya Auditorium (POB 2.302)

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

"Faces Against Asarco." Photo credit: Robert Ardovino

We have teamed up with the Austin Public Library and the Rapoport Center to organize a special screening of Under the Stack, a documentary film about mining, safety, and the environment directed by Anne Fischel and Lin Nelson. The event is part of the Humanitieds Institute and APL’s Controversy and Conversation film series, and will feature a panel discussion with the directors and two of the activists featured in the film. The screening will take place in the Avaya Auditorium (POB 2.302) on October 17 at 6:30pm, with some light refreshments at 5:30. Parking is available in the San Jacinto Garage, 2401 San Jacinto, and meter parking is available on Dean Keeton Street.


About the Film:

Under the Stack follows the stories of three different communities and their experience working with the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO). El Paso, Corpus Christi, and Hayden, Arizona all have a long standing relationship with this corporation, a corporation that in the past has been subject to careless environmental and safety practices. During ASARCO’s bankruptcy, former workers of the company began to challenge the practices and learn that some of their health problems were connected to the toxic emissions of the company. The film follows the struggle of these workers to understand the consequences of working at ASARCO.

About the No Borders Project:
No Borders: Work, Environment and Justice in ASARCO-impacted Communities is a muli-media project utilizing film, research, writing and photography. Anne Fischel and Lin Nelson have been documenting and collaborating with communities struggling with environmental and health hazards for over 10 years. The project includes a website (, essays, and a book in progress. 

About the Panelists:

Anne Fischel is a documentary filmmaker and member of the faculty at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington where she teaches programs in Documentary Media and Community Studies. She is co-director of No Borders: Work, Environment and Justice in ASARCO-impacted Communities, and has worked extensively with local communities, unions and environmental groups.


Daniel Arellano is an ex-ASARCO worker. He grew up in Buena Vista, an El Paso, neighborhood close to the ASARCO smelter. A member of the United Steelworkers Union, Daniel worked at the smelter for 24 years, serving as a Motorman and a Slag Return man at the reverbatory furnace before being promoted to Acid Plant Operator. Daniel was a leader in the struggle to prevent ASARCO from re-opening in El Paso, and has been a persistent voice calling for justice for ASARCO’s workers since the smelter closed in 1999.


Kelly Haragan is a clinical professor and Director of the Environmental Clinic at Texas Law. Prior to joining the Clinic, Haragan worked as legal counsel for national nonprofits including: the Environmental Integrity Project in Washington DC, Environmental Defense Fund in Austin, and Public Citizen’s Austin office. She also worked at the Austin firm Henry, Lowerre, Johnson, Hess & Frederick, representing citizen and environmental groups in permitting and enforcement matters. Haragan specializes in Clean Air Act permitting and enforcement.


Carlos Rodriguez is an ex-ASARCO worker. A lifelong resident of El Paso, he worked for the company for 32 years as an electrician, while serving as chief steward for his union, the United Brother of Electrical Workers. Carlos was a leader in the struggle to prevent ASARCO from re-opening in El Paso. Since its final closure, he has been active in seeking medical monitoring and compensation for ASARCO’s workers.  


About Controversy & Conversation: The Controversy and Conversation series is a collaboration between the Humanities Institute and the Austin Public Library. In addition to special screenings at the University of Texas, Controversay and Conversation offers documentary film screening on the first Thursday of every month, followed by discussion.  All screenings are free and open to the public. 

Sponsored by: Humanities Institute through The Kidd Centennial Lectureship, Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, Austin Public Library, UT Environmental Clinic, Sierra Club, and Evergreen State College

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