Private Project

Garbage & Greed: Trashed in the Napa Valley

In the mountains above California’s Napa Valley a garbage dump is polluting the Napa watershed. The family-owned Clover Flat Landfill has a 60 year legacy that includes storage of unauthorized radioactive waste and leaching of highly-toxic fluorinated PFAS, known as forever chemicals, that spill over into drainages leading to neighboring properties and eventually the Napa River. To make matters worse dozens of fires have spontaneously ignited at the landfill at a time when the region has recently endured some of California’s largest wildfires. Further south a recycling and composting facility, owned by the same family as the landfill, sparks similar fears of fires and water contamination.

If there's one resident who has endured more tragedy than most from the landfill it is Dennis Kelly. Each winter a drainage flowing out of the landfill traces its way across Kelly's property with a soapy residue that stains soil and rocks. Kelly attributes this mysterious substance to the loss of many of his domestic animals to cancer as he now wages a battle with the same disease. Most local politicians and business leaders are turning a blind eye to a growing nightmare in their own backyard. Fortunately a handful of residents are fighting back. A feature length documentary, 'Garbage & Greed: Trashed in Napa Valley', pulls back the curtains on a community plagued by toxic waste, fires and the greed of one family unwilling to move their landfill.

  • Brian Lilla
  • Geoff Ellsworth
  • Flint Ellsworth
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature, Short, Web / New Media
  • Runtime:
    60 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    September 30, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    75,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1920 x 1080
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Brian Lilla

Brian Lilla is an award winning director whose films have had positive repercussions around the globe. Lilla's documentary Patagonia Rising investigated a proposal to build five large-scale dams in the heart of Patagonia, Chile. After airing on Netflix, The Discovery Channel and dozens of international television stations, Patagonia Rising helped inform Chile's final decision against building the dams. In 2021, Lilla completed Children Of The Vine, an investigation into the toxic impacts of Monsanto's Roundup, which is slated for release in 2022. Variety Magazine has described Lilla's work as "Intelligent and awe inspiring", while the New York Times wrote his work is "Beautifully filmed and patiently explained". Lilla lives in Napa, California, with his wife and two children.

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