During his short-yet-impressive career as a documentary filmmaker, Milwaukee native Spencer Chumbley has shot for such internationally regarded news outlets as VICE, AL Jazeera, TIME, and more. He’s covered everything from riots overseas and community injustice within minutes of his hometown. Though he’s lived in London, New York, and currently resides in Washington D.C. since departing Milwaukee years ago, Chumbley’s lens has remained fixed on the Midwest.
In 2014, he—along with fellow Milwaukeeans Erik Ljung, Matthew Mixon, and Daniel Peters—produced a VICE News piece about the controversial death of 16-year-old Corey Stingley entitled “The Death Of Corey Stingley.” Late last year, he spearheaded Oil & Water, a 17-minute project for Motherboard about the potentially disastrous lack of upkeep of underwater oil pipelines in Lake Michigan. He also co-founded DISCOURSE, a production company and documentary film collective with Ljung and former Fatty Acids member Joel Van Haren, among others. While in town to screen Oil & Water at Company Brewing (and before tonight’s screening at Madison’s Ale Asylum Brewery), Chumbley met up with host Tyler Maas to discuss the importance of his latest project, the Stingley case, his path from Milwaukee’s hardcore scene to a career in docs, and advice for aspiring filmmakers.
As always, this episode is brought to you by our friends at Ale Asylum. Music in this episode comes courtesy of Surgeons In Heat (“You Never Know”) and The Young Revelators (“Lookin'”). Subscribe to On The Record via iTunes or Stitcher (for free!).