Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reviews Start to Appear for Gasland Part II

Josh Fox and Yoko Ono bask
in the spotlight together at
the Gasland Part II premiere
Reviews are starting to pop up for Gasland Part II in the aftermath of its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

From Science in Film:
The audience rose for a standing ovation after the sold-out Gasland Part II documentary. It was a world premier of the new movie on fracking held at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 21. This movie shows film and entertainment at its best, informing and enlightening the audience on an important, global political issue of our time.
Fracking became a dirty word after it contaminated water and land in Pennsylvania and Wyoming communities. Fracking is a type of gas drilling that uses hundreds of toxic chemicals injected into deep wells. The drilling breaks up shale rock and forces out subterranean shale gas. Gasland, the 2010 movie in the documentary film genre, followed the dirty trail of chemicals. They went from gas drilling to the waterways and then into water faucets in homes - that lit explosively on fire.
The film Gasland was nominated for an Academy Award in 2010. It blew up the volatile issue of fracking into a full scale environmental battle. Scientists, doctors, artists and grass roots community groups joined the cause all across the United States. Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon started Artists Against Fracking to speak out with the arts. The movie inspired me to write a novel about fracking that came out in 2012, called Brindle 24, the last day in the life of a town.
Read the rest here.  So the target audience - those that accepted everything in Gasland - seems to like it.

From oil and gas industry media arm Energy in Depth:
Was this the best Josh Fox could do? Apparently so. It was a totally disjointed presentation, with every significant allegation having already been addressed in great detail by Energy In Depth and other independent experts. Adding to the surreal nature of the film was the fact it began with a positive statement about natural gas by President Obama.
Fox is apparently now at a point where everyone is his enemy, from industry, to landowners who question his assertions, to major environmental organizations who don’t share his tactics, to even the President of the United States who sees value in natural gas as an energy source.  It all suggests a man who knows he’s on the losing side and is striking out at any and all who don’t accept the purist view, the one that gave him his 15 minutes of fame, which is now slowly slipping away. 
No wonder Fox is scared.  The game is up.  Gasland Part II isn’t a sequel.  It’s the death rattle of a burnt out movie going up in flames.  It’s Gasland Too, after all.
Read the rest here.  So, not surprisingly, the industry is going to tear the movie to shreds.

And then there is the case of FrackNation producers Phelim McAleer and Ann McIlhenney, who were planning to post reviews of the film but were excluded from attending the premiere after directing questions to Josh Fox as he was talking to the media on the red carpet prior to the screening.  Both have shared their thoughts on being barred from the screening.  First, from McAleer via the New York Post:
This was supposed to be a column about “Gasland 2,” the sequel to the anti-fracking documentary by activist Josh Fox, which premiered Sunday afternoon at the Tribeca Film Festival. Instead, it’s about my exclusion, along with maybe 20 farmers from upstate New York and Pennsylvania, from the screening despite having tickets for a theater with lots of empty seats.
Our mistake was to believe the Tribeca Film Festival’s claims to want diversity of opinion and people who are passionate about film.
As a journalist who made a documentary looking at the factual deficiencies in the first “Gasland,” I put some inconvenient questions to Josh Fox as he was speaking to the media on the red carpet.
The farmers milling around nearby decided to join in with pointed but respectful questions of their own. After all, they know their land better than anyone, and they felt aggrieved that their lives and communities had been misrepresented by the first “Gasland.”
You can read the rest of that article here.  Meanwhile, McAleer's wife and co-producer McIlhenney writes:
This should be a review of the documentary Gasland 2, the second documentary by anti-Fracking activist Josh Fox. It’s not a review because I was denied access to watch the film and I had a ticket. I wasn’t the only one. Crowds of farmers from PA and NYC who had bought tickets online a week ago and travelled since 4.30 in the morning were also denied access. 
How could this have happened? How could this have happened at the TriBeCa Film Festival which prides itself on the joys of diversity, controversy, artistic freedoms, free speech? 
The journey for those farmers to those closed doors at TriBeCa tells a worrying depressing lesson about the state of the US, the state of the union.
Read the rest of her statement here, at The Greenroom.

So much controversy and excitement.  And yet, it all seems to be so anti-climactic.  After all, regardless of the details, anyone could have known ahead of time that those opposed to fracking will love Gasland Part II, Energy in Depth and the industry in general would hate it, and that McAleer and McIlhenney would be upset about something that Josh Fox said or did.  All of these things have happened just in the past couple of days, and yet it somehow feels like really old news.

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