Director Josh Fox Back in the News with Short Film and a Study on the Impact of Gasland

Gasland director Josh Fox has for some years been one of the most prominent faces of the anti-fracking movement.  The headlines have been a little fewer and farther between for the filmmaker in recent months, but today there are a couple of different items that have him and his 2010 movie in the news.

First, from EurekAlert! Science News:
By measuring an uptick in online searches as well as social media chatter and mass media coverage, Ion Bogdan Vasi, an associate professor of sociology at the UI and corresponding author of a new study, demonstrated how local screenings of Gasland -- a 2010 American documentary that focused on communities affected by natural gas drilling -- affected the public debate on hydraulic fracking. Additionally, Vasi and his collaborators demonstrated how local screenings were linked to an increase in anti-fracking mobilizations that, in turn, influenced the passage of local bans on fracking. 
"There are few studies that describe the effect of documentaries on collective behaviors and social movement campaigns," Vasi says. "They used anecdotal evidence but not rigorous research." 
The study, "'No Fracking Way!' Documentary Film, Discursive Opportunity, and Local Opposition against Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, 2010-2013," was published online today and will appear in the October print issue of the American Sociological Review. 
According to the study, "screenings of Gasland in different locations had an effect on the mobilization of local campaigns against the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing; in turn, those local mobilizations made local policymakers significantly more likely to take action to ban the practice of fracking." 
Vasi, who studies collective behaviors, says the documentary worked as a catalyst for policy changes in the Marcellus Shale region (Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and West Virginia) where Gasland was filmed. 
"The documentary clearly made an impact, but it was indirect," he says. "On average, more screenings led to more mobilizations, which led to policy changes."
The findings of this study are pretty easy to believe.  Gasland undoubtedly had a large impact on the movement against shale drilling, and is still constantly referenced by fracktivists, despite industry efforts to discredit Fox's movie.  Click here to read more about that study.

Fox is also in the news because of a long-in-the-works short film entitled Gaswork, which will air on the MSNBC program All In with Chris Hayes on October 1.  Here is the trailer:


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