Monday, March 1, 2010

Gasland at the True/False Film Festival

Yesterday I went to see Gasland at the True/False Film Festival. I had never been to the festival before and didn't know what to expect, but I left the film Sunday morning wishing I had picked about a dozen other shows to attend.

The best thing about documentaries is their ability to both inform and entertain. So, as in Gasland, you learn about the scary process of natural gas drilling ("fracking") while watching people light their tainted tap water on fire. Gasland made me angry: I couldn't stop thinking about the clouds of hydrocarbons rolling off natural gas condensation tanks across the country. People have developed brain lesions and neuropathy from their exposure to so-called safe natural gas wells, while the rest of us breathe in the toxic vapor that evaporates from the fracking waste water pools. What the frack?!

(Josh Fox lights a homeowner's tainted tap water on fire.)

Filmmaker Josh Fox created Gasland after he was offered $100,000 to lease his land for natural gas drilling. He traveled the country from Pennsylvania to Colorado to Wyoming to DISH (formerly Clark), Texas (where the mayor explained that all residents in town get free DISH Network. DISH also serves as a major hub for the natural gas pipelines—with all the adverse health effects that follow). In the process, he paints a scary picture of so-called "clean" natural gas. The drilling process is a slipshod, unregulated mess of secret chemicals and substandard procedures: it requires a mind-boggling amount of water, dumps toxins into the earth and air, and robs people of their clean drinking water and fresh air.

(This farmer's cattle drink tainted water (see natural gas wells in the background)... which ends up on store shelves.)

One of the best things about the festival is that many of the filmmakers are in the audience to discuss their films, and Josh Fox was no exception. He introduced his film before the screening and held a Q-and-A session afterward.

(Josh Fox)

Gasland is a disturbing film in an artistic, engaging package. You should see it. This affects you and your water supply directly. Much of the country is slated to be tapped for natural gas, and we have the Cheney-instigated loopholes in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to thank for it. (Naturally, Halliburton is one of the main drilling companies involved.)

Here's the trailer...

Check out the Gasland blog for more information.

Sorry to get all political on you. I just can't stop thinking about this film.


  1. And now you want to go back next year for even more films. I managed to slip in 12 films over the weekend and I didn't see Gas Land. It really is the best weekend of the year in COMO.

  2. Yes. I'm hooked. I can't wait for next year--already--now that I know how enjoyable it is. Twelve films is impressive.