Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer
|Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer|
Not Evil Just Wrong
Mine Your Own Business
|Ann & Phelim Media|
Ann McElhinney (born 1964) and Phelim McAleer (b. 4 April 1967) are Irish documentary filmmakers. They have written and produced the political documentaries FrackNation, Not Evil Just Wrong, and Mine Your Own Business, as well as The Search for Tristan's Mum and Return to Sender. They are married.
McAleer, who is from Beragh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland and who is a former student of the NCTJ course at the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education, began his journalism career by accepting a position at the Crossmaglen Examiner a local Northern Ireland newspaper in Co. Armagh, an area where the IRA operated. McAleer then moved to Northern Ireland's largest-selling daily, the Irish News, in Belfast. There he covered the Northern Ireland troubles and peace process, before becoming night editor. From 1998 to 2000, he worked for the UK Sunday Times in its Dublin office. From 2000 to 2003 he was the Romania/Bulgaria Correspondent for the Financial Times, and he also covered those countries for The Economist. It was this position that ultimately led him to filming documentaries.
McElhinney, who is from Ireland, has made documentaries for the BBC, CBC (Canada), and RTE (Ireland). She has been a guest on Dennis Miller and the Randi Rhodes show. McElhinney has worked as a journalist and filmmaker in the US, Canada, Romania, Bulgaria, Chile, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Ghana and Uganda.
FrackNation is a feature documentary which premiered in 2013, and aims to address misinformation about the process of hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking. FrackNation was inspired by a confrontation between Josh Fox, the director of the 2010 documentary Gasland, and McAleer. While Fox was promoting his film project McAleer confronted him about the historical records of people being able to ignite natural gas in water at "Burning Springs" long before fracking started. McAleer told the Los Angeles Times that Fox did not include that information in his film because he did not think it was relevant towards the current drilling impacts of certain areas.
McAleer told Politico he was motivated to make the film by the "one-sided approach taken by the media, 'outsiders' and 'urban elites'" on the fracking process. McAleer said there has been no real debate on the issue, with the environmental lobby relying on emotion and scare tactics to condemn fracking.
In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette McAleer stressed the film is trying to show both sides of the fracking discussion. "We're definitely covering the contamination" in the film, McAleer said. "We feature both sides."
In 2013, a sequel to Gasland titled Gasland Part II premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on 21 April 2013. A group of farmers, who were featured in FrackNation, along with McAleer and McElhinney, were not admitted into the premiere and claimed that it was because they asked difficult questions; organizers said that after guests who had purchased advanced tickets and waited in line had been admitted, the screening was full.
Not Evil Just Wrong
Not Evil Just Wrong is a film McElhinney and McAleer directed and produced to challenge Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. It suggests that the evidence for human-caused global warming is inconclusive, and that the impact of suggested legislation for mitigating climate change would be much more harmful to humans than beneficial. The movie was filmed in 2008, and was screened at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and at the Right Online conference in 2009.
Mine Your Own Business
Mine Your Own Business is a documentary partly funded by the Canadian Mining Company that looked at campaigns by foreign environmentalists against a large scale mining project in Romania that never came to fruition. The film looked at how the lives of the poor people in the area would have been affected if the mine had been built. McAleer agreed to film the documentary, funded by the Canadian Mining Company featured in the movie, after the company guaranteed that he and wife would retain creative control over its content. McAleer said of his findings during the shoot:
It was surprising that environmentalists would lie, but the most shocking part was yet to come. As I spoke to the Western environmentalists, it quickly emerged that they wanted to stop the mine because they felt that development and prosperity will ruin the rural "idyllic" lifestyle of these happy peasants. This "lifestyle" includes 70-percent unemployment, two-thirds of the people having no running water and using an outhouse in winters where the temperature can plummet to 20 degrees below zero centigrade.
In the documentary, McAleer films Mark Fenn from the World Wildlife Fund, who is shown living in luxurious conditions, at one point showing off his $35,000 sailboat to the cameras, all the while advocating the value of living a simplistic, village life.
The Search for Tristan's Mum
McElhinney and McAleer directed and co-produced "The Search for Tristan's Mum," which highlights the case of a toddler Tristan Dowse who was adopted by an Irish couple at birth—and then abandoned in an Indonesian orphanage two years later. It broadcast on RTÉ 1, the Irish state television station, in 2005. Tristan Dowse was an Indonesian boy adopted by an Irish man, Joe Dowse, and his Azerbaijani wife, Lala. After two years, Tristan was abandoned at the Indonesian orphanage from where he had been originally adopted, when, according to the Dowses, the adoption "hadn't worked out." At that stage, his adoption had been recognised by the Irish Adoption Board and he had been granted Irish citizenship. He could only speak English. In 2005, McAleer and McElhinney reunited the young boy with his natural mother, Suryani. In 2006, an Irish court ordered the Dowses to pay an immediate lump sum of €20,000 to Tristan, maintenance of €350 per month until he is 18 years of age, and a further lump sum of €25,000 when he reaches the age of 18. In addition, Tristan would remain an Irish citizen and enjoy all the rights to the Dowses’ estate. Tristan’s adoption was struck off the Register of Foreign Adoptions held by the Irish Adoption Board and Suryani was appointed his sole legal guardian.
This film was selected to be part of Input 2006, a showcase for programs representing national public broadcasters from around the world, and was duly screened for industry professionals at the film festival that year in Taiwan in May.
Kermit Gosnell film project
McElhinney and McAleer are developing a project about abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted on three of the murder charges, 21 felony counts of illegal late-term abortion, and 211 counts of violating the 24-hour informed consent law, May 2013. The murder charges related to a patient who died while under his care and seven newborns said to have been killed after being born alive during attempted abortions. The current film project is called the Gosnell Movie and it raised $2,241,043 on Indiegogo, ending its campaign on 12 May 2014. On Friday, 9 May 2014, the filmmakers, McElhinney and McAleer, announced that they had hit their funding goal for the movie and that the movie will be made. The Gosnell movie project has raised more money than any other movie project in Indiegogo history. During the fundraising period the project received endorsements from Hollywood actors such as Kevin Sorbo and Nick Searcy. Crowdfund Insider has called the Gosnell movie project the "Most Successfully Funded Campaign on Indiegogo". The campaign received contributions from 26,574 donors. Andrew Klavan has been hired to be the screenwriter for the movie.
McElhinney is a popular speaker at conservative conferences. Her most recent appearance was at Right Online in Las Vegas, hosted by Americans for Prosperity, where she spoke out in reaction to Van Jones—who had made an appearance at Netroots Nation. She spoke at both the 2009, 2010, and 2012 Conservative Political Action Conferences. In 2009, a U.S. poll identified McElhinney and her husband, Phelim McAleer, as the most popular conservative speakers after broadcaster Rush Limbaugh and columnist Ann Coulter.
Other global warming comments
McAleer attended the New York City premiere of The Age of Stupid, a movie about the last surviving human after the world's destruction by global warming, blaming air travel as the biggest contributor to global warming. When McAleer asked the movie director how she got to the premiere in New York, security kicked him out the event. Later, McAleer told the Irish News that the film should have been called the "Age of Hypocrisy."
McAleer attended a press conference held by the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) to interview Al Gore, one of his first in four years. He asked Gore about the 9 errors found in An Inconvenient Truth and if he had any plans to correct them, since the film is still shown in schools. Gore replied: "Well, I'm not going to go through all of those." McAleer countered that polar bear numbers had actually increased. Shortly afterward, his microphone was turned off by members of the SEJ. The SEJ has maintained that McAleer's mic was cut off due to him exceeding his time limit. McAleer has publicly disagreed, saying it was censorship.
In October 2010, film director James Cameron donated $1 million to oppose California's Prop 23, which would have overturned AB 32—California's climate change legislation. In response to this donation, McElhinney and McAleer made a short film; it alleged that passage of AB 32 would increase Californians' energy costs, and suggested that Cameron, who'd been quoted as saying, "we are going to have to live with less," lives a more energy-extravagant life than most Americans. The Independent said that this attack advertisement was "tapping a rich rhetorical vein", but ignores Cameron's distributor, 20th Century Fox, which buys carbon offsets.
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