Gasland

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For the Norwegian politician and psychiatrist, see Anders Gåsland.
Gasland
Gaslandlogo.jpg
Directed by Josh Fox
Produced by Trish Adlesic
Molly Gandour
Josh Fox
David Roma
Written by Josh Fox
Narrated by Josh Fox
Cinematography Josh Fox
Edited by Matthew Sanchez
Distributed by New Video Group/HBO/International WOW Company
Release dates
  • January 24, 2010 (2010-01-24) (Sundance)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Gasland is a 2010 American documentary written and directed by Josh Fox. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2011, the film focuses on communities in the United States affected by natural gas drilling and, specifically, a method of horizontal drilling into shale formations known as hydraulic fracturing.

Synopsis[edit]

John Fenton, a farmer and rancher from Pavillion, Wyoming, USA, has become an internationally recognized anti-hydraulic fracturing activist following his appearance in Gasland. He is pictured here at a public event in Sheridan, Wyoming, USA, on September 15, 2012. [1]

Fox narrates his reception of a letter in May, 2008, from a natural gas company offering to lease his family's land in Milanville, Pennsylvania for $100,000 to drill for gas.[2] Fox then set out to see how communities are being affected in the west where a natural gas drilling boom has been underway for the last decade. He spent time with citizens in their homes and on their land as they relayed their stories of natural gas drilling in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Texas, among others. He spoke with residents who have experienced a variety of chronic health problems directly traceable to contamination of their air, of their water wells or of surface water. In some instances, the residents are reporting that they obtained a court injunction or settlement money from gas companies to replace the affected water supplies with potable water or water purification kits.[3]

Throughout the documentary, Fox reached out to scientists, politicians, and gas industry executives and ultimately found himself in the halls of Congress as a subcommittee was discussing the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, "a bill to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal a certain exemption for hydraulic fracturing."[4] Hydraulic fracturing was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.[5]

Production[edit]

Josh Fox plays his banjo at a jam session following an environmental meeting in Sheridan, Wyoming, USA, on November 5, 2011. Fox was the featured speaker.

Gasland was conceived, directed, primarily filmed and narrated by Fox. This is his first documentary and second film; his first was a narrative feature entitled Memorial Day. The executive producers of Gasland are Debra Winger and Hunter Gray; producers are Trish Adlesic, Fox and Molly Gandour; co-produced by David Roma; cinematographers are Fox and Matthew Sanchez; editor is Matthew Sanchez; supervising sound editor is Brian Scibinico;[6] animators are Juan Cardarelli and Alex Tyson; consultants are Morgan Jenness and Henry Chalfant and researchers are Molly Gandour, Barbara Arindell, Fox and Joe Levine.[7]

The documentary was made in about eighteen months. Fox began the project as a one man crew, but was joined by three other cameras at different points.[8] Matt Sanchez is credited with the structure of the film and together with Fox edited roughly 200 hours of footage to about 100 minutes.[9]

In 2008, when Josh Fox first began to investigate fracking, there was scant scientific evidence or research on the subject. As of 2015, over 400 peer-reviewed scientific papers on fracking related subjects have been published, the overwhelming majority of which confirm the facts of Fox's reporting on water contamination, air pollution, health effects, earthquakes and other fracking related ills. A full database of these peer-reviewed papers can be found here: https://www.zotero.org/groups/pse_study_citation_database/items

Reception[edit]

Positive[edit]

Robert Koehler of Variety referred to it as "one of the most effective and expressive environmental films of recent years… Gasland may become to the dangers of natural gas drilling what Silent Spring was to DDT.”[10]

Eric Kohn of IndieWire wrote, "Gasland is the paragon of first person activist filmmaking done right… By grounding a massive environmental issue in its personal ramifications, Fox turns Gasland into a remarkably urgent diary of national concerns."[11]

Stewart Nusbaumer of the Huffington Post wrote "Gasland... just might take you from outrage right into the fire of action."[12]

Gasland currently holds a 97% rating on the film site Rotten Tomatoes based on 37 reviews.[13] Mark Kermode of BBC Radio 5 Live gave it a generally positive review, criticizing its similarity to other recent oil documentaries, yet praising its "extraordinary visual kick". He said "it is a very interesting story which is made better by the fact that the visuals of it are very poetic, very lyrical", and felt that its themes and ideas were relevant and well presented.

The Denton Record Chronicle said “Fox decides that his own backyard in Pennsylvania isn’t his exclusive property... Set to his own banjo music and clever footage, Gasland is both sad and scary... if your soul isn’t moved by the documentary, yours is a heart of shale."[14]

Bloomberg News critic Dave Shiflett wrote that Fox "may go down in history as the Paul Revere of fracking."[15]

Chicago TimeOut gave Gasland four out of five stars.[16]

In Australia, film critic Julie Riggs called the documentary a "horror movie, and a wake-up call."[17][18]

Fort Worth Business Press writer John-Laurent Tronche talks about the growing number of documentaries “that aim to shed a light on what they call a dirty, destructive practice: shale gas exploration. And although oil and gas supporters have labeled the motion pictures as radical propaganda, a local drilling activist said they’re part of a larger, critical look into an ever-growing industry."[19]

Negative[edit]

Energy in Depth (EiD), launched by the Independent Petroleum Association of America,[20] has created a web page with a list of claimed factual inaccuracies in the documentary,[21] and produced an associated film titled TruthLand.[22] In response to the EID's list of claimed factual inaccuracies, the makers of Gasland offered a rebuttal.[23]

In an article for Forbes magazine, Dr. Michael Economides, a professor of engineering at the University of Houston, commented on the Gasland scene of "a man lighting his faucet water on fire and making the ridiculous claim that natural gas drilling is responsible for the incident. The clip, though attention-getting, is wildly inaccurate and irresponsible. To begin with, the vertical depth separation between drinking water aquifers and reservoir targets for gas production is several thousand feet of impermeable rock. Any interchange between the two, if it were possible, would have happened already in geologic time, measured in tens of millions of years, not in recent history."[24]

A rebutting documentary FrackNation was successfully funded on Kickstarter. FrackNation has since had TV, DVD, theatrical release as well as viewings in governmental committees and scientific committees world wide.[25]

Awards[edit]

Won

  • 2011 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming (Josh Fox)
  • 2010 Environmental Media Award for Best Documentary Feature
  • 2010 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize
  • 2010 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Artistic Vision award
  • 2010 Thin Line Film Festival Audience Award
  • 2010 Yale Environmental Film Festival Grand Jury Prize
  • 2010 Sarasota Film Festival Special Jury Prize

Nominated

Sequel[edit]

On February 2, 2012 Gasland's director Josh Fox was handcuffed and arrested as he attempted to film a Congressional hearing on gas drilling by hydraulic fracturing which the Environmental Protection Agency reported caused water contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming. Fox said he was arrested after Republicans refused to allow him to film because he did not have the proper credentials.[26]

A sequel to Gasland titled Gasland Part II premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 21, 2013.[27][28][29][30] A group of farmers, who were featured in FrackNation, were barred from attending the premier; the Festival stated that the group had not arrived in time and that the screening was full.[31][32][33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Illawarra Mercury Website (Australia). Fenton, John. (2014, February 28). CSG industry’s solution: bury proof. (Retrieved 2014-03-18.)
  2. ^ Australia's Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) film page on Gasland. 2010-11-19
  3. ^ Quoted from the Gasland documentary itself, at about minutes 35-40.
  4. ^ 111th United States Congress. "S. 1215: Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act." 2010-04-27
  5. ^ Energy Policy Act of 2005. Pub. L. 109-58, TITLE III, Subtitle C, SEC. 322. Hydraulic fracturing. 2011-02-06
  6. ^ "Brian Scibinico". imdb. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  7. ^ Sundance Film Festival. “Artists Interview at Sundance and About the Film.” 2010-04-24.
  8. ^ MakingOf. "Interview: Josh Fox." 2010-02-25. 2010-05-04.
  9. ^ IndieWire. “Sundance ’10: Gasland Director Josh Fox on Being a One Man Crew.” 2010-01-22. 2010-04-24.
  10. ^ Koehler, Robert (2010-01-25). "Gasland Movie Review from the Sundance Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  11. ^ Kohn, Eric (2010-01-30). "The Toxic Avenger: Josh Fox's 'GasLand'". indieWIRE. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  12. ^ Nusbaumer, Stewart (2010-02-18). "Big Sky Doc Film Fest: Gasland Fuel for Justice". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  13. ^ "Gasland (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. 
  14. ^ Breeding, Lucinda (2010-02-18). "'GasLand' Worthy of Sundance Accolades". Denton Record-Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  15. ^ Shiflett, Dave (2010-06-21). "Cook a Hamburger, Blow Up Your Polluted Town". Bloomberg. 
  16. ^ Kenigsberg, Ben (2010-11-24). "Gasland - Film - Time Out Chicago". Chicago.timeout.com. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  17. ^ "Movietime - 19 November 2010 - Gasland". Abc.net.au. 2010-11-19. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  18. ^ "RN Australia Talks - 8 December 2010 - Australia Talks Movies: Gasland". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  19. ^ Tronche, John-Laurent (2010-04-12). "Drilling Documentaries Abound as Shale Gas Goes Nationwide". Fort Worth Business Press. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  20. ^ Honan, Edith (2010-06-17). "Film challenges safety of U.S. shale gas drilling". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  21. ^ Energy in Depth (June 9, 2010). "Debunking GasLand". Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  22. ^ "A project of IPAA and Energy In Depth". TruthLand Movie. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  23. ^ "Affirming Gasland". 
  24. ^ Economides, Michael (2010-04-22). "Slurring Natural Gas with Flaming Faucets and Other Propaganda". Forbes.com. 
  25. ^ http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/23/fracking-industry-booming-despite-liberal-protesta/
  26. ^ "Gasland" Director Josh Fox Arrested at Congressional Hearing on Natural Gas Fracking. Democracy Now, February 2, 2012
  27. ^ Jeff Goodell. "New Anti-Fracking Film by Gasland's Josh Fox Targets Cuomo: 'Governor, What Color Will the Sky Be Over New York?' | Jeff Goodell | Politics News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  28. ^ Posted: 05/15/2012 3:56 pm (2012-05-15). "Josh Fox, 'Gasland' Filmmaker And Activist, Working On Documentary Sequel". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  29. ^ "Josh Fox Arrested on Capitol Hill While Filming 'Gasland' Sequel | Filmmakers, Film Industry, Film Festivals, Awards & Movie Reviews". Indiewire. 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  30. ^ "Gasland Part II". Tribeca Enterprises LLC. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  31. ^ Fox News, 'FrackNation' filmmaker claims group of farmers was barred from 'Gasland Part II' screening at Tribeca, April 23, 2013
  32. ^ "Tribeca Film Festival lies about shutting out farmers". FrackNation. April 22, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  33. ^ "Tribeca Film Festival Turns Away Protesters Who Had Tickets to ‘Gasland’ Sequel". New York Times. April 22, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 

External links[edit]