Green Room

The (non-)review of Gasland Part II

posted at 11:38 am on April 23, 2013 by

Gasland 2, Josh Fox’s sequel to his anti-fracking film Gasland, debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival — but not everyone was allowed in to see it.  My good friend Phelim McAleer writes in today’s New York Post that Robert DeNiro’s film festival kept him and his wife out of the showing, as well as a number of farmers whose income the film may impact:

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.”

They asked Fox if he now accepted that the water in Dimock, Pa., is clean. He’d claimed that Dimock was one of the most contaminated areas in the United States because of fracking. But state scientists and then the EPA investigated and found the water clean.

The farmers asked Fox if he’d accept the science and apologize for calling their community a wasteland. He didn’t reply. …

As the red carpet cleared and the farmers went to take their seats, they and I were informed that we weren’t being allowed in. No amounts of appealing or complaining did any good.

It seems that inconvenient questions aren’t welcome at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Phelim’s wife Ann McIlhenny was supposed to provide us with her review of the film.  Instead, she wrote this after being excluded:

99% not welcome at TriBeCa Film Festival

By Ann McElhinney

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.

According to Gasland, the water in Dimock PA has been contaminated by Fracking and the people living there are are ill. The truth however is that 99% of people living in Dimock say that is simply not true. The 99% say their water is fine, they are not ill and that 11 litigants who say otherwise are not telling the truth. But it’s not just a case of 11 people said one thing and 1500 others say something different.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) analysed the water and could find no contamination. This was not good enough for the 11 litigants who asked the federal EPA to test the water. The EPA after exhaustive testing could not find contamination.

Despite this overwhelming evidence and the voices of the 99% Gasland director Josh Fox refuses to correct the record and Yoko Ono, Susan Sarandon and Mark Ruffalo have all ignored the 99%, the DEP and the EPA and continue to say Dimock water is contaminated. What can locals do?

On Sunday the farmers who came to the TriBeCa film festival were part of that 99%. They shouted out pointed questions to Josh Fox about the inaccuracies in his documentary. Fox and Yoko Ono ignored all the questions. And when the farmers tried to see Gasland 2 they were shut out of the screening.

For them to be ignored and then shut out of the film is a dreadful reminder of the power of the elite, of the 1% to ignore truth, to ignore the little guy.
The stark picture of mutil millionaire, one percenter, Yoko Ono smiling for the cameras on the red carpet, while poor Pennsylvania farmers were shut out, is eloquent.
Robert de Nero’s TriBeCa film festival may be a lot of things but it’s certainly not the people’s film festival.

She also sends this video of their exclusion:

Hey, if they can’t answer the questions, they’d rather everyone not notice it.

Update: Unfortunately for Fox, the New York Times noticed:

A group of protesters who tried to attend a premiere screening of the documentary “Gasland Part II” at the Tribeca Film Festival was denied admission on Sunday, leading to a disagreement on Monday over the reason: protesters say they were thrown out for asking difficult questions about the film, and the festival’s organizers say the screening was full.

Except, of course, that the excluded had already bought their tickets. Or does Tribeca always overbook?

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Comments

Propaganda. Disappointed in DeNiro.

hawkdriver on April 23, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Lenin would be proud.

itsspideyman on April 23, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Film School 101: if the scene doesn’t fit the narrative, edit it out.

DarthBrooks on April 23, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Hey, Ed. This should be on the main page, not off in the corner in the Green Room.

iurockhead on April 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Fox lied, moviegoers denied!

redzap on April 23, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Josh Faux, as I like to say. *liberal-esque smug*

MechanicalBill on April 23, 2013 at 12:55 PM

If people who had bought tickets were denied access, couldn’t they very publicly demand a refund?

Preaching to the choir. No independent thinking allowed.

Steve Z on April 23, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Hey, Ed. This should be on the main page, not off in the corner in the Green Room.

iurockhead on April 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Agreed. This is shameful and disgusting.

SailorMark on April 23, 2013 at 7:27 PM