Earlier this year, I had planned to write a movie review each week, but a back injury and surgery ended up derailing those plans. I’m pretty sure I would have skipped Matt Damon’s new effort, Promised Land, a look at American oil and gas drilling efforts that apparently had all of the reality and even-handedness that Hollywood usually puts into its political fare:
The creators of Promised Land have gone to absurd lengths to vilify oil and gas companies, as Scribe’s Michael Sandoval noted Wednesday. Since recent events have demonstrated the relative environmental soundness of hydraulic fracturing – a technique for extracting oil and gas from shale formations – Promised Landƒ’s script has been altered to make doom-saying environmentalists the tools of oil companies attempting to discredit legitimate “fracking” concerns.
Now, however, the Heritage Foundation has taken a look at the real politics of Hollywood — and followed the money. It turns out that Damon’s new didact-o-pic gets much of its financing from those disinterested third parties to the issues of American energy production … the United Arab Emirates:
A new film starring Matt Damon presents American oil and natural gas producers as money-grubbing villains purportedly poisoning rural American towns. It is therefore of particular note that it is financed in part by the royal family of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates. …
While left-leaning Hollywood often targets supposed environmental evildoers, Promised Landwas also produced “in association with” Image Media Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media, according to the preview’s list of credits. A studio spokesperson confirmed that AD Media is financing the film. The company is wholly owned by the government of the UAE.
So what’s the problem? These guys just export glass figurines and live off of enviro-friendly tourism, right? Er …
The UAE, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has a stake in the future of the American fossil fuel industry. Hydraulic fracturing has increased the United States’ domestic supply of crude oil and natural gas in areas such as the Bakken shale formation and has the potential to increase domestic production much more in the foreseeable future. That means more oil on the market, and hence lower prices for a globally traded commodity.
Fracking is boosting the country’s natural gas supply as well. While the market for American natural gas is primarily domestic, the Energy Department recently approved Cheniere Energy’s plan to export about 2.2 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas per day from Louisiana. The Department is considering LNG export applications from seven other companies.
Looks like the UAE is getting their money’s worth from Hollywood, eh?
As usual, truth is stranger than fiction … but not by much. The brilliant film Thank You For Smoking anticipated this very outcome (NSFW – language):
The UAE ain’t exactly a democracy, either. I look forward to Damon’s next film, The Moneyed Land, in which Damon goes undercover to find Arab sheikhs laughing their rear ends off at limousine enviro-liberals in Hollywood. I’m pretty sure that it will have to be an independent movie, though.