Promised Land: Matt Damon's driller thriller about fracking
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Friday 05 April 2013
It doesn't sound like a subject to appeal to Hollywood, yet fracking is coming to a screen near you, and film-makers are as deeply divided on its merits as everyone else. Later this month, fracking-based drama Promised Land arrives in UK cinemas. Matt Damon plays a conflicted corporate salesman trying to persuade rural townspeople to sell their natural-gas drilling rights.
According to Phelim McAleer, maker of the new pro-fracking documentary Fracknation, the process was barely considered controversial until 2010, when director Josh Fox released his Emmy-winning HBO film Gasland, which claimed fracking polluted drinking water and caused widespread illness. Most famously, Fox filmed tap water bursting into flames. "Gasland is one of the most influential documentaries of the last 10 years," says McAleer. "It took a process that's been going on half a century and made it scary and sinister."
An incensed former Sunday Times journalist, McAleer decided to make his own rival film. Fracknation's $150,000 budget was raised on Kickstarter. It paints a rosy picture of hydraulic fracturing, rubbishing many of the claims made in Gasland – specifically the flaming taps, a phenomenon McAleer says had nothing to do with fracking.
McAleer is upfront about having been funded by fossil-fuel firms on previous projects, but for Fracknation, he insists he and his colleagues returned any donations from energy executives: about $30,000.
Now Fox is making a second critical film about fracking.
'Promised Land' is released on 19 April; 'Fracknation' is out on DVD
Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Katie Hopkins gives rare glimpse of sensitive side with heartfelt open letter to her children penned in case she dies from epilepsy
- 2 Rihanna's Met Gala dress took one Chinese woman 2 years to make, was reduced to omelette meme in 2 seconds
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Penny Dreadful, series 2 episode 1, review: It is still gloriously silly
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
Eurovision 2015: What date and time is the song contest and who are the favourites to win?
Indiana Jones sequel confirmed by Lucasfilm - but will Harrison Ford return to the franchise?
How the Other Half Eat, Channel 4 - TV review: Swapping food trolleys shows how food and class are closely connected
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils