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Documentary Film In the Works to Rebuke Gasland

Irish ex patriot journalist/filmmakers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer call their project "the film that will tell the truth about fracking," on their website, which includes the slogan, "There are two sides to every story, and then there is the truth."

Saying that they are independent of any industry funding, the pair attribute the motivation for the project to "journalistic censorship." McAleer questioned Fox at a screening of Gasland, during which Fox admitted people in the film could light their tap water long before fracking was introduced. "The 'lighting water' scene is one of the famous parts of Gasland, and it led to many of the scares surrounding the process," McElhinney and McAleer said.

After the confrontation appeared on YouTube and some legal skirmishes with Fox, McAleer decided "this was a great story; it got me interested in what he is covering up," the filmmaker told NGI's Shale Daily Wednesday.

McAleer and McElhinney, along with a third journalist from Poland, where shale fracking is starting to take hold, have completed interviews with residents and workers in shale gas producing areas who told them about positive experiences between their communities and the gas exploration/production industry.

Fox most made news last week for getting arrested on Capitol Hill during Congressional hearings on fracking (see Shale Daily, Feb. 2).

The FrackNation filmmakers recently launched an Internet fund-raising drive for their project, seeking to raise $150,000 by April 6. The pair's website showed Wednesday that they had hit the $22,000 mark. Under the Internet funding system offered by "KickStarter" a project must meet its goal in pledges to obtain the funding; it is all or nothing.

These are not typical filmmakers -- they refer to themselves as "controversial" -- and they want a project "funded by the people for the people." They are attempting to counteract what they say is an HBO-funded, $750,000 Gasland sequel that Fox is planning to make.

"Normally, KickStarter projects are pro-radical environmentalism," said McAleer. "FrackNation will be the first documentary funded through KickStarter to challenge the environmental establishment. It will appeal to the workers and small farmers who know the truth but never see it represented in modern documentaries."

Interviews already completed appear on the website, including one with a farmer whose royalties from shale gas production have saved his farm; a Dimock, PA, homeowner who says her drinking water is "just fine;" and a dairy farmer in Calicoon, NY, who worries that if gas production is kept off his land he will have to sell portions of it to developers.

The two filmmakers have specialized in challenging the environmental movement in films such as Not Evil Just Wrong (2009) on climate change, and Mine Your own Business (2006) about the mining industry and environmentalists. McAleer is a former foreign correspondent for the Financial Times.

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