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Page 6 ■ Thursday, April 5, 2012



May 22 - 24, 2012 • Bismarck Civic Center Advertise in the Bakken Breakout Daily Edition hotel wrap.

Industry cast in ‘FrackNation,’ fi lm on drilling

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The fracking

fi ght is coming soon to a theater near you.

More than a dozen Pennsylvania

communities that are home to natural gas drilling will get the big-screen treat- ment this summer in “FrackNation,” a new movie attempting to serve as a counterargument to the 2010 “Gasland” feature that still fuels the anti-drilling fracktivist movement. “FrackNation” was directed by Phe-

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lim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, a married couple living in Marina del Rey, Calif., whose previous subjects include Al Gore and anti-coal environmentalists. Their treatment of natural gas drilling will “look at both sides of the argument,” McAleer said. The fi lm, however, is being partially funded through donations on the Kick- starter website, and the roster of “ex- ecutive producers” who have donated at least $1 includes scores of energy indus- try associates. The fi lmmakers said they plan to return any donations given by “senior” workers in the industry, which they defi ne as executives. So far, “FrackNation” has raised more than $150,000 through the New York- based website, which allows anyone to contribute any amount of money to a project. McAleer and McElhinney are already

stars of the Republican Party and see the drilling debate as the latest example of out-of-touch, urban elites trying to dic- tate how the people closest to drilling live their lives. The fi lm will be timed to coincide

with the release of “Gasland 2,” an HBO- funded sequel to fi lmmaker Josh Fox’s takedown of the industry that also in- cludes signifi cant coverage of Pennsyl- vania.

The dueling documentaries illustrate

an expensive and unusual way to lobby: at the movies. Agenda-driven documen- taries have no guarantee of success, with some like “Super Size Me” — Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 indictment of the fast food industry — taking over the national conversation and making millions at the box offi ce. Others air on the Web only,

circulating only among the like-minded. Available footage and trailers of

“FrackNation” play rather like industry commercials that have already been seen across western Pennsylvania, telling sto- ries of farmers and landowners who say gas drilling provides economic stability. The fi lmmakers want to avoid their

work being labeled as pro-industry pro- paganda, but support for the project has been strongest among those who want to see just that. The team’s Kickstarter campaign —

meant to ensure that the fi lm is fi nanced by “the 99 percent” and not the wealthy few, McAleer said — has been promoted by pro-industry lobbying groups Energy in Depth and the Marcellus Shale Co- alition. The average donation is around $60, McAleer said.

Fracking fi lm creator to talk in Minot

One of the creators of an up-

coming documentary on hydraulic fracturing will speak this month in Minot. Ann McElhinney, co-creator of

the not yet released documentary “Frack Nation,” will be at the Holi- day Inn in Minot at 7 p.m. April 10 to discuss the fi lm, which looks at issues regarding the process of hydraulic fracturing,

also called

fracking. The North Dakota Policy Council is hosting the meeting. The fi lm is in response to the 2010 documentary


which questioned the safety of the fracking process. Tickets are $10 for those who are not members of the North Dakota Policy Council. For more informa- tion, visit

— Nick Smith

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