The prerequisite of any sequel, and I say this respectfully, is to have bigger, better explosions,” Josh Fox, director of the Oscar-nominated Gasland told me. “Unfortunately, we have bigger, better explosions in the film, but the focus is really about the number one fracking site in America right now—Washington, D.C.” Fox’s new film, Gasland Part 2 will be screening at Guild Hall in East Hampton on Friday, July at 8 p.m. as part of the Hamptons International Film Festival’s SummerDocs series.
Fracking has been a hot-button issue for a while now. Fox’ earlier documentary, Gasland, won him a Special Jury Prize at Sundance, but has been targeted by pro-fracking groups (aka: gas companies) who are spending tons of money to bury the truth about fracking. Fracking, for those who don’t know, is the fracturing of rock using pressurized means in order to access the fuel resources beneath the surface. Governor Andrew Cuomo famously reversed his stance on fracking after an impassioned discussion with Bobby Kennedy Jr. back in March.
“The thing that happened in New York showed that New Yorkers have been learning about shale gas in record numbers to oppose the drilling,” Fox said. “It was a democratic effort. You saw a reinvention of the grassroots effort in preventing fracking. New Yorkers deserve all the credit for that.”
Gasland Part 2 is the continuation of the fracking debate. Fox, who was arrested in February for apparently filming Congressional hearings without the proper permits, was shooting Gasland 2 for HBO at the time, but appears undaunted by the arrest. Fox has talked about how, since Republican takeover in Congress, he’s been having difficulty getting into hearings.
“The whole of the Republican Party is pro-fracking. Disturbingly, the natural gas industry has done a number on the Democratic party, as well,” Fox said. “Obama advocated for natural-gas fracking not only for domestic use, but also for potential overseas export. While it’s nice to see a President talk about climate change and energy and all that, it’s unfortunate that President Obama is so misinformed about the issue.”
Environmentalists appear to be fighting an uphill battle, policy-wise in terms of reversing politicians’ stance on the controversial issue.
“It’s a stark contrast to what’s going on among the people,” Fox said. “Polls have shown that a majority of people in New York do not support fracking of any kind in New York. People in Pennsylvania, same thing. We’re saying that we’re winning the numbers among the citizens, what we need to do next is go after the politicians to have the same kind of bravery as the citizenry.”
Fox, who is not only a filmmaker, but also a passionate environmental activist, is excited for Gasland Part 2 to screen at Guild Hall in East Hampton. “I’m looking forward to it, it should be a great night,” Fox said. “Think of all the extreme weather we’ve been having. Sea-level rise, Hurricane Sandy, Long Island’s got a lot at stake here. There’s a study being written right now that indicates that offshore wind turbines actually break apart hurricane winds and slow them down. A certain number of wind turbines would actually dampen the effects of a Hurricane Sandy and potentially save more of the coastline when the next big hurricane hits.
“The best thing about wind turbines is that you’re not only getting an alternative energy source, but also what is, essentially, a wind wall,” Fox added. “These are certain things that Long Island really needs to think about and consider.
“We’ve seen people rising up against the natural gas industry, why hasn’t the government gotten the message?” Fox asked. “Why hasn’t the government stepped up to protect America? That’s the essential question behind Gasland Part 2. We have one of the most controversial issues in the public eye today. People know about fracking.”
The event will be hosted by Alec Baldwin, who will be directing a Q & A following the film with Josh Fox, as well as some environmental experts. Tickets are available now at GuildHall.org.
This event will likely sell out.