FrackNation, the controversial film that claims to tell the truth about fracking, premiered in Manhattan on January 7, at the Chelsea Cinema.
FrackNation features investigative journalist Phelim McAleer on a journey that takes him across America to find the truth about fracking. As he asked environmentalists difficult questions about their often emotional campaigns against fracking, McAleer was met with lawsuits, slammed doors, and gun threats.
The film is co-directed by a tightly knit team of three directors: Phelim McAleer, his wife Ann McElhinney and their colleague Magdalena Segieda.
FrackNation was funded through the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter. The filmmakers raised $212,265 from 3,305 backers on Kickstarter on April 6, 2012. It was one of the most successful documentary campaigns in the history of Kickstarter.
For more information about FrackNation, visit the website, Facebook, or Twitter pages. The following are national reviews of FrackNation:
Los Angeles Times (Mark Olson)
McAleer and McElhinney have previously directed two other documentaries attacking environmentalists, and by the time a talking head declares “shale gas is a gift from God” and another describes the process as “the miracle of the early 21st century,” it is fairly clear where “FrackNation” is coming from. Despite its relatively brief running time and specific aim, “FrackNation” is rather unfocused, hopping within moments from grilling a Delaware River Basin commissioner over “Gasland” to speaking to an elderly pensioner in Poland about her energy bill. Moments of McAleer and his team being kicked out of an event or not allowed on someone’s property are theatrical but irrelevant.
New York Daily News (Miriam Bale)
Though the film is titled “FrackNation,” it focuses almost exclusively on a small Pennsylvania town featured in director Josh Fox’s 2010 anti-fracking chronicle, “Gasland.” The climax here, a public confrontation between McAleer and Fox, turns anti-climactic. Fox simply ignores his antagonist and has him kicked out of the museum where Fox is speaking. With many of McAleer’s facts coming from casual Internet searches (backed by boring shots of the computer screen), the accuracy of this crowd-sourced documentary — funded by small donations on Kickstarter — seems as reliable as a Wikipedia entry.
National Review Online (Mark Mills)
FrackNation eviscerates one after another of Fox’s claims, including an assertion that breast-cancer rates soared around Texas’ shale-oil fields. The AP has reported the Texas Cancer Registry shows no such fact. McAleer’s gentle manner and Irish brogue are well-suited to this often emotionally charged issue. Still, at one point McAleer is threatened with potential violence by a woman who has claimed her well water was contaminated by fracking but refuses to share with McAleer the EPA test that showed otherwise. With a Freedom Of Information request, McAleer pried loose the EPA video documenting that agency’s contentious meeting with the homeowner. The issue for McAleer is not just the unreasonable alarmism on display, but its effect on the people who are denied the game-changing economic benefits wherever fracking is blocked.
The Hollywood Reporter (Frank Scheck)
The principal theme is the economic hardship imposed by rural communities and farmers by the banning of the process, which according to the film has been around since 1947. McAleer makes the claim that the vast majority affected are actually in favor of fracking, including numerous testimonials from heartland figures who make such claims that it would “maintain the natural beauty of the area” and that “shale gas is a gift from God.” More provocatively, he also makes purports that the anti-fracking movement is being funded by the Russians who are desperate to preserve their oil dominance. Whatever the truth of these claims, the film undercuts its convincingness with its hyperbolic approach. Indeed, the climactic montage–detailing the importance of energy to everything ranging from tap water to kidney transplants — makes Reefer Madness seem subtle.
To read the full review: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/fracknation-film-review-411039