Fracking issue creating a reel buzz with documentary, drama

Fracking issue creating a reel buzz with documentary, drama by Mark Hume, January 6, 2013, The Globe and Mail
The debate over gas development in northeast British Columbia has been building in intensity over the past two years, but it is just starting to heat up. The release of a new film, Promised Land, starring Matt Damon as a gas-company representative who gets ranchers to sign away leasing rights, will give the issue a high profile this winter. And coming soon on the heels of the Hollywood release will be a made-in-B.C. documentary called Fractured Land, which hopes to get everyone talking about the impact of hydraulic fracturing on the environment and on native communities. Suddenly, fracking, an issue largely obscured by the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline controversy, is vaulting to the silver screen and into the consciousness of British Columbians. … If there was any doubt the public relations battle was building, it was dispelled late last week when the newly founded Shale Resource Centre Canada fired off a long commentary on Promised Land. “With the Canadian debut … shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing could become a hotter topic in the coming months,” states the centre’s blog, which uses the film as a talking point to discuss the positive impacts of the industry. “We know it’s a Hollywood movie. The industry just wants to get the facts out,” said Karen Carle, a spokeswoman for Shale Resource Centre Canada, a new non-profit founded just last month. The centre brushed off Mr. Damon’s latest vehicle as “a fictional Hollywood movie and not a documentary on shale gas development.” … Gasland, by U.S. filmmaker Josh Fox, released in 2010, was the first documentary to draw wide attention to the issue of fracking. Promised Land dramatizes the issue, with conflicts and love interests thrown in, along with the star power of Mr. Damon. Fractured Land will tell the story through the eyes of a young native leader, who is largely unknown, but who has a law-school education and a passion for life in the bush. It will be interesting to see which film has the greatest impact.

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