For decades, filmmakers have used their medium to educate and mobilize the movie-going public around environmental and public health dangers that have lurked in our midst. From China Syndrome’s (1979) warning about nuclear meltdown – which eerily preceded the Three Mile Island disaster by just days – to Erin Brockovich’s (2000) gutsy crusade against industrial water polluters, films have been a highly effective means of reaching large audiences with important messages that inform and motivate while they entertain.
Now, as the campaign against fracking emerges as the most critical environmental and public health-related fight in years, we’ve got our movie to compliment the movement. Promised Land, a film by Gus Van Sant (of Good Will Hunting fame) is a compelling story of small-town American struggle and big-business corporate exploitation at the hands of the oil and gas industry. It’s all about fracking.
Starring Matt Damon, John Krasinski and Frances McDormand, Promised Land opens this Friday across the nation. It tells the story of Steve Butler (Damon), a gas company “land man” who has been dispatched to a rural agricultural town to buy up fracking leases from struggling landowners who are largely unaware of the dangers fracking holds for their community. As Butler attempts to negotiate the small-town dynamics and disparate personalities that align over the fracking issue, he is forced to question his own beliefs and motivations. In the end, one message dominates all others: oil and gas companies can’t be trusted.
Go see Promised Land, and encourage others to do so as well. Movies like this one have the power to educate, energize and bring about action. We think you’ll agree.
There’s one person in particular that really needs to check out Promised Land – Governor Cuomo. On Wednesday, Jan. 9, we and hundreds of concerned residents from throughout the state will be joining together in Albany at Cuomo’s State of the State Address to urge him to protect our health and safety by banning fracking in New York. Learn more about this important action here, and please plan on joining us Wednesday.
But in the meantime, go see Promised Land. We think you’ll enjoy the film.