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Dueling fracking films; ‘Gasland Part ll’ and ‘FrackNation’

The Callicoon Theatre and Sidetracks Bar and Lounge will host screenings of anti- and pro-hydraulic fracturing films on June 8.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

By Fritz Mayer
June 5, 2013

There will likely be more than 300 people in the seats at the Callicoon Theatre on June 8, when the screening of “Gasland Part II” and conversation with director Josh Fox is held. It’s not clear how many people will crowd into the Sidetracks Bar & Lounge next door to the theatre when the movie “FrackNation” will also be shown, along with a conversation with director Phelim McAleer. Both events will begin at 10:30 a.m.

McAleer has arranged for several screenings of his movie to be held alongside screenings of Fox’s new film.

Fox’s first film about hydraulic fracturing was nominated for an Oscar. Actress Hollu Voges wrote the following about the new film for its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year: “With ‘Gasland Part II,’ Fox examines the long-run impact of the controversial process, including poisonous water, earthquakes and neurological damage, placing his focus on the people whose lives have been irreparably changed.

“Traveling from the Gulf of Mexico to the heart of Texas and back up to the Delaware River basin, he thoroughly investigates the effects of this once-touted energy source, as well as the industry’s equally disturbing reaction to negative claims via smear campaigns and lawsuits. ‘Gasland Part II’ shows how the anti-fracking movement has done its best to amplify its message while the million-dollar conglomerates employ PSY-OPS tactics to shut it down. Unnerving interviews and shocking data underscore this scathing indictment of unregulated industry in Fox’s powerful, not-to-be-missed follow-up.”

“FrackNation” was McAleer’s response to the original “Gasland.” Marcellus Drilling News says, “In ‘FrackNation’ journalist Phelim McAleer faces threats, cops and bogus lawsuits questioning green extremists for the truth about fracking. McAleer uncovers fracking facts suppressed by environmental activists, and he talks with rural Americans whose livelihoods are at risk if fracking is banned. Emotions run high, but the truth runs deep.”

McAleer says that the film was made by 3,305 supporters on Kickstarter who donated a total of $212,265 to fund the making of the film. But Steve Horn, writing for, says that in past films McAleer and his partner Ann McElhinney have received funding from Donors Capital and Donors Trust. Mother Jones Magazine wrote of those two organizations that they allow “wealthy contributors who want to donate millions to the most important causes on the right to do so anonymously, essentially scrubbing the identity of those underwriting conservative and libertarian organizations.”