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Republican lawmakers bash Gasland; want it pulled from international program

By Fritz Mayer
March 27, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — A group of 32 mostly Republican members of the House of Representative have written a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking that the movie “Gasland” be dropped from the American Film Showcase program.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, together with the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, selected Gasland and 28 other films to be part of the program, which involves showing the films to international audiences.

A press release issued on February 9 said, “The showcase represents work of high artistic quality, illustrates diverse viewpoints, and reflects contemporary American society and culture. In addition to presenting the films to overseas audiences, the filmmakers and film experts will also conduct lectures, workshops, master classes on a variety of topics including filmmaking, storytelling, cinematography, marketing, distribution and funding, animation, digital technology and emergent media, among others.”

The congressmen, however, do not agree that “Gasland,” which centers on the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing, belongs in the program. The letter, sent on March 22, says, “We are disappointed the State Department has chosen "Gasland," directed by Joshua Fox, to be included.

While the film itself has received much critical acclaim and wide attention, it has also faced serious criticism for factual errors and misleading statements about hydraulic fracturing. It is concerning that you would choose a film that has so poorly informed the public about this important tool as an example of excellence to the world.”

The letter asserts that communities have benefited from fracking through economic growth and the creation of jobs, and accuses the State Department of having a radical agenda.
The letter says, “This decision concerning this film and your earlier decision to deny the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline demonstrates how a radical environmental agenda has taken over at the State Department. This agenda runs counter to the vast majority of Americans who want responsible American-made energy. Therefore, this film does not "reflect contemporary American society and culture" and should not be promoted by the federal government.”

The letter asked that the film be removed, and that the selection criteria of the program be provided to the lawmakers so they could understand how the film was chosen.