Award winning doco coming to Cairns

Thursday 13 January 2011

Award winning doco coming to Cairns


In September 2006, theatre director and part-time banjo player Josh Fox received an unexpected letter in the mail. A natural gas company was offering him $100 000 for permission to explore his family’s upstate New York property, in the lush Delaware River Basin area.

Rather than join many of his neighbours in signing on the dotted line, Josh’s curiosity saw him asking questions.

He soon discovered that in the race for ‘cleaner’, greener and more efficient energy sources, the largest natural gas drilling boom in history is sweeping the globe, and in the US, the drilling technology of hydraulic fracturing (or ‘fracking’) has unlocked a "Saudi Arabia of natural gas".

So Josh picked up his camcorder, and set out on a journey across America’s heartland. His personal concerns quickly uncovered global ones, as the citizens of ‘GasLand’ testify to what’s been happening around them.

It became evident that the multi-million dollar business of fracking had contaminated the water supply, the corporate giants are in cover-up mode, and the PR-spun government has not only turned a blind eye, it has regulated itself out of the picture...

This is the premise of a documentary called 'GasLand' which will be shown at the Jute Theatre in Cairns on Friday, 21 January at 7pm.

Environmental Defenders Office North Queensland's Principal Solicitor,      Patrick Pearlman, said the process highlighted in GasLand has ramifications closer to home.

"Fracking has been utilised extensively in the US and is the process being used to extract large volumes of coal seam gas in southern Queensland currently, and its use is likely to expand to other parts of the State and Australia," he said.

"The problem with fracking is that dangerous substances in the chemical soup injected into the earth, as well as in the rock itself, find their way into water supplies, both underground and on the surface .

" Fracking appears well on its way to being widely used in Queensland and other parts of Australia.  We think people need to be informed about this problem and empowered to do something about it.  Screening GasLand is an important part of our effort."
GasLand has been recognised and awarded at a number of festivals, and won the Special Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and was voted the best competition film of any section by indieWIRE’s Sundance Critics Poll.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children and following the movie there will be a question and answer session with Patricia Julien of the Mackay Conservation Council and Mr Pearlman.