MICHAEL S. KNAPP: 'FrackNation' shows truth about drilling
April 04, 2013 10:50 AM

If you’re from western Pennsylvania, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of the Marcellus shale. You’ve heard about the jobs created, the billions in royalties and taxes, and the myriad of benefits that will come from the energy independence shale gas is making possible.

But you’ve also heard from members of activist groups telling tales of flaming faucets and other colorful anecdotes.

Despite the overwhelming public support for gas drilling, the media are often quick to publish this “other” side of the story, many times with little investigation into the validity of such claims. The claims are subsequently investigated and found to be false, but by that time the damage to public perception has been done.

A perfect example of this is the “documentary” called “Gasland,” in which a controversial theater director from Manhattan with no knowledge of gas drilling named Josh Fox claims to chronicle incidents of contamination. “Gasland” was horribly misleading … when it wasn’t being outright deceitful. Another fine example of the “say crazy stuff to get attention” marketing technique we (unfortunately) see so often today.

But thankfully, I wasn’t the only one to notice Fox was selling a false bill of goods. Phelim McAleer, an internationally renowned journalist and documentarian, also caught the flick. Determined to get to the bottom of the claims in “Gasland,” McAleer hit the road and spoke to landowners himself and ended up with a beautiful, funny, and moving film: “FrackNation.” It masterfully exposes the lies of Manhattanite Josh Fox and his band of well-to-do high society celebrities, and the struggling rural farmers who have to deal with the fallout.

“FrackNation” is funded by donations from thousands of individuals through the crowd-funding website Kickstarter (no industry donations accepted). “FrackNation’s” cinematography is gorgeous, the stories touching, and McAleer charming. It’s received rave reviews, even from media outlets critical of drilling.

Come out to the Indiana Theater in Indiana on April 11 at 7 p.m. for a free showing of the film. The filmmaker, Mr. McAleer, is hosting the event, and there will be a spirited interactive discussion afterward. For a sneak preview, check out www.fracknation.com.

Michael S. Knapp

vice president of land and public relations

MDS Energy Ltd.


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