Energy Firms Respond To Fracking Film ‘Promised Land’

Energy Firms Respond To Fracking Film ‘Promised Land’

The latest in films featuring fracking as the focus is the upcoming film “Promised Land,” starring Matt Damon as a land lease agent who has reservations about his job after resistance from the community over concerns about drilling on their land. The film, co-written by Damon and John Krasinski from “The Office,” is being hailed by a number of environmental committees, and will even kick off the West Michigan Environmental Action Council’s film series beginning in January of 2013.

As the film’s stars have started the rounds of their publicity tour for the movie, energy companies are weighing in with their opinions of the film, and many are concerned that moviegoers will base their opinions on shale drilling on what they see in the film. Says Jeff Eshelman, spokesperson for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, which represents and lobbies for thousands of oil and gas producers, “it might be the first time they’ve heard about shale gas or its benefits.” The association compiled supportive, excerpted quotes on drilling from officials, including President Barack Obama and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, on a fact sheet called “The Real Promised Land.” It will be available on a website set up to rebut or clarify the movie’s claims.

The IPAA is not the only energy association or firm voicing their opinions on the film. Firms are dissecting talk show appearances, launched campaigns and websites, and even responding with their own films to counter what they see are misleading motives and messages shown in the film. Some particularly disturbing images include photos of dead cows and a miniature model farm that was lit on fire. Co-writer and star Krasinski appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman” to discuss hydraulic fracturing, after which the Energy in Depth industry group website led with a blog post called “Has It Come to This? Fact-Checking Jim from ‘The Office’ on HF,” referencing the actor’s role on the NBC sitcom.

This is not the first film to feature the fracking industry. In 2010 the movie “Gasland,” written and directed by Josh Fox focused on communities in the United States impacted by natural gas, followed by “Truthland,” a response to the film produced by several industry groups.

Whether the movie will make an impact on the public and their opinion on shale drilling will come down to one thing – ticket sales. The movie is set to premiere nationally on December 28, although it is available in a limited amount of theaters and has already premiered in New York and Los Angeles. Reviews for the film have been mixed, with many reviewers liking the human interest story, but feel that the film has “failed to deliver.”

Have you seen the film? What are your thoughts? Do you feel that it is a fair depiction of the natural gas drilling process or just another Hollywood film looking to cash in on a controversial topic? Post your thoughts in our comments section!


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