Through state-based efforts in North Carolina and Texas, we are supporting coalition building and grassroots community organizing, using the films to raise awareness and increase citizen involvement in critical efforts to oppose fracking and other extractive industries. Last fall we partnered with filmmaker Josh Fox and his team to develop a Southern Tour Gasland Part II, which started in Texas and ended in North Carolina – two battlegrounds in the fracking debate. We worked with state level organizations and local grassroots groups including Texas Drought Project, Earthworks’ Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project, Solar San Antonio, FrackDallas, Clean Water Action Texas and Clean Water for North Carolina to co-host the high-profile and robust events. See a recap of the Southern Tour on our blog. We are now planning specially coordinated tours of Bidder 70 and Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek that will focus on environmental justice and community-based organizing.
Nationally, we are presenting special screenings and trainings on using film for change. At the end of last year we brought Reel Power to Power Shift, the largest national youth climate conference, where we paired screenings of Bidder 70, Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek, Gasland Part II, and Reel Economy film Citizen Koch with interactive discussions among cutting-edge climate activists, nonprofit leaders, film subjects and filmmakers. We are currently working with the online tutorial effort, Hero Hatchery, to produce a Reel Power training and are planning on presenting similar workshops at regional and national conferences this year.
Screen Reel Power Films in Your Community
Go to ScreeningHQ to host a screening, or contact Reel Power director Kristin Henry with any questions or help with setting up a Reel Power Film Festival: khenry [at] workingfilms.org. See how grassroots groups are using the films in their communities from an update on our blog.
Below are new films that recently joined the Reel Power collaborative. Each of the films adds to the bigger picture of climate change, highlight grassroots leadership and community power, as well as give audiences a new avenue to explore money and politics.
Bidder 70 centers on an extraordinary, ingenious and effective act of civil disobedience demanding government and industry accountability. In 2008, University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher committed an act which would redefine patriotism in our time, igniting a spirit of civil disobedience in the name of climate justice. The film follows Tim, Bidder 70, from college student to incarcerated felon and encourages viewers to redefine justice for themselves.
This film has had a limited theatrical release and has been traveling the film festival circuit, winning the Best American Film Traverse City Film Festival; Moving Mountains Prize at the Mountainfilm in Telluride; among many other awards. Tim DeChristopher's action has been instrumental in inspiring the environmental movement to engage in civil disobedience at this critical time, where there are growing actions across the country, including the Tar Sands Blockade as well as Moral Monday in North Carolina. The film is available for educational and community screenings. Sign up to host a screening here.
Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek tells the story of a handful of determined Mississippians who have struggled to save their endangered community in the face of rampant development, industrial pollution and disaster including hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. Along 10 years, the film follows Derrick Evans and his family and neighbors, who are descendants of emancipated slaves who settled on the Gulf Coast in the 1860s. They have been stewards of Turkey Creek’s rich wetland habitat for generations, where they have farmed and fished and were baptized. The threat of encroaching sprawl, spurred by the gaming industry in the 1990s, and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 mobilized members of this insular, self-sufficient community and made them citizen activists on a regional and national level. Today residents of Turkey Creek continue their fight for a sustainable future.
This is an inspirational story of how one community banded together to save their land and culture. A new media project that grew out of the film is Bridge the Gulf - a network that links environmental justice activists, writers and others concerned about resource extraction and climate change across the Gulf Coast region. The film premiered at the New Orleans Film Festival and won the Audience Award.
In this explosive follow-up to his Oscar®-nominated film Gasland, filmmaker Josh Fox uses his trademark dark humor to take a deeper, broader look at the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil, now occurring on a global level (in 32 countries worldwide).
Gasland Part II, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and broadcast on HBO, shows how the stakes have been raised on all sides in one of the most important environmental issues facing our nation today. The film argues that the gas industry’s portrayal of natural gas as a clean and safe alternative to oil is a myth and that fracked wells inevitably leak over time, contaminating water and air, hurting families, and endangering the earth’s climate with the potent greenhouse gas, methane. In addition the film looks at how the powerful oil and gas industries are in Fox's words "contaminating our democracy".
We partnered with the film team and local organizations in 2013 to host strategic and robust events in Texas and North Carolina. The film is now available for public screenings and house parties. Sign up to host a screening here.
Films Out Now:
Cape Spin tackles the root causes of society’s inability to produce a large-scale solution to the global energy crisis it created, framing the events of the Cape Wind project as a microcosm of America’s struggle toward sustainability and energy independence. Sign up to host a screening of Cape Spin here.
Deep in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky, Beverly May and Terry Ratliff find themselves at the center of a contentious community battle over a proposed mountaintop removal coal mine. Sign up to host a screening, purchase the film and download screening toolkits here.
Dirty Business: "Clean Coal" and the Battle for Our Energy Future is a 90-minute documentary produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting that aims to give a full accounting of the true cost of our dependence on coal for electricity in the age of climate change and highlights communities that are integrating renewable energy projects across the country. Sign up to host a screening, purchase the film and download community screening toolkits here.
Gasland Part I
When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. Sign up to host a screening, purchase the film and download community screening toolkits here.
Split Estate maps a tragedy in the making, as citizens in the path of a new drilling boom in the Rocky Mountain West struggle against the erosion of their civil liberties, their communities and their health. Sign up to host a screening, purchase the film and community screening toolkits here.
Sun Come Up
Sun Come Up follows the relocation of some of the the Carteret Islanders a peaceful community living on a remote island chain in the South Pacific Ocean, and now, some of the world’s first environmental refugees. Sign up to host a screening and purchase the film here.
Cooked, a feature length documentary film and engagement project, is a story about the politics of disaster. The film will boldly ask questions every U.S. city must address, be it faced with extreme weather or extreme poverty. Will their most vulnerable citizens die of the heat? Or will they die of long-term social and economic disinvestment? Can the disaster masters, "crisis czars" and emergency preparedness teams conceive of community resilience as a preemptive necessity -- before the next disaster? Stay connected with the film by liking it on Facebook.
Green Shall Overcome
Green Shall Overcome is a feature length documentary in production about Van Jones, the controversial environmental activist. In five short years, Jones has catapulted himself from a little known Bay Area activist to an internationally recognized innovator, handpicked by the Obama Administration to serve as a Special Advisor to the President. Jones’ impressive climb came on the strength of his visionary initiative for “green-collar jobs” which are designed to address two of the most daunting domestic challenges facing the United States today: over-dependence on fossil fuels and an unemployed workforce, trained for the jobs of yesterday.
Chasing the Sun
Chasing the Sun (formerly Solarize This) is a feature length documentary in production. In a toxic city where oil spills, ecological red-alerts, and poverty are commonplace, the film asks the hard questions of how a green economy may actually be built, through the stories of three working-class trainees at a solar power vocational program in Richmond, California. The film team is currently seeking to raise funds to complete a full-length rough cut of the film. You can contribute with a tax-deductible donation through SpeakOut.
When Two Worlds Collide
When Two Worlds Collide is a feature length documentary in production. The film follows the hazardous journey of an Amazonian leader confronting rules of the globalization game created by developed countries in order to protect corporate interests. With the rainforest in jeopardy, this apocalyptic story presents two colliding visions that shape the climate future of our world. Stay connected with the film by liking it on Facebook.
Reel Power is proud to partner with:
We are more effective together than we are apart.
Reel Power is a Working Films initiative that is part of our commitment to supporting the movement for a clean and just energy future. This film and activist collaborative came out of a field-building retreat that we co-hosted with, and generously supported by, Chicken & Egg Pictures and The Fledgling Fund.
The films chosen to participate tell character-driven stories that take us into the issues at hand in personal yet universal ways.
The collaboration has conducted a monthly film series in partnership with a number of NGO's and has attended strategic conferences to host tables, workshops and special screening events, including Appalachia Rising, a national conference and day of action, and Power Shift, the largest youth climate conference in the US. We have also supported grassroots and campus groups to host a Reel Power Film Festival in their community, connecting the underlying themes of climate change and our energy future.
Reel Power is supported by the Badger Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation with founding support from Chicken & Egg Pictures and The Fledgling Fund.
Join the Reel Power Revolution!
1. Host a Reel Power Film Festival in your community.
Hosting screening events are an easy way to engage large audiences with important conversations and actions that will help you further your organizing goals for a just energy future. Eight of our films are currently available for screenings. Go to ScreeningHQ to sign up to host a screening, or contact Kristin Henry at khenry [at] workingfilms.org for help setting up a Reel Power Film Festival.