Hey – in case you haven’t heard, tar sands are going to save the world. They are a renewable fuel you know. Wrong and wrong. Today, a new documentary focusing on the controversy surrounding the development of Alberta’s oil sands, “Downstream”, will be entering the US TV market, just in time to fire people up for Earth Day. Downstream is a modern day re-telling of “David vs. Goliath” or the tiny town of Fort Chipewyan versus Big Oil.
The film was produced by academy award nominated filmmaker Leslie Iwerks and is available to watch on Babelgum’s online TV site, Our Earth. It has premiered at film festivals around the world and already been shortlisted for an Oscar. The film takes you on a journey through a town negatively affected by the environmental impacts of oil development. Mutated fish and fowl live alongside a disproportionately large number of people suffering from a multitude of cancers. Naturally, the oil companies and local government officials vehemently deny the correlation between oil sand production and environmental and health issues. During a demonstration, one sign summed it up, “Upstream Oil for the States, Downstream Death for Alberta.”
Ironically, this film is causing more controversy than of the environmental kind. The film has vexed Alberta’s government due to the fact the Alberta Film Development Fund subsidized $67,000 of the film. An intense national discourse and debate over future arts funding and freedom of artistic expression has ensued.
For those of you renewable fuel supporters, this is a film not to miss. Check out the trailer here.