FrackNation film challenges fracking fables

There are more than 2,500 things the filmmakers of FrackNation want you to know – that’s how many “executive producers” kicked in for the cost of their documentary film to challenge claims that hydraulic fracturing is destroying the planet and igniting into flames some peoples’ water faucets.


By refusing money from gas companies or even environmental groups, the husband and wife team of investigative journalists in charge of the production hope to bring a level of credibility to their project they say was lacking in an earlier film on the topic called GasLand.

“I thought I was going to throw the television out the window, it took me a week to finish watching it,” said filmmaker Ann McElhinney, recalling her first reaction to that film produced by Josh Fox.

McElhinney and her partner Phelim McAleer who narrates the film previewed a few clips for a group of journalists and conservatives at a luncheon this week that was organized by Americans for Tax Reform.

The documentary is scheduled to air Jan. 22 on an obscure cable channel called AXS, and after the premier will be available for purchase on DVD.

Judging from the brief preview, it looks like an entertaining debunking of GasLand, which McAleer says is now being shown to kids in public grade schools and high school.

“It’s the biggest environmental cause and fundraiser of this century,” McAleer said.

Interestingly, the film warranted a positive review from an unlikely source, the New York Times.

“FrackNation is no tossed-off, pro-business pamphlet,” the review said. “Methodically researched and assembled … the film picks at Mr. Fox’s assertions and omissions with dogged persistence. Much of what it reveals is provocative, like a confrontation with Mr. Fox about the presence of methane in the water supply decades before fracking began.”

The review prompted McAleer to snidely remark; “I’m going to sue them for defamation.”

Funds for the film were solicited through a website called Kickstarter, which raised $150,000 to bankroll the project. McAleer and McElhinney said they returned donations from everyone connected with the gas industry, and that individual donations averaged $60.

It’s not really a spoiler alert to warn viewers, the ending credits take longer than five minutes just to name the “executive producers.”