Filmmaker on campus to discuss fracking documentary

Filmmaker on campus to discuss fracking documentary

October 26
19:43 2014

Dalton LaFerney / Senior Staff Writer

Director and journalist Phelim McAleer will be on campus 5 p.m. Oct. 28 to commentate and answer questions about his 2013 documentary, FrackNation, following a screening.

FrackNation is McAleer’s in-depth look into the debates and beliefs on hydraulic fracturing. It was in response to Gasland, a 2010 documentary that encouraged anti-fracking movements around the country.

The documentary directly refutes the entirety of Gasland by investigating both director Josh Fox and many featured depositions, specifically of those living in the Delaware River Basin, home to the Marcellus Shale.

McAleer’s visit comes just as Denton voters decided whether or not to ban hydraulic fracturing within the city limits.

The screening will last about two hours in BLB 073 and is hosted by the North Texas College Republicans. Vice chair Baleigh Poston said they got the idea to screen the film while working with Clean Resources, a group representing shale gas employees that promotes safe and clean practices.

FrackNation was funded by donors from around the world through KickStarter, a website where people invest in any project they choose with donations of any amount.

The film premiered on AXS TV and was later distributed by Magnolia Pictures. It is now steaming on Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and On-Demand.

McAleer’s documentary is promoted by Energy in Depth, a public outreach group for the energy industry, and other oil and gas industry companies such as the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

McAleer has worked as an investigative journalist for “The Economist” and “The UK Sunday Times” and has contributed to CNN, FOX News and the BBC covering events in several countries, including Romania, Chile, Madagascar, China and Bulgaria.

“It’s the first time I will be in Denton, and I’m really looking forward to it,” McAleer said in a press release. “I’m particularly glad to be speaking at UNT, as it seems to be the center of the anti-fracking movement in the area.”

McAleer wasn’t originally slated to attend the screening, but he’ll be in the area to debate Calvin Tillman, director of Denton-based nonprofit ShaleTest, on Monday at Brookhaven College in Dallas. Tillman is characterized in FrackNation as disingenuous in his efforts against fracking when he was mayor of Dish, Texas. Tillman wrote a letter to McAleer challenging him to the debate, and said he will be in the audience Tuesday to question the director.

“There are a lot of people who simply don’t do any research and just don’t know,” Tillman said, referring to FrackNation and statements made by McAleer. “So when they hear this stuff, they actually believe it.”

Jacki Pick, who hosts her own radio show focusing on energy in the DFW area, was first slated to be the moderator, but has since cancelled. The debate will likely be live-streamed, but those details have not been released.

Graduate student and documentary filmmaker Garrett Graham said he did not watch FrackNation, but he has researched it for his own upcoming documentary, Dont Frack With Denton.

“While there are many anti-fracking documentaries, FrackNation appears to be the only one in favor of fracking,” he said.

About Author

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton is the editor of the Daily.

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