The best documentaries, feature films and shorts.

In films about climate change, the medium is the wrong message

climate films

If you'd like, I'm what you'd call an ex-(aspiring) filmmaker, an early vanguard of what promises to be, in one way or another, an eventual mass exodus from the film and television industries. I won't go into my reasoning behind film and television's future demise here, but suffice to say, if left to its own devices, the future of film and television is in the hands of peak oil and the collapse of … [Read more...]

‘Snowpiercer’ off the rails

Tilda Swinton is from the government but she's not here to help in Snowpiercer.

In portraying environmental issues, film has proven its unique power to influence public sentiment. A standout example is The China Syndrome, a 1979 anti-nuclear thriller released mere days before the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor plant accident made front-page news. The 2012 feature film The Promised Land brought to audiences images, ideas and emotions about the fracking controversy. So … [Read more...]

The curse of slavery, the curse of oil

Still from "12 Years A Slave"

Against all odds, a film based on a 150-year-old, almost forgotten book has generated international acclaim and is positioned to sweep multiple Oscars categories. The recently-released film 12 Years A Slave is based on the autobiography of the same name by Solomon Northrup, a free black man who lived in New York state with his wife and two children before the Civil War. (Download the text of … [Read more...]

Lessons from Sandy a year later

Occupy Sandy meme

To mark the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Josh Fox is encouraging people to watch his short film on storm cleanup and relief efforts, Occupy Sandy. Fox, better known for his two full length documentaries on hydrofracking, Gasland and Gasland II, also makes short films. He made the 25-minute video on Sandy and its connection to climate change at the end of last year. Don't count on … [Read more...]

Fracking movie “Promised Land” is a gusher

Promised Land still

After I saw Matt Damon and John Krasinski's new fracking drama Promised Land, I couldn't help but compare it to the slew of trite pieces trotted out during the previews. There was the typical wedding family hijinks RomCom; the take-no-prisoners gangster-fest; the scorched-earth-meets-futuristic-savior piece; and some picture about a lovable psychotic redeemed by a chick. Guilty pleasures, … [Read more...]

The story of change

Story of Change

Can shopping save the world? Put down your credit card and start exercising your citizen muscles with Annie Leonard’s new film. I used to think the truth would set us free. Like many who care about the environment, I spent years thinking that information would lead to change. If only people realize the mess our planet is in, I thought, things will change. So I wrote reports, gave speeches, even … [Read more...]

Joel Salatin and the straight poop on sustainable farming

Joel Salatin w pigs

A Pigaerator? What’s that? I’m glad you asked. Joel Salatin, Janaia Donaldson’s guest on this episode of Peak Moment TV, explains this, while providing many other fascinating insights Salatin's pasture-based agriculture on Polyface Farms in Virginia. To avoid the overgrazing so common in modern farm practices, animals are moved every day to fresh pasture, including their portable … [Read more...]

Inside America’s worst toxic waste cover-up

Josh and Rebecca Tickell

Film Review: The Big Fix exposes BP's efforts to minimize awareness of North America's biggest oil spill. In the weeks after the Deepwater Horizon platform exploded and oil began pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, filmmaker Josh Tickell was in touch with folks back home in Louisiana. The stories they told about the spill were very different from what he was hearing in the mainstream media. So … [Read more...]

Growing up in the first Great Depression

Great Depression

It seems that gone are the days of finding Grandma’s thrifty old ways and viewpoints amusing and charmingly old fashioned. But are we missing out on not only a resource that's much needed today in hearing about how our grandparents used to live, but also simply tuning into and honoring the wisdom of the elders? As the US faces an uncertain future, financially as well as in many other ways, it's … [Read more...]

Peak oil, adapting for big changes ahead

Vintage Pump

Peak oil. What changes might it bring and what mind shifts may we have to make to prepare ourselves to face these challenges, both in a practical sense and psychologically? This is the basis for Peak Moment TV Conversation' 351 with Energy Bulletin co-editor Bart Anderson. With the possibility of such dramatic change to how we live, how we interact with the world, and even how we think and view … [Read more...]