01/27/2011 07:36 PM

High hopes for ‘Gasland’ at Academy Awards

By: Lori Chung
YNN Your News Now – link to original post here: http://centralny.ynn.com/content/all_news/531551/high-hopes-for–gasland–at-academy-awards/

The documentary “Gasland” is in contention for Hollywood’s highest honor. As Lori Chung reports, there is hope the film’s increased exposure will bring more attention to the fight against hydrofracking.

The documentary “Gasland” is in contention for Hollywood’s highest honor. As Lori Chung reports, there is hope the film’s increased exposure will bring more attention to the fight against hydrofracking.

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HUDSON VALLEY, N.Y. — There are many memorable scenes from the documentary Gasland – an exposé of sorts on the gas drilling industry that’s now up for an Academy Award for Best Documentary.

“To get this far and this kind of recognition, I’m really happy for him,” said Wes Gillingham, the director of the Catskill Mountainkeeper program.

Director Josh Fox screened the film all across the state, taking part in the grassroots movement to fight the gas industry’s attempts to begin fracking the Marcellus Shale, and to protect drinking water sources activists say might be polluted by the process. Gillingham took part in a few panel discussions during several of those screenings.

“There were a lot of people there that were just plain shocked and had a real visceral reaction that we would allow some of these impacts,” said Gillingham.

“In the case of Gasland, once again, you have a movie that tries to point out environmental problems and societal problems,” said film critic Neil Rosen.

Rosen said those are attributes that makes Gasland attractive to Academy voters. While the nomination has already brought more attention to the film and its cause, and Oscar win could bring an anti-fracking message to a worldwide audience.

“Most people don’t watch documentaries unless there’s a lot of press, and a lot of buzz and a lot of word of mouth,” said Rosen.

“More people will rent the DVD, more people will see it and more people will be aware of the impacts of how we get our energy,” said Gillingham.

The gas industry has long disputed the claims in Gasland. Now, America’s Natural Gas Alliance has launched a website titled “The Truth About Gasland” as a challenge to many of the points in the documentary.

But for now, many are just waiting to see if the film will earn a statuette on Oscar night.

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