New Project: Don’t Frack With Denton (2014)

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Graphic by Matthew Long

I am excited to announce my next documentary film project, “Don’t Frack With Denton“. The finished film will be thirty minutes in length and shot during the summer and fall of 2014. Post-production will conclude in spring of 2015

My goal is to follow the local movement to ban fracking in Denton and interview its participants in it in order to capture what makes this particular fight against fracking unique and significant. To that effect, I want this film to be as much about Denton as it is about fracking in order to find out what Denton means to the people in this struggle and how that affects the way they organize.

new-frack-free-denton-stickerAs this story develops, so will the style and approach of this documentary. I’ve been following recent developments with the Frack Free Denton petition to put a fracking ban on the November ballot which has  brought a lot of attention and participation to this struggle. From what I have observed, meeting attendance and public support has been steadily growing. There is more to be done and challenges to be faced and I will be there to record the results.

I’m currently in the process of researching the issue and developing contacts so that I can organizing a shooting schedule for the rest of the year. I am soliciting participation from individuals willing to speak with me about this issue. Even if people don’t wish to be on camera I would love to speak with anyone involved in this issue who has information to share.

Synopsis:

Climate change continues to deliver record-breaking summer heat while Texans suffer through one of the worst droughts in history, but beneath their feet, deep underground, millions of gallons of public water are being mixed with toxic chemicals and pumped into the earth in order to extract natural gas in a controversial process called hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking”.

These fracking wells are being drilled in communities all over the world, raising serious questions about public health and sparking heavy resistance from local residents and environmental activists. The fracking debate has become one of the most important battlegrounds in America’s struggle for clean air, clean water and clean energy.

Don’t Frack With Denton is a documentary film that chronicles the growing movement to ban fracking in the city of Denton, Texas; the very same region where hydraulic fracturing was born and where the oil and gas industry holds unrivaled political and economic power. It’s a David vs Goliath story about ordinary people fighting for control over the city they love and how resistance creates community.

Denton is unique among the communities impacted by fracking in Texas. While surrounding cities have established tough regulations limiting the practice, Denton could set the example for fracking resistance in the region by becoming the first city to impose an outright ban on the practice. Often compared to Austin, Denton is a forward-thinking north Texas city with a unique culture and a thriving music scene that rivals nearby Dallas. As a home to film and music festivals, historic architecture and two growing universities, Denton residents take pride in what separates them from most of Texas without losing their charming southern hospitality.

However, like the rest of Texas, Denton’s policy-makers are routinely in lock-step with the oil and gas industry despite the protests of their constituents. There are 275 fracking wells in this suburban college town and a fracking site in a residential area operates right across the street from the university’s three wind turbines and a newly built “green” football stadium.

This horizontal, underground drilling process has quietly crept beneath half the campus. The more urban downtown city square is home to local boutiques and a thriving night life shared by families and young people, but drilling companies like Range Resources and Eagleridge are encroaching from the rural perimeter. Denton is proud to be powered by more wind energy than most other cities in Texas, but it’s still less than half of what they use (40%) and residents are demanding more. In the fossil-fueled politics of Texas, Denton sticks out like a green thumb. This unique diversity of lifestyles makes for an eclectic cast of compelling characters united by a common cause that affects us all.

Beneath the homes where people are organizing against fracking is a geological treasure called the Barnett Shale; 5,000 square miles of potential profits for the Texas oil and gas industry. In fact, it was here that the hydraulic fracturing process was first invented and tested before the fracking boom hit the rest of the country and then spread across the globe.

This is ground zero for the fracking debate, and Denton is set to become the first city in Texas to ban fracking, but it won’t be easy. The Texas oil and gas industry is sure to strike back with more money and influence than this emerging grassroots movement can afford. There is more at stake here than just Denton. This unusual Texas town could raise the bar for fighting fracking in the heartland of America’s oil and gas industry.

 

 

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