We moved out of the city to find a safe place to have our baby – only to find out the water in our new town may be threatened by chemical poisons from fracking.
A NOTE FROM THE FILMMAKERS:
about to tell you a story of the lengths that some people will go to discourage
the transition to green energy.
If it wasn’t so serious it might even be kind of funny.
Recently, my wife and I were royally “punked.”
First, some background.
We have a film company named Green Planet Productions. We’re big proponents of breaking America’s addiction to fossil fuels and shifting our country’s focus towards homegrown clean renewable energy. I’ve written two books on the subject – we’ve made four documentaries about it –
and together we’ve devoted three
decades of our lives to it.
Last year we moved to a small California town called Ojai and set up a production facility on an old avacodo farm. We were about to have our first child and wanted to raise her in a healthy environment.
And then we found out that fracking was happening just down the road from our house.
Fracking is a method of oil and gas extraction that involves blasting vast quantities of water and toxic chemicals deep underground.
And, not surprisingly, it has a serious downside –fracking wells can leak. And when they do they leach poisonous chemicals into our groundwater.
And the people most susceptible to these poisons? Pregnant women – and small children. That’s why cities and towns across the country are moving to ban fracking, or at least suspend it until the industry can provide sufficient proof that it can safely seal its wells.
We saw our new neighbors trying to oppose fracking and realized this same fight is happening in almost every state. But the people fighting this battle are up against such powerful forces. What can they do to stop this new and dangerous source of pollution that’s happening literally in thier own backyards?
And that’s when we realized there’s a story here for a new documentary. There have been other films made about the dangers of fracking and those films have done a great job in raising awareness of the issue. What we thought was missing, was a film that would specifically show people how they might engage in this fight. And win. Sort of a “how to” protect your own neighborhood from this new toxic threat.
then out of the blue, we got a call from a guy named Brandon Turner. He said he
wanted to donate to our documentary.
We agreed to meet with Brandon’s partner Steven Sanchon and with their investor, “Mohammed,” at the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel on March 28. Rebecca was 9 months pregnant and past due at the time. In fact she went into labor 48 hours after our meeting. It was a big imposition for her to be at that meeting.
They asked us to sign a legally binding Non Disclosure Agreement which we did. They said they wanted to keep the conversation private.
Mohammed said he was not in fact the investor, but he represented an anonymous party whose money came from oil interests in the Middle East. He asked us if we had a problem accepting this money. And he asked us - if we could keep the source of the money a secret.
It was understood that the investor would have no control over the content of the film and that we, the directors, would have final cut. We thought to ourselves “oh the irony! We’ll use the funding from an oil company to make a film that promotes green energy!”
And where does all that oil money actually come from? It comes right from our own wallets. Everytime an American pumps gas he’s sending money to the middle east. Folks like you and me send about a billion dollars a day over there - just by gassing up our cars. We figured - What better use of our money than to make a film to encourage changing that whole screwed up system?
But my wife Rebecca, who was a successful child actor sensed something was up. She said they seemed like they were acting… badly.
And it turns out she was probably right.
We received an anonymous tip from a man who said he had seen hidden video camera footage of our meeting. He said that Mohammed, Steven and Brandon were actually actors – front men for a guy named James O’Keefe.
O’Keefe’s objective? To secretly record well known environmentalists saying they’d take oil money and keep it under wraps. O’Keefe runs a web site called Project Veritas. He’s the guy who does those crude and often illegal ‘gotcha’ videos.
So what kind of a person tries to trick a pregnant woman who’s about to give birth? A woman who’s only trying to protect the environment for her newborn child?
O’Keefe tried to set up NPR, CNN, and US Senators. In fact, he was arrested for posing as a telephone repairman and trying to illegally tap Senator Mary Landrieu’s phone lines. He had to pay $100,000 to somebody else he illegally recorded. And he’s being sued by one of his own employees for misconduct.
We asked our attorney to send O’Keefe a letter of inquiry – asking if he was behind the Mohammed meeting and if he had illegally videotaped us. In response, O’Keefe put out a newsletter saying he was about to break his biggest story ever – he claimed he had high profile environmentalists on camera agreeing to take oil money in order to attack American energy independence.
After talking with other environmentalists we learned these actors had been meeting with other people in New York and California. This was a coordinated sting operation - an attack against American citizens concerned about the quality of their water and the health of their families.
We thought a movie that shows how to stop fracking could be helpful, but we never imagined how dangerous this movie might seem to the powerful pro-fracking interests.
Apparently, its such a threat – that they felt the need to try and discredit us – to scare us - and to keep this movie from being made. It seems they think this movie – and the successful movement it aims to document – might be the most dangerous thing the fracking industry has ever seen. We see that as a vote of confidence that we should make this film.
So here’s our request – if you care about the environment, if you want safe drinking water for your kids and if you want to join our mission – then help us fund this movie.
Donate to our indigogo campaign today – and we’ll make the movie the fracking industry doesn’t want you to see.
So check out the rest of our indigogo campaign – including the trailer and the celebrity endorsement video. And please don’t forget to donate.
Oh and “Mohammed?” If you mystery donor still wants to write that check – be our guest.
From the director, writer and producer of the Sundance Award Winning movie FUEL and the Festival De Cannes favorite The Big Fix comes FRACKED - an evocative feature length documentary film that will give viewers a clear, concise “how-to” guide for instituting a moratorium on fracking in your town, city and state. Despite a coordinated and well-funded sting operation to discredit it, the antifracking movement is gaining tremendous force, learning from its mistakes and devising a replicable strategy to halt fracking in cities and towns across America. FRACKED will shed new light on how this grassroots, human powered revolution just might win.
The movie also tells the very personal story of Josh and Rebecca Tickell’s journey to have their daughter and how that journey has become threatened by the chemicals leeched from nearby frack wells. After being doused with the blood damaging chemical Corexit during their filming of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill for their film The Big Fix, Rebecca Tickell was told she could not have children. The Tickell’s moved to Ojai, California and Rebecca began down a road of exploring both western medicine and eastern medical practices for healing. It was only after they conceived their daughter that they discovered fracking towers had begun to go up around their home, thus prompting them to begin investigating the possible effects of groundwater contaminated by fracking waste - and ways to stop it.
The United States Department of Energy states that between 4 and 8 million gallons of water is “used” for each frack well. With pressure mounting from farmers for more water on one side and from industry and government for access to cheaper petroleum on the other – the stakes are skyrocketing in what has become a “water vs. fuel” battle. FRACKED will explore the precarious competition of water versus oil and gas production – especially in California, which is experiencing the worst drought in its recorded history.
Through their lens, the Tickells show the lengths that the pro-fracking interests go to thwart documentarians, non-governmental organizations and everyday people who are trying to ensure their drinking water is safe. Through investigative journalism, this documentary also uncovers a bizarre plot by a well-funded radical right wing “gotcha man” who illegally uses actors and hidden cameras to cast members of the antifracking movement (including the directors) as having sided with middle eastern oil interests to ‘attack American Energy Independence.’ This ‘American Hustle’ sequence of events which seems stranger than fiction shows the lengths the fracking industry is going to try to stop the truth.
FRACKED will provide the first-ever, complete road map that people can use to win a moratorium against fracking in their town. The movie profiles several groups that have successfully stopped fracking – showing the specific steps they took, the challenges they faced, how they won, and how they are maintaining the moratoriums in their areas.
Ultimately, the documentary asks how far Americans are willing to go – and what they’re willing to sacrifice – to get access to “cheap” energy.
WHERE YOUR MONEY WILL GO:
There are still interviews to do and some stage and studio work for certain recreations. We've made a lot of progress in terms of filming, but there is more work to do. 25% of the funds will go toward filming.
By far the bulk of the work left to do is simply cutting the hundreds of hours of footage into a narrative. We've got the material. But good editing takes time. In order to finish this film, we still need to pay editors (so they and their families can eat while they work!). 50% of the money will go toward editing.
A key part to making this film exceptional is the music. We will pay for up to five music licenses and hire a composer to score the movie. We will also need to pay a mixer to mix the movie. 15% of the funds raised will go toward sound.
The reason many documentaries cannot get wide distribution is because they have not taken the appropriate steps to clear their shots, go through legal, and get E&O insurance. 10% of the money raised will go toward clearances and archival. Reaching our funding goal ensures that we can clear the movie for worldwide distribution with no legal issues - which means it will go onto every digital platform available!
Every penny counts to making this movie. While large petroleum groups have some of the biggest PR budgets on earth to bury stories around fracking, even ten dollars can help bring this important message to light. Moreover, for every donation above $5,000, 5% will go to the non-profit Food and Water Watch.
Q. CAN I CONTRIBUTE WITHOUT SELECTING A REWARD?
Yes, just click the red button located below the amount we have raised so far that says "Contribute Now". This will take you to our list of perks, scroll down to the bottom of the list of perks and select "No Perk, just a Contribution" and enter the amount you want. You can also select a perk and then when we email you to fulfill the perk selected, you can decline the perk at that time.
Q. CAN I GIVE MY CONTRIBUTION REWARDS AS A GIFT?
Yes, absolutely! When we contact you about the perks, just let us know where you want them to go!
Q. CAN I CONTRIBUTE FROM OUTSIDE THE USA?
Q: WHEN WILL THE FILM BE COMPLETED?
Our goal is to complete this film by March of 2015 or as soon as possible. However, the faster we get funded, the faster this film can be completed.
Q: WHEN DO YOU HOPE TO PREMIERE IT?
Our goal is to follow our prior film, The Big Fix, by premiering at a major Film Festival.
Q: WHAT IF YOU DON'T RAISE ALL THE MONEY?
We are hoping to raise the full amount stated to finish our film. We will continue fundraising until we reach our goal of $72,000.
Q: ONCE YOU PREMIERE THE FILM, HOW LONG UNTIL IT IS RELEASED ON NETFLIX?
We will be screening the film in Los Angeles and New York. after that it will go quickly to Netflix and other digital platforms.
Josh, Rebecca and the team at Green Planet send you our deepest gratitude for helping us make a difference with this movie.