What would the July 4 holiday weekend be without fireworks? Somehow the ones emerging from the faucets of ordinary citizens who happen to live where fracking chemicals have infiltrated the water system are not what the patriotic have in mind. The onscreen vision of pipes aflame, along with director Josh Fox's banjo playing, were part of the spectacle of a special evening at Guild Hall, the second of the Hamptons International Film Festival's Summerdocs series. When Josh Fox made his Oscar nominated documentary Gasland in 2010, the thorough expose had many thinking, what more could he have to say? The answer is plenty, to judge from the two-hour sequel to air on HBO Monday night. This story is an ongoing investigation of the practice of hydraulic drilling, meant to end our dependency on foreign oil and keep our energy sources here at home. Which sounds like a good plan, but as the documentary demonstrates, we need to pay attention to a hidden agenda that benefits the fossil fuel industry, while raping the environment. Fracking for the Fatherland? Think again.
At Friday's preview, Guild Hall was packed for the screening and Q&A led by Alec Baldwin. His very pregnant wife Hilaria was in the crowd, as was Mariska Hargitay and Debra Messing, arriving just in time to elude the red carpet. Alec Baldwin seemed almost as passionate an opponent to fracking as Fox, who brings new evidence that the plan is to mine this energy source to sell to markets overseas, again destroying America's natural resources to profit an industrious few. While many insist, this is not the whole story, the documentary's evidence is frightening and clear, and should make everyone pay attention to this debate, and to consider clean alternatives, renewable energy like solar or wind power. As Fox has affirmed, this debate is not about what's happening in any one person's backyard, but to the planet.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.