As recently reported in The Hollywood Reporter, actor, director and humanitarian Mark Ruffalo is Executive Producer of two new documentaries that challenge President Barack Obama and California Governor Jerry Brown — self-professed climate leaders — about the damage their support of hydraulic fracturing and fossil fuel extraction is causing American communities.
The films document the victims of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), a process by which a secret brew of toxic chemicals are injected into deeply drilled wells to extract fossil fuels. The film was co-produced by Jon Bowermaster (Oceans 8 Films), who released his Dear Governor Cuomo documentary in 2012. Two years later, Gov. Cuomo helped New York make history as the first state to ban fracking, citing the many health concerns raised by scientists in the film.
Dear President Obama, to be released in early 2016, has been in the works since late 2013, with filming taking place in 20 states. Filmmakers traveled the country interviewing scientists, technologists, and the people who live in the shadow of fracking sites — many near homes, schools and neighborhoods — to report on the growing pollution risks. The film will be narrated by Ruffalo.
Ruffalo and Bowermaster have also teamed up to produce the mini-documentary Dear Governor Brown which addresses the hypocrisy of California’s governor’s support for expanding fracking during a drought, and amidst much-publicized efforts to support climate change reform.
“The oil and gas corporations have poured a lot of money into misinformation on renewable energy,” Ruffalo told The Hollywood Reporter. “They tell us that it’s impossible. But the fact is that possibilities for moving beyond the oil and gas corporate energy structure are completely available. They are economic. They are clean. They are sustainable. We don’t have to burn anything anymore. There’s an endless supply of energy if we are just willing to harvest it. It’s an elegant, graceful plan which fits very well with people’s modern ideas of how they should be living their lives. The only thing standing in the way is political will.”
Scientists have found evidence of contamination of water and air around many fracking sites, and there is a large body of evidence linking the practice with increased earthquake activity. Bowermaster also witnessed economic devastation as once-fracking boomtowns were left high and dry as the hydrofracking industry nosedived. The economic impact was felt on the local level as well, with many homeowners near fracking sites relating stories of lowered property values and declining interest in real estate.
“Though nominally targeting the current President and California’s current governor,” says Bowermaster, “the messages of these films are aimed at every elected official in the U.S. Keep fossil fuels in the ground should be the new watchwords for them all.”
Dear President Obama will be released early in 2016, with a nationwide tour in the works for February-March. It will have its ‘premiere’ at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C. on March 18. screenings nationwide to follow. Dear Governor Brown is already being privately screened in California, with a wider release planned for 2016; the film will have its public ‘premiere’ on January 15 at the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, Nevada City, CA.