Like many who grew up in the Upper Delaware River valley, the mere mention of Gasland has grated on me like Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem. It’s not just the facts he got wrong or the truth he distorted. You expect that sort of thing from Josh Fox and it didn’t take long for EID and several others to correct the record on the flaming Colorado faucet, the so-called “loophole” in the law, and the endangered species that, upon closer review, aren’t endangered after all. No, what was so offensive was the sheer arrogance, condescension and pretense that pervaded the movie from the very beginning.
Locals like me knew there was no $100,000 offer, knew Fox was never the owner of the land in question and knew he was anything but part of the community from which he claimed to spring. We knew the very premise of the movie was fake, from the start. But, truth always outs, eventually. Now it has in the form of a movie called, appropriately enough, Truthland. Moreover, the storyteller in this case isn’t a spoiled avant-garde showman from New York City pretending to be a country boy, but the real deal, a Susquehanna County mom, dairy farmer and teacher by the name of Shelly, who is everything Fox is not – sincere, honest and forthright, with a real stake in the future of our region.
I knew, within 60 seconds of meeting Shelly, she was an authentic spokesperson for the views of those families who actually have to make a living in the region. This was no part-time resident attempting to impose her conscience on a community she only visited on weekends. This was no charlatan film-maker attempting to curry respectability with a politically correct message. This was, rather, an authentic representative of a rural northeast that faces economic devastation without natural gas development, yet also a mother and grandmother with very real concerns that it all be done safely and responsibly. Most importantly, I saw immediately this was a woman who would not shade the truth, let alone tell a falsehood on the rationalization the truth “wasn’t relevant.” It was clear she wasn’t the type to claim a lying script was “immersed in reality.” Shelly is as real as it gets.
Shelly and her husband own a dairy farm near Franklin Forks, Pennsylvania and they have gas wells on their property. Truthland is her story of how she answered several questions raised by Gasland. She travels the country seeking out the truth about Josh Fox’s claims, talking to experts ranging from John Hanger to Terry Engelder, visits a steel plant, discusses issues with landowners, learns why one shouldn’t smoke in the shower of some homes and even participates in some explosive tests of gas well casings. She asks questions, reports on what she learns and puts it all together from the perspective of a farm wife and mother with the same concerns any family would have. It’s authentic. It’s educational. It’s the antidote to a very flawed Gasland.
Here’s Shelly discussing Truthland in our own words as our Joe Massore asks her a few questions (podcast version available here):
Why is this movie so important? Well, here is Heidi Mitchell, Shelly’s neighbor, with her husband Dave, offering an explanation:
Energy In Depth is proud to be offering this opportunity for Shelly to tell her story. A trailer of the film, and the film in its entirety, can be on the Truthland movie site where you can learn all the details.
Here is the tentative schedule for upcoming screenings of the movie in our area:
June 12 – Albany, New York
Women In Energy Leadership event
Screenings throughout the day including private and public screenings
1:00p.m.- 5:30 p.m.
Empire State Plaza
Concourse Meeting Room 3 and 4
June 13 – Binghamton, New York
JLCNY Truthland roll-out with John Hanger
Press conference at Holiday Inn; evening reception at Susquehanna Valley High School
Susquehanna Valley High School
June 16 – Columbus, Ohio
EID-sponsored screening in cooperation with OOGA, OOGEEP, API, OPC, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Manufacturers’ Association
Center of Science and Industry
333 West Broad Street Columbus, OH 43215
June 19 – Beach Lake, Pennsylvania
EID-sponsored screening in cooperation with
Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance
Beach Lake Volunteer Fire Dept.
1033 Beach Lake Highway
June 26 – Montrose, Pennsylvania
EID-sponsored screening in cooperation with
Dimock Proud, Franklin Citizens for Truth and NARO-PA
Route 706, Montrose, Pennsylvania
These screenings are being co-hosted by landowner associations, and others, throughout the country, but starting here in the Marcellus Shale region. Each will be followed by a panel discussion where local and outside experts offer their perspectives to complement Shelly’s. You can count on these events being great opportunities to learn, interact and gather the truth about natural gas, hydraulic fracturing and all goes with them. Truthland will be an experience you’ll walk away from saying “I’d like to watch that again! Finally, someone tells it the way it is!” It’s that good.