Sunday, January 6, 2013

From farmland to frackland, Hollywood style: Promised Land, the Movie

"Promised Land" is showing in Ithaca theaters now (Promised Land Ithaca showtimes here).

Here's what it's about, from the official website:

"In Promised Land, Matt Damon stars as Steve Butler, a corporate salesman whose journey from farm boy to big-time player takes an unexpected detour when he lands in a small town, where he grapples with a surprising array of both open hearts and closed doors. Gus Van Sant helms the film from an original screenplay written by John Krasinski & Matt Damon, from a story by Dave Eggers.

"Steve has been dispatched to the rural town of McKinley with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand). The town has been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, and the two consummate sales executives see McKinley’s citizens as likely to accept their company’s offer – for drilling rights to their properties – as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job and a short stay for the duo becomes complicated – professionally by calls for community-wide consideration of the offer by respected schoolteacher Frank Yates (Academy Award nominee Hal Holbrook) and personally by Steve’s encounter with Alice (Rosemarie DeWitt). When Dustin Noble (John Krasinski), a slick environmental activist, arrives, suddenly the stakes, both personal and professional, rise to the boiling point."

NPR, CNN, and the Huffington Post have all weighed in on the movie, and a few critics have questioned the film's funding, some of which originates from a company based in the United Arab Emirates.

Promised Land Trailer

But what does this all have to do with food? Food comes from the land, and fracking requires a lot of land. Here in Tompkins county, about 40% of land is leased for natural gas drillingFarmland covers about 33% of the land area. Some farmers have spoken out against fracking here, in several forumsChefs have also expressed concerns about fracking.

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