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Oil and the World

Oil and the World


Directed by Francine Strickwerda and Laurel Spellman Smith

Two boys come of age looking for solutions to the global problem of reckless oil drilling following years of oil contamination in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

OIL & WATER is the coming of age story of two boys as they each confront one of the world's worst toxic disasters, the prolonged contamination of the Ecuadorian Amazon by Texaco and other oil companies. Hugo comes to America to fight for the survival of his tribe, the Cofan, while David goes to Ecuador to launch the world's first company to certify oil as "fair trade." Can Hugo become the leader his tribe so desperately wants him to be? Will David clean up one of the world's dirtiest industries?

This film is an intimate portrait of two young people finding their voices and trying to beat incredible odds. Their journeys lead them to explore what could be a more just future, not just for the people of the Amazon, but for all people around the world born with oil beneath their feet. Eight years in the making OIL & WATER is a shocking and inspiring David and Goliath story.

  • "Great film...arresting...the most complete portrait of how societies might move beyond 'the oil curse.'" - Dr. Brian Black, Professor, History and Environmental Studies, Penn State Altoona

  • "This a moving and thought-provoking story that opens up avenues of hope in a challenging reality." - Patricia I. Vasquez, Independent Consultant on Extractive Industries and Conflicts, Author, Oil Sparks in the Amazon: Local Conflicts, Indigenous Populations, and Natural Resource

  • "A powerful and appealing documentary film...The connection between Hugo and David takes the documentary into a personal life that is fascinating in its portrayal of the Cofan culture and environment." - Floyd McKay, Crosscut

  • Green Planet Award, Grand Prize, Rhode Island International Film Festival

    DVD / 2014 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adults) / 78 minutes

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    By James Fox
    Narrated by Peter Coyote

    Pretty Slick is the first film to fully reveal the devastating, untold story of BP's Corexit coverup following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The spill is well-known as one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history. But what is not well-known is that BP, with U.S. government approval, attempted to sink the oil rather than clean it up, using the controversial dispersant Corexit -- and then covered up the practice. Some estimates are that 75% of the oil, 150 million gallons, is still unaccounted for.

    When filmmaker James Fox learned of this, he began a three year investigation, digging far deeper than any media outlet or film previously, to find the truth about the dispersant use and coverup. Pretty Slick questions whether public safety and environmental health took a backseat to restoring the tourist-based economy, and exposes the symbiosis between big oil and the U.S. government, which was as deep as the ocean is blue.

    Fox was on the ground and in the air with leading scientists, fisherman and other locals at the peak of the disaster, then returned for each of the three following years. During one visit, Fox met with Dr. Samantha Joye, who had traveled 5000 feet below the Gulf on a submarine to witness first-hand the spill's impact on the sea-bed floor.

    Despite the disaster, and subsequent revelations, PRETTY SLICK notes there has been little or no federal action to make oil drilling safer or prevent the use of toxic dispersants in the next spill.

  • Dr. Sylvia Earle, former Chief Scientist, NOAA
  • Dr. Samantha Joye, Dept of Marine Sciences, Univ of Georgia
  • Dr. Carl Safina, President, Blue Ocean Institute, MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow

  • "Pretty Slick is an excellent film...about far more than the DWH oil spill, it is about the absolute necessity of securing the future health and sustainability of our oceans." - Dr. Samantha Joye, Ph.D., Department of Marine Sciences, University of Georgia

  • "A film that should be seen by everyone who cares about the future of our oceans." - Dr. Sylvia Earle, former Chief Scientist, NOAA

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2014 / (High School - Adult) / 71 minutes

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    Directed by Alexandre Trudeau

    After centuries of Western domination, the waterways of the Middle East are now being contested in unprecedented ways. Pirates are roaming sea lanes. Local powers are threatening chokepoints. And the people are rising up to bring their authoritarian rulers down. With no simple solutions for maintaining control of oil flows, the West is facing a crucial decision. Already weakened by extended military interventions, faltering economies, and strained global partnerships, the US and Europe must decide whether violent intervention or benevolent passivity is the best course of action.

  • "This is a sobering history of the decline and fall of Western hegemony in the Persian Gulf and Western Indian Ocean -- and the alarming reality of what comes next. The historic march through North Africa and the Middle East with the world's top strategists, economists, and thinkers provides an unsettling glimpse into the post-American maritime order." - James Kraska, Howard S. Levie Chair in International Law at the U.S. Naval War College

  • "A sobering, comprehensive look at the contemporary geopolitics of the oil patch and the sea lanes that connect it to the world." - F. Gregory Gause, III, Professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont | Author of The International Relations of the Persian Gulf

  • "Alexandre Trudeau depicts a very clear and relevant picture of the oil-based conflict in the Middle East. The film is well-directed and only as sensational as its subject matter." - Laurence Trepanier, CBC News

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2012 / 54 minutes

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    By Veronica Moscoso

    A Wild Idea explores Ecuador's unprecedented proposal for fighting global warming and preserving a large area of pristine rainforest from oil development V called the Yasuni-ITT Initiative.

    In exchange for compensation from the world community, Ecuador pledges to leave untouched a large oil reserve, the ITT block with over 850 million barrels of oil. If the proposal succeeds, it will protect one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth, respect the rights of two of the last nomadic indigenous cultures who live there, and avoid the emission of over 400 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Exploiting the ITT oil reserve seemed a logical step that Ecuador had to take, as a relatively poor country that depends upon oil for a large percentage of its revenue. But political changes have transformed the way the country views oil development.

    The film takes the viewer to the Yasuni National Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon, capturing the rainforest's stunning biodiversity and profiling the tribes that live there. Through rich archival footage and commentary from government officials, environmentalists and others, A Wild Idea shows how the seemingly utopian ideal of keeping valuable oil underground turned into an official proposal. The political twists and turns that made the proposal possible could also threaten the success of this revolutionary idea.

    A Wild Idea is a thought-provoking film that explores the complexity of contemporary oil development within a fragile ecosystem, and how creative, new approaches might be of significant local and global benefit.

  • "A thought-provoking film...shows how the seemingly utopian ideal of keeping valuable oil underground turned into an official proposal V and the audience sees what's at stake if the proposal is not accepted." - Reel Earth Film Festival, New Zealand

  • Best Short Film - Colorado Environmental Film Festival
  • Silver Star - Cinema Verde Film Festival
  • Best Thesis Film - 8th Annual ReelHeART International Film Festival
  • Best Student Film - Green Screen Film Festival
  • Honorable Mention Award Portrayal of Human vs. Wildlife Interaction -International Wildlife Film Festival
  • Honorable Mention Award, Documentary Short - International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration, and Equality.

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2012 / (Grades 9-Adult) / 26 minutes

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    Demand for oil may soon outstrip supply and without alternatives all our energy will not be met. One way to offset demand is to drive electric cars. Dr Jonica Newby travels to the US capital of the car, Detroit, and takes the electric cars of tomorrow for a spin.

    DVD / 2011 / 9 minutes

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    By David Lavallee

    Narrated by Wade Davis, Explorer in Residence for National Geographic

    Canada is the number one foreign supplier of oil to the United States, a fact little known in America. Most of the oil imported comes from the Tar Sands of Northern Alberta, the second largest known oil reserve in the world outside of Saudi Arabia.

    But this is not a traditional oil field. The oil must be extracted and processed from the sands at a significant environmental cost -- requiring huge quantities of a diminishing fresh water supply and large amounts of energy that contribute to global warming.

    White Water, Black Gold follows David Lavallee on his three-year journey across Western Canada in search of the truth about the impact of the world's thirstiest oil industry. This is a journey of jarring contrasts, from the pristine mountain ice fields that are the source of the industry's water, to the Tar Sands tailing ponds, where thousands of migrating birds have unwittingly landed and died.

    Both government and industry spokespeople deny any cause for concern, but in the course of his journey Lavallee, backed by university scientists, makes a number of discoveries that challenge that assessment and raise serious concerns for Canada and the United States.

    Native peoples living downstream are contracting unusual cancers; new science shows that water resources in an era of climate change will be increasingly scarce; the proposed upgrading of the oilfields could endanger multiple river systems across Canada that makeup about half of its water supply; and a planned oil pipeline across British Columbia brings fresh threats to rivers, salmon and the Pacific Ocean.

    White Water, Black Gold is a sober look at the untold costs associated with developing this major oil deposit, and raises important questions about how much environmental damage we're willing to tolerate to feed our oil appetite.

  • "Highlights the indescribable beauty of the region and how it is being threatened by industry and carelessness." - Earth Times

  • Winner, 2011 John Muir Award, Yosemite Film Festival

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2011 / (Grades 7 - Adult) / 64 minutes

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    Director: Adolfo Doring

    In this haunting portrait of America's oil-fueled excesses, director Adolfo Doring explores the inextricable link between the energy we use, the way we run our economy, and the multiplying threats that now confront the environmental health and stability of our planet. Taking as its starting point the inevitable energy depletion scenario known as "Peak Oil," the film surveys a fascinating range of the latest intellectual, political, and scientific thought to make the case that by whatever measure of greed, wishful thinking, neglect, or ignorance, we now find ourselves at a disturbing crossroads: we can continue to burn fossil fuels and witness the collapse of our ecology, or we can choose not to and witness the collapse of our economy. Refusing to whitewash this reality, Blind Spot issues a call to action, urging us to face up to the perilous situation we now find ourselves in so that we might begin to envision a realistic, if inconvenient, way out. Certain to inspire debate in classrooms across a range of disciplines, especially in economics, environmental studies, the natural sciences, and political science.

  • "Blind Spot rides currents of beauty and sadness, ultimately landing with a catharsis that comes when truth has been told." - Jason Bradford, Founder of 'Willits Economic Localization'

  • "Doubtless Peak Oil will come, the timing is a matter of debate. However we may be better off if it is not too long delayed, because it will accelerate what must be done to prevent environmental catastrophe." - Noam Chomsky

  • "Beautiful, crucial, straightforward, brilliantly woven images, words and music." - John Stauber, Author of Toxic Sludge Is Good For You

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2009 / 54 minutes

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    By Peter Mettler

    "It's environmental Armageddon, it's an oil spill on land" says Kate Colarulli of the Sierra Club regarding the Alberta tar sands, the world's largest industrial, capital and energy project.

    The unspoiled boreal forests of northern Canada compressed for 200 million years have created the world's second largest oil reserve, roughly the size of England. The tar sands, a mixture of sand and a heavy crude oil called bitumen are mined in open pits after being forced to the surface by injecting superheated water into the ground.

    With Canada being the largest foreign supplier of crude oil to the U.S. and production possibly tripling in coming years, the controversial mining of the tar sands already releases as much carbon dioxide per day into the environment as all the cars in Canada, making the extraction of crude from oil sands far worse for the environment than conventional oil production.

    This massive industrialized mining effort has far-reaching impacts on the land, air, water, and climate although amazingly no comprehensive assessment of the megaproject's environmental, economic, or social impact has been done.

    Director Peter Mettler's (MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES) film shot primarily from a helicopter offered an unparalleled view of this extraordinary spectacle, whose scope can only be understood from far above. In its melding of hypnotic imagery with a pulsing modernist score, PETROPOLIS: AERIAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE ALBERTA TAR SANDS features a timely look at a dehumanized world where petroleum's power is supreme.

  • "Strikingly beautiful and presented in such confident, assured rhythms that you're almost hypnotized by the flow of images - until you realize you're watching grand-scale systematic destruction." - Norman Wilner, NOW Magazine

  • "A gorgeous, affecting and deeply cinematic eco-documentary...something of a movie miracle." - Kevin Maher, The Times

  • "Finds both horror and strange beauty in man's capacity to force nature to bend to his skewed vision." - Peter Howell, Toronto Star

    DVD (Color) / 2009 / 43 minutes

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    Documents the devastating effect that oil and gas drilling is having on the health of families and the environment in the Rocky Mountain West.

    Imagine discovering that you don't own the mineral rights under your land, and that an energy company plans to drill for natural gas two hundred feet from your front door. Imagine another shocking truth: you have little or no recourse to protect your home or land from such development. SPLIT ESTATE maps a tragedy in the making, as citizens in the path of a new drilling boom in the Rocky Mountain West struggle against the erosion of their civil liberties, their communities and their health.

    Exempt from federal protections like the Clean Water Act, the oil and gas industry has left this idyllic landscape and its rural communities pockmarked with abandoned homes and polluted waters. One resident demonstrates the degree of benzene contamination in a mountain stream by setting it alight with a match. Many others, gravely ill, fight for their health and for the health of their children.

    SPLIT ESTATE zeroes in on Garfield County, Colorado, and the San Juan Basin, but the industry is aggressively seeking new leases in as many as 32 states. They are even making a bid to drill in the New York City watershed, which provides drinking water to millions.

    As our appetite for fossil fuels increases despite mounting public health concerns, SPLIT ESTATE cracks the sugarcoating on an industry that assures us it is a good neighbor, and drives home the need for alternatives -- both here and abroad.

  • "This film is of value to anyone wrestling with rational, sustainable energy policy." - Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico

  • "A must-see film for any elected official who deals with natural resources issues and the impact that oil & gas extraction can have on a community. Anyone who sees the film will be changed by the experience - for the better." - Brian Egolf, New Mexico State Representative

  • "We are fighting for our lives here in the Marcellus Shale in NY & PA. Your film may save us." - Diane MacInnes

    DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2009 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 76 minutes

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    Directed by Robert Cornellier

    The story of the Exxon Valdez and the 20-year legal battle to get restitution from ExxonMobil.

    In the early hours of March 24th 1989 the Exxon Valdez oil supertanker runs aground in Alaska. It discharges millions of gallons of crude oil. The incident becomes the biggest environmental catastrophe in North American history.

    In a flash, dramatic images shoot across the planet. They show thousands of carcasses of seabirds and sea otters covered in oil. A thick black tide rises and covers the beaches of once-pristine Prince William Sound.

    For twenty years, Riki Ott and the fishermen of the little town of Cordova, Alaska have waged the longest legal battle in U.S. history against the world's most powerful oil company - ExxonMobil. They tell us all about the environmental, social and economic consequences of the black wave that changed their lives forever.

    This is the legacy of the Exxon Valdez.

  • "A stunning reminder of the havoc wreaked...by the grounding of the Exxon Valdez." - Arthur R. Miller, University Professor, School of Law, New York University

  • Gemini Award (Canadian Emmy Awards), Best Direction in a Documentary Program

    DVD / 2008 / 99 minutes

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    It's the end of a myth which lasted 3,000 years. Since its oil shortage, China has relied on the outside world. Energy is its weak spot, its Achilles heel, and the problem will become more pronounced in proportion to its unbridled economic growth, which continues to be forecasted at 8% for the foreseeable future. There will be an immense need for an increased energy supply. China is unable to meet theses needs and collaboration with other governments is its only option. All of this growth has forced China to launch a world conquest. Every country with oil is being pursued.

    For three years, Chinese authorities have been traveling extensively to establish new oil alliances across the world. With those, come concessions that are incessantly at odds with the West. Contracts have been signed with Venezuela, Iran, the Sudan and Angola. In exchange, China offers its support in the form of promises to build telecommunication systems, railways and ports. It also offers protection to their partner nations by threatening to use its UN veto against resolutions involving human rights (Darfur) or nuclear issues (Iran.) Therefore doing business with the Chinese is much more attractive than with countries in the West. The Chinese do not want to be involved in the politics of other nations. They simply want oil.

    Are the Chinese really fulfilling all their promises? This investigative film offers an unprecedented examination of the issues that reach beyond the question of oil.

    DVD / 2008 / (Senior High, College) / 52 minutes

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    Is the oil beginning to run out? Shot over four years in 13 countries this film uncovers the myths surrounding the future of world oil supplies. The producers lift the lid on the 'Peak Oil' theory V whether oil production is about to fall. They travel to the Middle East to find out how much oil is actually there, exposing evidence that the oil producers may be exaggerating by up to 50%. We meet the men who believe that oil prices are about to bankrupt all of us and their evidence is terrifying: there's barely any oil left to find. We look back to the 70's, when we were first warned about this problem and we examine what can be done to prevent a global economic catastrophe. Can we escape our addiction to oil? Are we just going to deny the problem until it kills us?

    But is it really that bad? We meet the powerful men who tell us there is no problem because technology can save us. Travelling from the North Sea to Pennsylvania to Brazil we examine these optimistic views. Are they valid or just wishful thinking? Why isn't this issue talked about more and why aren't we doing anything about it? What about the electric car or other forms of fuel? We examine the alternatives and whether we have a way out of the mess we are in. PetroApocalypse Now? is a clarion call to address our dependency on petroleum before we are left with an energy emergency of catastrophic proportions.

  • "Balanced and very informative. It's quite remarkable!" - Dr Robert Hirsch, US Energy Department consultant

  • "Great, poignant documentary." - Michael Maser, Blue Energy International

    DVD / 2008 / (Grades 9-Adult) / 48 minutes

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    By John Webster

    Concerned about the world's addiction to oil, and its disastrous environmental consequences for the planet, the filmmaker convinces his family to go on an "oil diet" for one year. Aiming to reduce their contribution to greenhouse gases, Webster-if not his wife and two young sons, who are very reluctant participants-is eager to learn from their experiment and becomes a man on a mission.

    Divided into thirteen eponymous chapters, RECIPES FOR DISASTER chronicles their efforts on a month by month basis, revealing the personal difficulties involved in making such a radical change in lifestyle, and the surprising extent to which petroleum-based products figure in our everyday lives, including home heating and electricity, transportation, food, plastic products and packaging, clothing, even toothpaste, lipstick and shampoo.

    Under Webster's increasingly stringent demands-his wife complains they are "living under a dictatorship"-the family gives up their car for public transportation, bans plastics from the household, and switches to "green" alternatives whenever possible. While RECIPES FOR DISASTER show us how their lives change, archival footage of consumer society from the 1960s provides an ironic contrast to their sacrifices, and on-screen text and charts detail environmental statistics about our individual contributions to greenhouse gases.

    At the end of the year, having survived an emotionally fraught experience that tested their values, the family members discuss the surprising statistical results. Although they learn that people can overcome almost any problem, even a deep-seated, systemic problem such as our dependence on oil, they realize that first we must overcome ourselves. The recipes for environmental disaster reside in mankind's psychological denial, persistence of error and rationalization of bad behavior.

  • "An original form among ecological documentaries... excellent... this adventure speaks to each of us!"-DOX Magazine

  • "Engrossing and often amusing... The film not only investigates how our daily routine affects global warming, it also paints a candid portrait of an exceptional family dynamic." -Eye Weekly.com

  • "At turns funny and insightful, this is a fresh take on ecological problems, solutions, and individual responsibility." -Candace Smith, Booklist Online

    DVD (Color) / 2008 / 63 minutes

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    Featuring Michael T. Klare

    With clarity and urgency, Blood and Oil transcends partisan politics to show how six decades of failed government policy have increased America's dependence on foreign oil and made its energy and defense policies virtually interchangeable.

    Against the grain of leaders and pundits who have dismissed and belittled claims that the U.S. has sacrificed the lives of its troops and countless others around the world to feed its oil habit, the film exposes a fundamental connection between diminishing global petroleum supplies, skyrocketing rates of global consumption, and successive American wars and military interventions. Based on the critically-acclaimed book by international security expert Michael T. Klare.

    "Resources, not differences in civilizations or identities, are at the root of most contemporary confilict." - Michael T. Klare

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2007 / Approx. 55 minutes

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    Crude Impact is a powerful and timely story that explores the interconnection between human domination of the planet, and the discovery and use of oil. This documentary film exposes our global, deep-rooted dependency on fossil fuel energy and examines the future implications of peak oil - the point in time when the amount of petroleum available worldwide begins a steady, inexorable decline.

    In 1956, M. King Hubbert, a geologist at Shell Research Labs, shocked the oil industry by predicting that United States oil production - the largest in the world at that time - would peak in the early 1970s, and then continuously and irreversibly diminish. His prediction was vilified and largely ignored - until it came true. In Crude Impact, modern experts predict how quickly global peak oil will become a reality and discuss its many serious implications for our way of life and our world. Impacts discussed range from the environmental to the cultural, examining how global oil dependency is impacting everything from human rights practices, world population, renewable energy technologies, political agendas, globalization, wildlife habitats, and of course global economy.

    Journeying from the West African Delta region to the heart of the Amazon rainforest, from Washington to Shanghai, from early Man to the unknown future, Crude Impact chronicles the collision of our insatiable appetite for oil with the rights and livelihoods of indigenous cultures, other species and the planet itself. With great depth and insight, the film highlights the underlying myths and beliefs that are propelling us toward what many experts believe will be a cataclysmic period for humanity.

    A story filled with discovery, sorrow, outrage, humor, and ultimately hope, Crude Impact uncovers the complex entanglement of the fate of humankind with its fierce dependence on petroleum, while providing a vital inspiration for change.

  • "It is impossible to see this film and not begin to rethink the way we live." -Lynne Twist, Pachamama Alliance

  • "Crude Impact is a terrific film. I have no hesitation in saying it is the best documentary I have seen on the subject and I would feel very happy about recommending it to anyone. Key I think is its accessibility to someone with no prior exposure to the story of oil." -Chris Vernon, TheOilDrum.com

  • "Young people absolutely need to know about this issue, and Crude Impact covers it from all angles. This is a film no educator should be without.' -David W. Smith, Science Teacher, Bay High School

  • "After watching so many films... I'm a tough audience and it is hard to find something new. This film was as comprehensive as it was compelling." -Adrienne Bramhall, Sierra Club Productions

  • "Crude Impact is a powerful and thought provoking exploration of the hold that oil has over the world." -TransitionCulture.org

  • Winner: Best Feature Documentary - Artivist Film Festival
  • Winner: Social Justice Award - Santa Barbara Film Festival

    DVD (With Curriculum Guide) / 2007 / (Grades 7-Adult) / 98 minutes

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    By Shuchen Tan, Ijsbrand van Veelen & Rudi Boon

    In a world in which the U.S. and Europe are addicted to oil and gas, and those increasingly scarce resources are controlled by authoritarian regimes in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, Nigeria and Russia, the geopolitical ramifications have upset the traditional balance of power between nations. ENERGY WAR reveals precisely how the economic importance of fossil fuels affects international politics and becomes a powerful tool of foreign policy.

    The film profiles newly emergent "superpowers" such as Iran, a rogue regime that Western democracies must politically tolerate to assure access to its oil, and Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez has nationalized the oil industry, which boasts the largest untapped oil field in the world. Through interviews with Russian and Georgian government officials, ENERGY WAR shows how oil was used as a political weapon in the struggle between an economically revitalized Russia and its former Soviet Republic.

    Thomas Friedman (author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization and The World is Flat) analyzes the political concept of "petro authoritarianism" and Kenneth Deffeyes (Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage and Beyond Oil) explains the "Peak Oil" phenomenon, the point at which the earth's supply of oil begins its terminal decline.

    ENERGY WAR concludes by investigating the search for alternatives to our dependency on oil, featuring interviews with economists, stock market traders, and new energy entrepreneurs who discuss the pros and cons of such possible substitutes as biofuels, hydropower, nuclear and solar energy. As China, Africa, Latin America and even Saudi Arabia are preparing for a "green" future, it's clear that a world of new energy sources will reshape the global balance of political power.

  • "Excellent... earnest and relentless... visually clever... In a time when grand amounts of attention are being paid to the environmental consequences of fossil fuel use, this documentary gives the viewer a much needed look into the worldwide daily consequences on the political level. Highly Recommended." -Michael J. Coffta, Educational Media Reviews Online

  • "Alerts viewers to a critical issue... recommended for public and academic libraries." -David Conn, Library Journal

  • "Contains the most significant material I have reviewed in more than 20 years... While intended as a plea for wise energy consumption and appropriate energy technology development, this film is a masterful demonstration of the more fundamental scientific principle of simple cause and effect." -Michele Bremer, Science Books & Films

    DVD (Color) / 2007 / 78 minutes

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    Part 1 chronicles the discovery of oil in Persia in 1908; the tumultuous claims placed on Middle East territories and conclude with the British being sent home from Iran in the 1950s.

    This episode explores the "sphere of interest," power politics, oil's role in both World Wars, American influence, the Saudi empire, the exile of Britain, and the Shaw's rise to power and the start of turmoil between the nations of the Middle East.

    DVD / 2007 / (Senior High, College) / 55 minutes

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    Part 2 profiles the history of Middle East oil beginning in the early 1970's. It chronicles the oil embargo and the resulting rise in import prices as foreign leaders attempt to negotiate. Tensions in the Middle East begin to heighten as conflicting groups become more violent with each other and foreign powers. Assassinations, hostage situations and torture are tearing the region apart. American female soldiers fighting in the Gulf War sparks interests in women's rights in Saudi Arabia. Fundamentalist groups react to this and become even more oppressive and aggressive.

    DVD / 2007 / (Senior High, College) / 55 minutes

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    Part 3 profiles the after effects of the second gulf war. Iraq, which once played a major role in the Middle East oil trade, is struggling to gain stability. Exemplifying this is the city of Kirkuk, one of the two largest oil regions in the country, where oil brought destruction and discrimination against the Kurds. In Iran, controversy surrounds the Sunni and Shiite's and the struggle for everyday life. This episode also shows the disparity between north and south Tehran and the south's disappointment with failed promises by president Ahmadinijhad. In stark contrast lies Kuwait and Saudi Arabia where modernization is far beyond that of Iran and Iraq.

    DVD / 2007 / (Senior High, College) / 55 minutes

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    By Nadja Drost

    In the aggressive search for the 'black gold' that drives Western economies, multinational corporations are working to extract billions of dollars of oil reserves from beneath Ecuador's rainforest. BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND THE ROOSTER'S CROW investigates the operations of the EnCana Corporation, a firm that, despite proud public declarations of its social responsibility, is shown to be answerable for widespread environmental contamination and human rights violations.

    BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND THE ROOSTER'S CROW focuses on EnCana's development of a heavy crude oil pipeline from the Amazon across the earthquake-prone Andes to the Pacific coast for export. Since oil exploitation represents a solution for Ecuador's economic crisis, the government has gone out of its way to facilitate EnCana's plans, disregarding protests about property destruction and contamination. The government has even lauded EnCana for its supposed responsibility (the film's title refers to a government decision to present EnCana with an environmental award).

    Filmmaker Nadja Drost follows the cross-country route of the pipeline, along the way interviewing farmers, indigenous community representatives, environmental activists and others, who recount forced relocation, imprisonment, and intimidation, including shootings and beatings by the Ecuadorian police and army who protect EnCana's pipeline.

    Avoiding government and corporate security agents, Drost documents unsafe construction, toxic waste, and contamination of rivers, as well as the affects on Ecuadorians (skin cancer, miscarriages and birth defects) and the destruction of wildlife and natural preserves. Occasionally dredging up a lump of foul-smelling crude on the end of a stick, the filmmaker here becomes, literally, a muck-raking journalist.

    We also see Drost presenting evidence of corporate misdeeds to Ecuadorian government bureaucrats, and confronting EnCana's CEO at a stockholders' meeting.

    Ultimately, BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND THE ROOSTER'S CROW is a revealing case study of the troubling connections between multinational corporations, insatiable Western consumption patterns, and the resultant devastation wrought on the social, economic, and environmental conditions of foreign countries and populations.

  • "Raises a number of important questions that would be good starting points for discussion." - The Americas

  • "Highly Recommended...A very well-documented and photographed documentary!" - Educational Media Reviews Online

  • "Straight-up, earnest and engaged." - Hour Magazine

  • "Remarkable! Brave! Uncovers evidence of pollution, coercion, and corruption." - indieWIRE

  • "An important and timely film...for all citizens of the global village." - International Third World Studies Journal & Review

  • "Disturbing...especially useful in the college classroom." - Bridges: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Theology, Philosophy, History, and Science

  • Best Documentary, 2005 Paris Environmental Film Festival
  • Audience Award, 2005 Recontres Internacionales de Documentaire du Montreal
  • Best Canadian Documentary, 2005 Hot Docs Documentary Festival
  • Best Documentary, 2005 Bogota Film Festiva

    DVD (Color) / 2005 / 66 minutes

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