Exposed: New Documentary About Gas Drilling Hailed as Indie and Balanced, But Here's Why It's Neither
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It all began in November 2009 at the Sheffield Film Festival in England.
From England to Denmark to Texas -- an "Independent" Film Hits Prestigious Venues
Haynesville started off with a splash unseen by most small, independent films.
In November 2009, the film premiered at the prestigious Sheffield Film Festival in England. In a press release announcing the global premiere, director Gregory Kallenberg stated, "I was floored when I found out...The head programmer from the festival personally called to tell me how much he liked the film, and that Sheffield wanted it to premiere in their festival. In the film fest world, that kind of thing just doesn't happen."
At the Sheffield Film Festival, Haynesville was one of the nominees for the prestigious Green Doc Award. (It did not win, but it's a bit ironic to think that a dirty gas industry propaganda film was even considered a candidate in a green documentary competition.)
It was shortly thereafter featured at the December 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. In conjunction with the COP-15 conference itself, the U.N. sponsored the Indigenous Voices on Climate Change Film Festival. Haynesville was one of the 22 films screened, even though it has nothing to do with indigenous voices on climate change.
Haynesville has also played in front of other influential audiences, ranging from the New Orleans Film Festival, the Aspen Ideas Festival this past summer and TEDx Austin, among others.
The film made its national television premier in November 2010 on CNBC, a television channel owned by NBC/Universal, which is owned in part by General Electric (GE) -- GE, lo and behold, is a big player in the natural gas industry.
GE created a device for recycling the water used during the controversial and toxic hydraulic fracturing (fracking) process. Furthermore, it maintains natural gas fueled power plants, and manufactures natural gas-powered turbines, having sold more than $1 billion worth of them in 2011 in the United States, according to Reuters. GE also recently made a deal with Russia to sell between $10 and $15 billion worth of turbines.
"We're a massive player in gas exploration," GE's Mark Vachon stated in a July 2011 story.
Since GE has a "massive" stake in the future of gas development, its NBC/Universal division is an ideal outlet for a national cable television premiere of a film highly favorable to increased natural gas production, to say the least.
The Truth About Three Penny Productions
The Contact Us section of the Haynesville website lists a Three Penny Productions studio. The name "Three Penny Productions" might evoke a small "mom and pop" independent movie studio to many folks, but the reality is to the contrary.
The first red flag: Three Penny Productions is located in the heart of Shreveport's petroleum district. A Google Maps search of businesses and trade associations located in a two-block radius of Three Penny Productions includes the likes of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, Chesapeake Energy, Caddo Management, Inc., Phillips Energy Partners, the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, Petrohawk Energy, the Petroleum Club of Shreveport, Goodrich Petroleum Corporation, and C.H. Fenstermaker and Associates.
Red flag number two: Three Penny Productions is not listed on the directory of the building it is said to sit in on the Haynesville website, the American Tower, according to a YouTube video produced by a source who lives in the Shreveport area. Those listed include Caddo Management and the influential lobbying firm, C.H. Fenstermaker and Associates, but no Three Penny Productions in sight. Furthermore, a photo of the production studio taken by the same source shows an empty office in the listed Suite 1007.