Oilpro was recently invited to privately screen a new documentary on the US shale revolution, Breaking Free. Scheduled for release this fall, the film tells the story of the US unconventional revolution through the voices of a broad array of academic experts and industry officials. The film also fairly engages the prevailing criticisms levied at fracking, including alleged water contamination and induced seismic activity. In a time when the medium of film is largely used by fracking opponents, this piece is a refreshing presentation of the other side of the story. Importantly, while the film’s creator is an advocate for fracking, the film does not come across as overt pro-industry propaganda. Instead, Breaking Free presents a balanced view of the facts of fracking, even giving airtime to skeptics of the process. We commend the producers for the fairness and openness of the film. In this post, Oilpro Columnist Jeff Reed presents a discussion of the issues, a review of the film following our private viewing, and a trailer.
Joseph Triepke, Oilpro
Breaking Free: Addressing A Void
Cognitive dissonance is defined as the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes. To a large degree, this describes the public’s (and mass media’s) reaction to the US O&G boom.
On the one hand, the oil boom has been a key factor in driving US economic recovery, which is enjoyed and appreciated by all US citizens. O&G growth has driven positive economic trends in jobs, trade balance, and GDP.
But on the other hand, many react skeptically or even cynically to the hydraulic fracturing technology which has made this boom possible. Mis- and dis-information on fracking controversies are sadly all too common in mainstream media reports.
A “perspective void” appears to exist between the benefits of a successful shale boom and the fracking technology that has enabled it. The new documentary Breaking Free addresses how the two are linked, and openly addresses criticisms levied at fracking. The film is slated for release to the public this fall.
“Industry hasn’t done a good job telling the important story of the shale oil and gas renaissance that’s fueling our economic comeback, so we are very proud to,” says Chris Faulkner, producer of the film.
Faulkner says, “We wanted to help tell the whole story and show folks how key this shale boom has been here and will be all across the globe, so they can judge based on all the facts rather than only the scary stories that play so well on the evening news.”
Robin Bossert, a filmmaker for over 30 years, directed the film. From being a cameraman for the BBC back in the 16mm days to writing, directing and editing award winning educational videos, documentaries and corporate pieces, Bossert has seen it all.
Bossert partnered with Breitling Energy founder and CEO Chris Faulkner to make the film. Faulkner is the author of The Fracking Truth and has helped raise public awareness of the US unconventional production revolution.
The idea for Breaking Free was conceived in early 2013 by Faulkner and Ann Stephenson, founder of the public relations company that bears her name. After selecting Bossert to direct the film, they hired fracking expert Peter Fusaro (Chairman of Global Change Associates, a New York-based energy and environmental consultancy) and creative consultant Dennis Threade to assist with the project.
Oilpro Was Granted a Private Screening of the Film: It Gets Two Thumbs Up from Us
Breaking Free is divided into six segments, each of which utilizes interviews with a broad range of industry officials, academic experts and citizens. Through the interviews, the film traces the contours of the shale revolution within the context of the US’s drive for energy independence.
The experts describe the history, status, outlook, and global implications of the US unconventional production boom. Further, citizens from many walks of life articulate how their lives have been impacted for the better by the “shale rock revolution.”
While sponsored by pro-fracking advocates, the film comes across as fair, not as over-the-top pro-industry propaganda.
The film’s six segments are as follows:
- Community Focus: interviews with workers on the wells, ministers, teachers, local government and local citizens.
- Drilling Process: a description of the fracking process guided by fracking experts and corresponding graphics.
- History of Drilling: how this need was identified in the aftermath of the 1973 oil embargo.
- Environmental Impact: how state and local infrastructure is impacted by the industry growth, and how fracking is the most significant way for the energy industry to cut carbon emissions by switching from coal to gas.
- Seismicity: countering the claims that fracking causes earthquakes and telling the real story.
- Economic Impact: on the local, state and federal levels.
Upcoming screenings of the film will be held in August 8 in San Antonio at the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association Conference, and on July 29 in Washington, DC, at the National Gas Roundtable Luncheon