"Truthland," the factual alternative to "Gasland," launches nationwide

June 14, 2012

Film leverages facts, interviews with experts to tell real story behind shale development; major summer screening tour kicks off.

The development of enormous reserves of American energy from tight formations such as shale has been hailed as a “game-changer” by the Energy Information Administration, as playing a “key role in our nation's clean energy future,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and as a means of helping our country “create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper,” President Obama said earlier this year.

But for one mom in rural northeast Pennsylvania, the only real question that mattered was this: Is the process used to develop these resources safe? Or is it the way “Gasland” star Josh Fox tried to portray it in his HBO film: dangerous and disruptive – and completely unregulated, to boot? Shelly – a mother, grandmother, farmer and science teacher from Susquehanna Co., Pa. – needed answers, for herself, her family and her community. So she went looking for some. Her journey in search of the truth is captured and chronicled in “Truthland

,” which officially goes live today.

“When we were told we could have natural gas under our farm, we felt very blessed,” said Shelly, who, as part of the film, interviewed more than a dozen energy and environmental experts in six states. “But that excitement was tempered somewhat by the negative stories we had heard about hydraulic fracturing. Then came ‘Gasland,’ and that made it even tougher to determine what the truth really was. Well, the science teacher in me had questions, and I owed it to my family to go and find out what was real. To get our questions answered, I knew I needed to go where the experts were. And so, that’s exactly what I did.”

“Obviously, this isn’t the first time something has been released that sets the record straight on the mountain of misinformation in ‘Gasland,’” said Jeff Eshelman, vice president of public affairs for Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and executive vice president of Energy In Depth (EID). “But it is the first time that these facts have been transmitted in such vivid detail, through such a compelling medium, as part of a story told by someone as genuine and inspirational as Shelly – someone whose stake in responsible development, and in protecting air, water and the environment, is both very serious and deeply personal.”

A first-of-its-kind project of IPAA and EID, the costs associated with the production of the 34-minute film were underwritten by industry – but none of the experts who appear in the movie (Shelly included) were paid a dime for their time or participation. The only thing they were asked to do was tell the truth: as best they knew it, and however they saw it. Those interviews comprise the main body of “Truthland” -- extended, unedited interviews of the experts are available on the “extras” page of TruthlandMovie.com.

 Along with the official launch of the movie this week, the first official screening of the film is set to take place this Saturday, June 16, in Columbus, Ohio, as part of a larger event co-hosted by the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and a number of other supporting organizations. Shelly herself is slated to make an appearance too. A 35-stop “Truthland” screening tour, stretching across more than a dozen states, will commence from there. For information on dates and venues, please check out the “screenings” page at TruthlandMovie.com.  

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