Get the word on fracking out | The Jackal

1 Mar 2012

Get the word on fracking out

Award-winning filmmakers Tom and Sumner Burstyn from Cloud South Films are reaching out to concerned Kiwi citizens to help fund their next documentary with the working title Fracking Whakatutu.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a mining technique that involves injecting millions of litres of a high-pressure cocktail including water, sand and chemicals into fuel-rich subterranean rock.

Industry advocates claim the practice is safe; opponents claim it leaves a toxic legacy. What’s not in dispute is the steady increase of fracking in New Zealand in recent years, and the lack of public engagement on the topic.

“If information is power, then the public of this country is virtually powerless when it comes to the potential risks and rewards that fracking represents,” says writer-producer Sumner Burstyn. “As such we feel compelled to make a film that puts the claims of both energy companies and environmentalists under the microscope.”

With the likelihood of the Government allowing a great deal more fracking in the near future, the Burstyns’ aim is to have their documentary feature in NZ cinemas by early 2013.

“This kind of accelerated schedule is something an agency like the Film Commission just isn’t set up to accommodate,” notes director-cinematographer Tom Burstyn. “By its very nature, the NZFC has to be very deliberate in its decision-making. So we’ve decided to jumpstart the project by soliciting funding directly from members of the New Zealand public.”

The filmmakers are doing this via recently launched “crowdfunding” website PledgeMe. Their goal is to raise $150,000 in this manner by 27 May, which will enable them to pull together enough compelling material to secure the rest of the production budget and have the film – working title, Fracking Whatatutu – ready for release early next year.

“We’re really passionate about this project and the part it can play in contributing to democratic discussion of an important issue for this and future generations,” says Sumner Burstyn. “We’re also excited about helping trail-blaze a new kind of film financing in NZ.”
Click here to view Fracking Whatatutu’s PledgeMe page.

Tom and Sumner Burstyn (This Way of Life), have decided to break their plans and make the movie because they're concerned by the lack of informed debate on fracking, among politicians and the public alike.

With fracking already underway in New Zealand, time is of the essence.

The Impact

We're really passionate about this project. Film has the power to change the direction of individuals and governments. New Zealand still has the chance to be the clean green haven the world sees it as. Our vision is for Fracking Whatatutu to become the preeminent tool for proactive democracy around this subject.

What We Need & What You Get

The first $30,000 will be used for early research and early production - the first step in the process. These donated funds will help us pull together enough compelling material to secure the rest of the production budget for the film - working title Fracking Whatatutu. This material will enable us to approach funding bodies with solid evidence of why this film should be supported. With public support we will be able to have this film ready for release in the first half of 2013

Other Ways You Can Help

Tell eveyone you know, join all of our groups - we can use as much coverage as possible and we'd love you to be a part of the conversation!