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Groundswell Rising, Protecting Our Children's Air and Water

USA 2014
produced by
Renard Cohen, Matt Cohen (executive), Mark Lichty (executive) for Resolution Pictures
directed by Renard Cohen
music by Bert Mueller, Renard Cohen, Ian Ethan Case, The Horse Flies, Natalie Merchant, Audio Network


review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Fracking - short for hydraulic fracturing, a method to mine natural gas and petroleum by cracking deep rock formations using a hydraulically pressurized liquid made of water, sand and chemicals, not all of them non-toxic - has been a method of getting one's hand on cheap natural reserves that was highly controversial almost from the get-go, first and foremost because there's no guarantee these chemicals stay harmless once they're pumped into the ground, and they might actually affect the groundwater - and not in a positive way. Incidently, Halliburton was granted the first ever exclusive license for fracking as early as 1949, and due to an exemption law that allowed fracking companies to pump a large array of dangerous chemicals into the ground granted in the 2000s when former Halliburton CEO and chairman Dick Cheney was vice president, fracking saw its big boom.


Groundswell Rising is not a political film though, it rather shows the effects of fracking on rural communities - not only the chemicals in the ground (and poisoning of ground water), also the air and noise pollution, the endless commercial traffic all day and night, coupled with the complete absence of the promised economical growth ... in other words, it shows where industrial deregulation painfully failed. But locals have taken protests into their own hands, have organized to stop fracking, first on a community level then on a state level, with attempts to making it national - and they've succeeded to reduce fracking to a large degree. And please note, these protesters are not tree-hugging communists big business always likes to make those who care out to be, but simple country people from all walks of life (including at least one self-proclaimed right wing conservative, who just cares for the land he lives off), no big city intellectuals with lofty ideas but the people concerned the most who also really suffer the most under this, be it their health or actually their finances (as with fracking going on all around, their land loses on value, which might endanger future mortgages and the like).


And all of this is in fact what makes Groundswell Rising so compelling, it's not an attempt to deliver a political message via means of propaganda disguised as documentary but speaks with the people concerned the most, shows their grassroots efforts to make a change, shows the side effects of fracking rather than breaking it down into chemical formulas coupled with what-ifs, makes this fight David vs Goliath palpable. What it might lack is statements and reactions from the other side - but it does show some pro-fracking adverts, and it's doubtful those responsible would have had any more to say.

Well, truth-to-the fact, if you're pro-fracking, you'll probably stay a mile away from this movie no matter how informative it might be, but if you want to get deeper into the subject without having to fight yourself through tons and tons of scientific analysis, this is a really good place to start!


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD