Upcoming film The Promised Land, starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski, is two months from hitting theaters, but it is already creating quite a stir. According to the film’s website, the film is about a businessman and his partner who go to a struggling rural town, as they “see the local citizens as likely to accept their company’s offer, for drilling rights to their properties.” However, a teacher and a local man launch a grassroots campaign against drilling, in this film that “explor(es) America at the crossroads where big business and the strength of small-town community converge.”
The film’s stance against “big oil” took a hit recently when it came out that Image Nation Abu Dhabi, which financed the film, is wholly owned by the government of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is an oil-rich OPEC nation. Not only does this reek of Hollywood hypocrisy, it makes one wonder if Abu Dhabi has ulterior motives in financing the film. They do, of course, have a very real financial interest in keeping the United States dependent on foreign energy sources.
From what can be seen in the trailer, the movie appears to be little more than anti-fracking propaganda, and it has caused the “drill, baby, drill” crowd to fight back. “We have to address the concerns that are laid out in these types of films,” a spokesman for Independent Petroleum Association of America, which represents energy producers, told the Wall Street Journal, while Focus Features says it is too early to judge film.
Energy companies are working on a campaign to refute anti-fracking propaganda in the film. These companies will be “provid(ing) film reviewers with scientific studies, distribute leaflets to moviegoers and launching a “truth squad” initiative on Twitter and Facebook.” With studies showing fracking to be a safe way to obtain and utilize our natural resources the jury is, at best, still out on this issue. Maybe those who see The Promised Land should also view Frack Nation (which did not accept any funding from oil and gas companies) and seek out to get the other side of the story. After all, an informed decision is the best kind. Except, perhaps, for ticket sales.