On December 3, Matt Damon and John Krasinski were at an Apple Store in Soho to promote the Gus Van Sant-directed anti-fracking film they co-wrote, "Promised Land," opening January 4, 2013. During the Q&A portion of the event hosted by Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine, Phelim McAleer, a conservative filmmaker directing his own film meant to expose the lies of the anti-frackers, was called on to ask a question.
In "Promised Land," a natural gas salesman realizes the effects of fracking on a small town and has a change of heart that forces him to reconsider his career.
McAleer, who is finishing his film "FrackNation" said, "It has emerged recently that the script -- or that the funding for "Promised Land" -- came from a Middle Eastern oil nation…how does it feel to be a fully paid advocate for an oil-rich Middle Eastern government?"
Damon countered with a smile and a joke before responding to McAleer's inquiry. "We got funded by Focus Features and Participant. Participant Media has a blind slate deal with these people, Image Nation, who pay for like 10 percent of all their films. So, the first time we were aware that Imagenation was involved with our movie was when we saw the rough cut and saw their logo. And that's that."
Image Nation is a film fund based out of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
McAleer's question, however unfriendly, is not included in the audio podcast of the event, posted at iTunes; McAleer claims to have proof of Apple's censorship, as he videotaped the event against Apple's instructions. “When the guy asks for questions from the audience and then calls, “front row, middle,’ it’s me he’s talking about,” McAleer told The Hollywood Reporter. “Then in the podcast, they just airbrush me out, like Stalin used to do."