This week, indieWIRE's curation of the Hulu Documentaries page puts the spotlight on a handful of films on the environment, with a special focus on fossil fuels. Coincidentally, this ties in with America Recycles Day, which took place this Monday.
EDITOR'S NOTE: "indieWIRE @ Hulu Docs" is a regular column spotlighting the iW-curated selections on Hulu's Documentaries page, a unique collaboration between the two sites. iW selections appear in the carousel at the top of the page and under "Featured Content" in the center. Be sure to check out the great non-fiction projects available free of charge.
Our spotlight on the environment begins with Josh Tickell’s "Fuel,” which had its premiere at Sundance, where it picked up the Documentary Audience Award. In the film, Tickell serves as a guide around the world to make sense of America’s addiction to oil, historically, politically, and socially, and to provide practical and sustainable alternatives to help contain and reverse the damage it’s caused the environment and for our foreign policy.
A horrible, unintended consequence of fossil fuel mining is at the heart of Chris Perkel and Georgie Roland’s "The Town That Was,” the story of Centralia, PA. Once a mining town that counted over 1600 inhabitants, by the time of the film, only 11 residents remain. The reason? An underground anthracite coal fire has burning since 1962, poisoning the environment and threatening the people. This intimate portrait focuses on the youngest remaining resident.
Unintended consequences are also discussed in Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Lindsey’s "Tapped,” which focuses on the impact of bottled water on the environment. Examining how marketers managed to convince us to spend money on a resource that has always been free, the resultant ubiquity of bottled water and the thoughtless disposability of its container has led to an unheralded growth of non-degradable and ultimately toxic plastic, shoring up our dependence on oil, and wreaking havoc on our health and the well-being of animals and sealife.
Finally, Gene Rosow and Bill Benenson’s "Dirt! The Movie” premiered at Sundance in 2009, where it had the infamous and unexpected distinction of causing a fistfight between a film rep and a film critic. The film explore the remarkable properties of soil, and the dangerous impact that modern agricultural methods have had on it. Ultimately, it calls for people to take a closer look at what we’re doing to our natural resources and to reconnect with the natural world.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Basil Tsiokos is a Programming Associate, Documentary Features for Sundance, consults with documentary filmmakers and festivals, and recently co-produced Cameron Yates’ feature documentary “The Canal Street Madam.” Follow him on Twitter @1basil1 and @CanalStMadamDoc and visit his blog what (not) to doc.