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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published April 05 2012

‘FrackNation’ filmmaker to scout for locations in North Dakota next week

If you go

What: Filmmaker Ann McElhinney talks about her upcoming documentary, “FrackNation”

Minot event: 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Holiday Inn

Bismarck event: 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Best Western Doublewood Inn

Cost: $10, or free for members of the North Dakota Policy Council

For more info: policynd.org

WILLISTON, N.D. – A filmmaker for the upcoming documentary “FrackNation” will be scouting for locations to film in North Dakota next week.

Ann McElhinney, who will speak in Minot on Tuesday and Bismarck on Wednesday, also plans to visit Dickinson, Williston and Glendive, Mont., during her trip.

McElhinney said this will be her first visit to the Bakken and she’s anxious to see the activity.

“It’s an incredible story, and I just want to witness that myself,” McElhinney said Thursday. “North Dakota may well be included in the film.”

The film, being produced by Los Angeles-based company Ann and Phelim Media, is a response to the anti-fracking movie “Gasland” by Josh Fox.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves shooting water and sand laced with chemicals underground to create channels in the rock to recover fossil fuels.

Fox’s film presents a shocking anti-fracking argument, but McElhinney said it’s based on emotions and anecdotes.

“In the past, I have discovered that environmentalists are not always truth tellers,” she said.

McElhinney and her husband, Phelim McAleer, also directed “Not Evil Just Wrong,” which challenged Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”

The “money shot” for Fox’s film is a scene where tap water is lit on fire, McElhinney.

McAleer confronted Fox during a question-and-answer event about why he didn’t mention in the film that historical references indicate people were able to ignite natural gas in their water before fracking began. Fox replied that it wasn’t relevant, McElhinney said.

“We thought it was relevant, and we then started checking out the other claims in the film,” she said.

McElhinney said they heard a “stratospherically opposite” story from scientists and ordinary people affected by fracking restrictions.

Fundraising for “FrackNation” is continuing online at fracknation.com through this morning. The donations are on track to reach $200,000.

McElhinney said she is working to get “FrackNation” distributed before the November election.

Meanwhile, HBO has paid Fox $750,000 for “Gasland II,” McElhinney said.

And McElhinney said she’s learned that Matt Damon is set to star in a Hollywood anti-fracking movie directed by Gus Van Sant and co-starring John Krasinski.

“They’ll put together a very terrifying film,” McElhinney said.

McElhinney’s speaking events in Minot and Bismarck are being organized by the North Dakota Policy Council.

Dalrymple is a Forum Communications Co. reporter stationed in the Oil Patch. She can be reached at adalrymple@forumcomm.com

or (701) 580-6890.