Utopia is both an epic portrayal of the oldest continuous human culture on the planet--indigenous Australia--and an investigation into a suppressed colonial past and rapacious present. One of the world's best kept secrets is revealed against the great Australian 'mining boom,' showing how the country's racially divided past and current-day media collusion play their parts in a system that is apartheid in all but name. The film examines the exploitation of the Aboriginal population, both as a people and of the land they have lived on for centuries, and how so many institutions have profited while people continue to suffer. The injustice stretches across countless generations and stories. Utopia reveals this universal story of power and resistance, driven by old imperatives, in a media age of saturation which is profoundly silent and complicit; a call to continue resistance.
The small town of Fort Chipewyan in northern Alberta, Canada, is facing up for the fight against The Alberta oil sands, which is arguably now the world's largest construction project. Its expansion will have an estimated $1.7 trillion impact on the Canadian economy over the coming decades. An area of boreal forest the size of Greece will be affected by industrial activity. Once again the issue is water, but this time it is not just the flow of the river, but the chemicals the current may be carrying downstream from the strip mines and bitumen upgraders. In recent years, Fort Chipewyan has experienced an unusually high rate of cancer. Local fishermen are finding growing numbers of deformed fish in their nets. Residents and the community doctor, worry there could be a connection to the oil sands...
Burning The Future documents the devastating environmental and social impacts of coal mining specifically in West Virginia in the United States, where mountaintop removal mining has obliterated 1.4 million acres of mountains, polluted the groundwater, destroyed farm land and communities. The film follows a group of people directly affected by mining who venture to challenge the coal industry with the intent to protect mountains, save their families, and preserve life. However, their efforts are hampered by the systems that protect coal interests, the interests of business and industrial civilisation. This film shows the imperative need to fight back against powerful mining magnates, and how common legal channels of persuasion and reform simply do not exist. How do we stop these massive mining magnates from killing the world we live in?
Mongolia is the next target for the world's biggest copper mines. The Oyu Tolgoi mine currently under construction in the South Gobi Desert is a combined open-pit and underground mine due to start operations in the next few months, which alone will account for 30 percent of Mongolia's entire "GDP". But the Oyu Tolgoi deal between the Mongolian government and the massive Australian mining company Rio Tinto is truly indicative -- Mongolia gets just 34 percent, while Rio Tinto is exempt from a profits tax and receives open access to scarce desert aquifers and the provisioning of water to people living close to land that the mining company now 'owns'. Has this rapid mining-driven growth come at the expense of nature and the local way of life?
With the United Nations laying out a deadline for 2013 on claims to the Arctic seabed to be exploited for oil, minerals and gas, countries such as Canada, the United States, Russia, Norway and Greenland are all attempting to stake a claim. As the beginning battle for territory intensifies, the rapid disappearance of the Polar ice caps opens up potential shipping routes which, ironically speeds the rapacious desire and opportunity to exploit the region. The Battle For The Arctic heads to the Far North to see first-hand who is threatened and exactly what is at stake with these final grabs for energy, power and territory.
How To Stop A Multinational follows three women in Argentina as they put themselves in harms way to stop a gold mining company from entering their town. With the activists having defeated a Canadian mining company, the campaign is now against a Chinese one that wishes to extend the operation, making use of large quantities of fresh water--up to 45,000,000 litres per day--a plan that seriously threatens the future viability of the town and the environment. This short film documents the campaign which is still in its early days, where activists carry out a series of direct-actions to stop the mining company from physically entering the town; training villagers, informing others and filming the outcomes along the way...
A group of conservation photographers travel to British Columbia, Canada, to capture the region in response to plans by several oil companies who want to build a pipeline for export from the Alberta tar sands, across British Columbia to the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest. The tar sands in northern Alberta are the largest, most destructive industrial projects in human history. The proposed pipeline not only threatens this area, but many others across Canada and indeed the world. Spoil follows several renowned photographers and videographers who show the Great Bear Rainforest's landscapes, wildlife, and indigenous culture; calling to act before it's too late...
The Last Mountain follows the fight for the last great mountain in North America's Appalachian heartland where mining giants that want to deforest and explode it to extract the coal inside are faced with a community fighting to preserve the mountain. The film considers the health consequences and environmental impacts of mining, burning coal for electricity, also looking at the wider context and history of environmental laws in the United States.
Fracking Hell -- The Untold Story looks at the risks of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale throughout the United States. From toxic chemicals in drinking water to interstate dumping of radioactive waste that cataclysmically contaminates water supplies, to fracking plans in major population centres including New York City -- are the health consequences worth the supposed economic gains?
Exempt from environmental protection laws, the oil and gas industry has left idyllic landscapes and rural communities throughout the United States pockmarked with abandoned homes, polluted waterways and aquifers, as well as plenty of sick people. Split Estate zeroes in on Garfield County in Colorado, and the San Juan Basin where more demonstrations of water that can be set on fire are found, but industry isn't just stopping there -- fracking is spreading across the United States, with plans to even drill in the New York City watershed, as well as elsewhere around the globe. As the appetite for fossil fuels increases, Split Estate debunks claims by an industry that assures the public that it is a good neighbour, driving home the need to stop fracking, both here and abroad...
Sales pitches and PR for gas drilling are quick to dismiss claims that gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing processes are controversial. The direct evidence on the ground throughout the United States tells a different story however -- toxic chemical spills, gas leeching, contaminated water supplies throughout the country, as well as many documented cases of ill health and sickness. As energy companies look to frack elsewhere outside the United States -- in Europe, South Africa, Australia -- The Fracking Façade provides yet more timely evidence of the warnings to heed from fracking and it's devastating ecological impact so far...
Dirty Oil looks into the strip-mined regions of Alberta, Canada, where the vast and toxic Tar Sands currently supply the United States with the majority of its oil. Through the eyes of corporate officials, politicians, scientists, doctors, environmentalists and communities directly impacted by the largest industrial project on the planet today, Dirty Oil travels to both sides of Canada to document the irreversible toll the tar sands take, further fuelled by the western world's addiction to oil...
Canada is now the biggest supplier of oil to the United States, thanks to the Alberta tar sands -- a controversial billion-dollar project to extract crude oil from bitumen sands, using a very toxic process that has generated international cause for concern. Four barrels of glacier-fed spring water are used to process each barrel of oil, along with vast amounts of electricity. The waste water is dumped, filled with carcinogens and other chemicals, into leaky tailings ponds so huge that the piles can be seen from space. Downstream, people and communities are already paying the price with contaminated water supplies and clusters of rare cancers. Evidence mounts for industry and government cover-ups. In a time when wars are fought over dwindling oil and a crisis looms over access to fresh water, which will turn out to be more precious?
Canada's tar sands are the largest industrial project ever undertaken--spanning the size of England. Extracting the oil and bitumen from underneath unspoiled wilderness requires a massive industrialised effort with far-reaching impacts on the land, air, water, and climate. It's an extraordinary industrial spectacle, the true scope of which can only be understood from an aerial view. Shot primarily from a helicopter, Petropolis: Aerial Perspectives on the Alberta Tar Sands offers an unparalleled view of the world's largest ever industrial project...
It's been described as the boom that keeps on giving -- an export bonanza that will help Australia ride through a world-wide economic downturn. All across Australia, workers have left their jobs to make big money in the mining industry. In the rush to exploit vast natural resources, employers have all but set aside the idea of building and supporting communities, instead they pay big wages to fly-in, fly-out; drive-in, drive-out workers, encouraging them to work long shifts, leaving them with little reason to become part of a local community...
With access to undercover filming, The Gas Rush reports on a group of farmers and local townspeople in Queensland, Australia who want to halt the rapacious rush for coal seam gas. With scenes similar to that in Gasland -- corporate deceptions, contaminated water supplies, toxic fracking chemicals, leaky wells and people setting their water on fire -- The Gas Rush illustrates the fact that the drive to extract gas is not only happening in the United States...
In Europe, nuclear energy is popularly celebrated as the best way to "save the climate". Of course, there are benefits, but can it really save the climate? Nuclear power stations run on uranium and the by-products are harmful and controversial, not to mention the many dangerous effects of mining for the mineral on the environment and humanity...
Focusing specifically on mines in Canada, Uranium examines the hazards of uranium mining, the toxic and radioactive waste involved at every stage of the process, as well as the wholistic way that indigenous communities have been violated and destroyed by mining and refining practices throughout the country and the world...
Today, many governments are still promoting the idea that nuclear power is an attractive alternative to fossil fuels and the magic fix to climate change. Nuclear power has seemingly taken on a clean and green spin from the low point 20 years ago which saw incidents like the Chernobyl meltdown and Three Mile Island. Traversing five countries -- China, France, UK, Japan and Australia, A Hard Rain takes a closer look at the global nuclear industry in its entirety -- from uranium mining through to the nuclear power plant, to radioactive waste and weapons manufacturing -- exposing the motivations behind the latest push for Australia to go nuclear, and why this is not a good idea...
Fight For Country tells the story of one of Australia's largest ever land rights and environmental campaigns, to stop the building of a second uranium mine within the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, Australia. In 1998 the issue came to a head when Indigenous elders and activists called on people to come from around Australia and the world to blockade the construction of the mine and proposed 'uranium deposits', collectively called Jabiluka. The film follows activists and speaks with Aboriginal people about the impacts of the mine, following the community response and protest actions against the mines development, where over 500 people were arrested in the course of the eight-month blockade.
In 1983, the Australian Government approved the construction of Olympic Dam uranium mine at Roxby Downs in central South Australia, despite overwhelming opposition by the traditional indigenous land owners--the Kokotha and Arabunna people--and other Australian's in the community. With an approval for expansion of the mine 14 years later, this film documents one of the many events organised in protest of the mine, as well as other actions to raise awareness of the many impacts of uranium mining in Australia.