As an avid moviegoer and lover of all things cinema, I have ventured to beautiful and breathtaking Park City, Utah, for the past five years to attend the Sundance Film Festival. This year, I was overwhelmed with intrigue, sadness, shock and awe at the by the amazing documentaries I saw at this year’s festival.
I saw no less than 13 movies in five days and that was a marathon of drama and comedy in itself. As thousands of film lovers flock to Park City and Salt Lake City every year to wait in lines in the freezing cold, and sometimes up to two feet of snow, it’s the growing anticipation burning inside us that keeps us warm as we walk on the frozen ground in 30 degree weather, hoping to be inspired, moved and entertained by the films we choose to see and that we are lucky enough to see, before the rest of the world.
Of all the numerous well written and inspiring films I saw this year, the documentaries left a lasting impression I shall never forget.
The third night at the festival, I saw "GasLand," a bone-chilling documentary about rural landowners all across the U.S. East Coast and Midwest states that "wake up one day to find a lucrative offer from an energy company wanting to lease their property." The main reason you ask? These dominant, money-hungry energy companies to trap into reservoirs near their homes referred to as the "Saudi Arabia of natural gas."
And who’s behind it? Halliburton, for starters. The footage, shot and narrated by first time filmmaker Josh Fox, deserves national, and worldwide attention! You will never look at your kitchen sink the same way again, after you see live footage of hundreds of innocent homeowners whose kitchen sink faucets burst into flames, with the mere touch of the handle, as the result of irreversible contamination of their drinking water from "fracking," the hydraulic drilling process of drilling the natural gas out of the ground, on their properties.
It was the only film out of all 13 I saw that got a standing ovation! Not a dry eye in the room! The death, diseases and contamination of people, animals and bodies of water, will leave you wondering how the government allows this to go on, and just how much some people value money and profit over human lives.
This must-see film went on to win the prestigious "Special Jury Prize Documentary 2010" at this year’s festival.
to find screenings in your area and see shocking footage from this must-see film. It left me in tears, and I immediately joined the director’s mailing list and promised him I would tell everyone I knew to see this film and write to their senators and congressman about this outrage.
Disturbing and scary doesn’t even begin to describe the next documentary I saw, "Countdown to Zero," directed and narrated by filmmaker Lucy Walker.
There is so much news footage and interviews in this film that I was surprised I had never seen in the US media machine ever before. This documentary sweeps you into a scorching, and very hypnotic exhibition around the world to reveal the possibility of nuclear disaster and shows you in detail how human survival is in greater jeopardy than we as a culture could ever imagine.
There are countless interviews in the film with scientists, world leaders and even security experts, who expose both the absurdities and scary realities of the situation at hand.
This is not your average history lesson, trust me. The film depicts how the 1990s "heralded a second nuclear age," and provides evidence of how many countries and terrorist groups are now acquiring nuclear materials and and construction blueprints very easily and rapildy. There were loud gasps from the audience, and you feel sad that you had to come hundreds of miles to snow-drenched mountains to find such vital news that should be common knowldege and discussed on our major news networks.
The director puts the power in the hands of the viewer, with a focus on "getting to zero nuclear weapons, starting right here in the US," and awareness is the first step!
Next year, I may dedicate all week of the festival to only watching documentaries, as these were the films that left unforgettable images in my head and a yearning for more knowledge on the topics at hand, and how we as a community can get involved in spreading change for the better of our society … the importance of film is stronger than ever, and I urge you to view both these important films.
Our future depends on it!