Drill Baby Drill

Drill Baby Drill Film Coming to Cortland

The new documentary Drill Baby Drill will have its CNY premiere in Cortland on Wednesday, April 17.

Filmmaker Lech Kowalski, a native of Utica who currently lives and works in Paris, France will be present for the screening and for the discussion following the 84-minute film.

The film, which was made in Poland and in Pennsylvania, tells the story of a group of Polish farmers who band together to protect their land when unconventional shale-gas drilling (fracking) threatens. It also looks at the effects of ongoing drilling on farmers and their communities in Pennsylvania. 

The film’s power derives in part from its refusal to provide easy answers to the questions it raises about corporate power and its effect on democracy, and about the tensions between our demand for energy and the necessity of protecting our air, water, farmland, and food supply. The subject should be of strong, immediate interest to residents of New York, where energy companies are leasing land with plans to do similar drilling. 


Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m, Main Street SUNY Cortland, 9 Main Street, Second Floor, Room 202.  Blog coverage of Cortland visit  http://lechkowalski.blogspot.fr/

Sponsored by CGIS Environmental Justice Committee and GDACC (Gas Drilling Awareness for Cortland County.  Donations to help cover the filmmaker’s expenses will be accepted at the door.


About filmmaker Lech Kowalski

Kowalski has won wide acclaim over 35+ years as an independent filmmaker. His large body of work has won awards and been the subject of retrospectives at international film festivals.  This film was shown recently in the French Senate, and on French and German television (with high ratings). It will be shown to European Parliament on April 23, prior to theatrical release. 

Drill Baby Drill film description
One day the people who live in a small village located in eastern Poland near the Ukrainian border, an ecologically pristine agricultural area called the “lungs of Poland,” discover that Chevron, the world’s fourth largest energy corporation, plans to build a shale gas well in their village. At first the villagers are not against the construction of the gas well, but research reveals that having a shale gas well so near farms might not be such a good idea. The farmers mobilize. They appeal to politicians and government institutions to stop the construction, but their requests are met with silence. Suddenly Chevron sends bulldozers to start construction. Lech Kowalski was there to film the first-ever farmer rebellion against Chevron. But energy companies and the Polish government hope to hit a golden shale gas jackpot, and the odds are against the farmers winning. The story about their struggle weaves around realities that are taking place in Pennsylvania, which industry has called the “Saudi Arabia” of North America. It’s too late to stop the harms in Pennsylvania, but can the farmers win in Poland? What happens is a surprise.
For further information contact gdacc.cortland@gmail.com

Film Screening “Drill Baby Drill” by Lech Kowalski

Film Screening “Drill Baby Drill” by Lech Kowalski | shaleshock.org.


Comment by Mary Menapace:

My (amateur) review and impressions.

Attended the American premiere of Drill Baby Drill in Utica this afternoon.  Shaleshock blurb on it here.   http://shaleshock.org/2013/03/film-screening-drill-baby-drill-by-lech-kowalski/

The director Lech Kowalski.ski was there to answer questions afterwards.
almost three hundred people, theater was near full.

The film beautifully lays out the ugly issues, mainly the way they operate as if exempt from any oversight or laws.  As they are.   Voice over narration by Lech.  Polish farmers live simply on beautiful land, produce their own food, milk and eggs each even.  Subtitled, their language direct, simple,  logic irrefutable.  The gathering and swift direct action respectful, effective,  inspiring.   Interesting that the leader was a woman (familiar?)  she spokesperson but the room and fields were filled with mostly men on film anyway.   Lech was asked, on film, many times to stop filming, by gov. and Chevron.   As he commented afterwards, he coulda made an entire movie of being told not to be filming.  To see the same issues laid out across the sea opens up the perspective.

Pennsylvania portion has familiar faces, Carol French piece opens the film.  Was good to see her farm, heartbreaking to see her cows.  Very  powerful was a truck driver, Ray, who quit, his testimony on the status quo of how it all works and home water situation straight up bad.  He was present at the screening.  So was a psychologist who on film talks about the sand importing facility next door to a day care center in wyalusing.  She was to speak afterwards about her work with Fracking victims but disappointingly there was not time.

Afterwards, there was good discussion about the larger picture of corporate power being the enemy, not Fracking.  Local county legislator spoke, another truck driver who quit spoke, his story confirming Rachel’s testimony of woodchips being added to liquid for import to Seneca landfill and other NY landfills.    He hauled the waste to NY working thirteen hour days and other lawbreaking policies he ultimately could not abide, echoing the driver in the film.

So the film bore good discussion.  The distribution will be film festivals and will be available on VOD which I am assuming is video on demand, and Lech is looking to have a tour of dozens of locales across the northeast.  He will be figuring out dates sometime shortly.