Months into the making of their new film, local independent filmmaking duo Cloudcatcher Media has launched a trailer and the farmers who are producing the project have launched a Chuffed crowdfunder, to complete post-production and host what they hope will be free screenings.
Sacrifice Zone is a unique look at the fight against CSG in the Pilliga, as unlike many other films, this project aims to stop a gas field before it starts.
Echo journalist Eve Jeffery and fellow Cloudcatcher David Lowe were approached by the Great Artesian Basin Protection Group (GABPG) in February to start immediately on an answer to mining company Santos’s Narrabri Gas Project EIS which is currently under consideration.
‘Santos want to drop 850 gas wells into the Pilliga’, says Ms Jeffery. ‘That’s just the thin edge of the wedge. Once in the forest they will spread out through the farms. This could poison the GAB forever. As Michael Caton says in the film, “Once you pollute that, you can’t unscramble the egg”.
‘We are really determined to stop this mining project. The farmers out west realise what a powerful medium filmmaking is and instead of waiting to record the damage and aftermath of the disaster, they enlisted our help before the project is sanctioned by the government to try and stop it in its tracks.’
Ms Jeffery says the film is also unique in that it has a vast wall of experts to stand between the Pilliga Forest and Santos. ‘Anything they can throw at us, we have an answer for. We have the proof!’
Executive producer, Bundella farmer Megan Kuhn is very aware of the risks involved in this industry. ‘People across the country realise how serious this issue is and know that they are going to have to stand together to protect our future,’ she says. ‘People are the heartbeat of this great country – not industry and not a deceiving government.’
Megan, who was instrumental in creating the film, feels that this type of media is key for getting the message out to the masses. ‘We hope this film inspires people to understand the breadth of community support and the weight of scientific knowledge that will expose the risks of the CSG industry.’
Coonamble farmer and GABPG president Anne Kennedy feels that this film is a must for anyone living on the GAB.
As producer of the film, GABPG saw the importance of getting this film out where the information could be seen by not only the stakeholders, but by all Australians, politicians from all quarters and the mining company itself in the hopes that they can see what they are up against.
‘Farmers cannot accept the thought of the loss of their water,’ says Anne Kennedy. ‘A farmer’s credo is “you leave the land in a better shape than you found it”, that’s what they live by, and they know that this will completely destroy their land. They’re very, very seriously determined to not let this go ahead. I don’t know if the government realise just how determined they are.’
Filmed in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, and from Moree to Willow Tree and Warren, the Cloudcatcher crew interviewed over 50 experts, residents and farmers covering every aspect of this mad proposal, which threatens to spread to vast areas of NSW if it gets the green light from government.
‘We hope to launch the film late September’, said Ms Jeffery. ‘We are really happy that Chuffed accepted GABPG’s application to crowdfund. Chuffed only crowdfund non-profit and social enterprise projects. That’s it.’
For more information about the project visit: https://www.chuffed.org/