A documentary to look out for

Some months ago I posted here an anticipatory ramble about forthcoming Irish documentary The Pipe.  The film deals with the struggle of a community on the remote west coast of Ireland against Shell and the Irish government and how the surrounding controversies have taken their toll on the small community.  The Pipe has been doing the festival circuit in the meantime and has been officially selected for the Toronto Film Festival and saw its UK premier on 22nd October at the BFI London Film Festival.

Reviews have been encouraging, including Screen Daily’s chief critic Mark Adams’ description of the film as “delightfully shot and stirring in message.”

The film will see a general release in Irish cinemas on 3rd December.  A UK release inches closer as promotion of the film around the world gains momentum.  Today the film’s producers unveiled the official trailer.  Gripping and frightening stuff.

The Pipe: another oil company, another offshore controversy

This is not exactly the belle époque for oil and gas companies.  Since the disaster on BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig began on 20th April 2010, between 30,000 and 60,000 barrels of crude oil have reportedly been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico each day and the problem has been so out of control that BP was thought to be facing backrupcy by mid-June.  We heard this morning that this flow has been slowed for now, but we’ve had false hope before and the well-documented efforts to solve this problem are ongoing.

However, this is not the only energy company causing trouble for locals along their coastline.  A new Irish documentary called The Pipe debuted last weekend at the Galway Film Fleadh to two full houses and walked away with the Best Documentary award.  The producers describe the film as the “story of a community tragically divided, and how they deal with a pipe that could bring economic prosperity or destruction of a way of life shared for generations”.  Following the personal journeys of people from the town of Rossport and Shell to Sea campaigners, the film is likely to reveal a terrifying level of intimidation and brutality which is more akin to a dictatorship that a modern democracy, as Royal Dutch Shell and Enterprise Oil Consortium attempt to bring gas ashore from the Corrib Gas Field, 80 km offshore.

Locals have been more than aware of the story for years.  Shell intends to bring gas ashore and refine it along a beautiful, remote stretch of coastline, rather than doing so at sea.  Many of the more traditionally minded locals don’t fancy it.  The government wants it.  Fishermen and protesters are attacked by masked men and brutalised by police.  A sad and frankly terrifying story about the way big companies deal with small communities.

This is a potentially explosive documentary revealing a struggle which many have dedicated a significant portion of their lives to.  See it if you get the chance.  It’s on my list.  The following clip gives you a flavour of the dramatic showdown.

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