On April 27th the Portland EcoFilm Festival presented the fourth installment in its 2017 series to an enthusiastic crowd at Hollywood Theater. The “Filming the Fossil Fuel Resistance” event offered a sneak peek at the upcoming documentary The Reluctant Radical about climate activist and valve-turner Ken Ward, followed by a panel discussion with Ward himself, the film’s creators Lindsey Grayzel and Deia Schlosberg, and Grayzel’s attorney Braden Pence. Proceeds from the event go to support post-production efforts on The Reluctant Radical.
Ken Ward is one of the famed Tar Sands Valve Turners, a group of five courageous men and women who used emergency shut-off valves to stop the flow of oil from the Canadian tar sands into the United States in October 2016. Lindsey Grayzel accompanied Ward in Washington as an observer and documentarian, while Deia Schlosberg filmed valve-turner Michael Foster in North Dakota. Grayzel and Schlosberg met when Washington and North Dakota challenged their rights as purely observational journalists following the shut-off action. Braden Pence represented Grayzel in those proceedings.
The evening opened with a clip of Ward discussing the beginning of his journey toward climate activism before shifting to a screening of Schlosberg’s heartbreaking and necessary 2013 film Backyard, which offered vignettes of the impacts of fracking throughout the country. Viewers were then treated to more clips of The Reluctant Radical, including a protest in which Ward dressed as Santa Claus to deliver coal to the stockings of Big Oil and the beginnings of Ward’s participation in shutting off the flow of oil into the United States. Ward, Grayzel, Schlosberg, and Pence kindly fielded questions ranging from the state of climate science to what activism looks like today to the application of the First Amendment when it impacts Big Oil.
If you have ever wondered how someone starts on the path of activism, felt alone in your fears of climate change or desire to make a difference, or hoped for clear and concise ways to share activism and the impacts of pollution with family and friends (or if you’d simply like to learn how to turn an emergency shut-off valve on an oil pipeline) – both of these films have something powerful to offer. Backyard is available in its entirety at http://everyonesbackyard.com, while The Reluctant Radical is currently in post-production and needs your support at http://bit.ly/reluctantradical. You can also visit https://www.thereluctantradicalmovie.com/ to see clips from the movie and find upcoming screenings.
Written by: Guest Author