If A Tree Falls - Monday Night Documentary
IF A TREE FALLS tells the story of the rise of the Earth Liberation Front in the Pacific Northwest, in the late nineties and early aughts. In particular, it focuses on Daniel McGowan, a young New Yorker who gets introduced to radical politics, travels to Oregon, and becomes a leading figure in the now-infamous ELF--and is eventually tried and convicted as a terrorist
Do crimes against property in which no one is killed or injured constitute acts of terrorism? That is one of two nagging questions that run through Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman’s thoughtful documentary "If a Tree Falls". The other has to do with the efficacy of traditional forms of peaceful protest.
These are moral questions that any serious environmentalist has asked himself at one time or another: As the world's natural resources and habitats are consumed around us, how far should we go to stop it? If a corporation won't take no for an answer, and is dead set on deforesting pristine countryside or fracking near your home or detonating the mountains you live on for coal, is anything more than peaceful, legal recourse justified?
McGowan's story is never sensationalised, and the filmmakers allow us to see the activist for who he is: a soft-spoken, impassioned environmentalist who corporations won't take NOinvolved in peaceful protests that were broken up, sometimes brutally, by authorities.
People object to corporate or government action, and carry out creative, peaceful protests. But instead of getting a forum, they're not only denied and repudiated, but humiliated by the authorities in the process. And then they fail; all that was for nothing. The trees still fell.
So what do you do? Well, the vast majority of us keep fighting peacefully. But the ten or so folks that formed the ELF, borne out of those frustrating failures, started a campaign of property destruction that captured headlines around the nation.
The film itself has been praised for taking such an even-keeled tone. In a brand new era of protest politics, and the rise of the Occupy movement capturing the nation's imagination, IF A TREE FALLS should be required viewing.
Guest speaker after movie - admission $5.00
11 June 2012, 6.30pm
Southport State High School Discovery Centre
Southport Qld 4215