“I came into this as one person who was trying to process this decision and try to add to the dialogue,” says Josh Fox, who leapt into the deep-end of filmmaking-as-activism when a gas company offered to lease his Pennsylvania property so it could extract natural gas through the controversial method of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Fox’s 2010 documentary Gasland investigated the hazardous health effects of fracking and the “overwhelming flood of misinformation from the gas industry.” It also popularized images of regular people lighting their tap water on fire because of fracking. The movie premiered at Sundance and was nominated for an Oscar.
Now he’s taken the unusual tack of creating a documentary sequel,Gasland Part II, premiering July 8 on HBO. “I wanted to know why we didn’t see any action,” says Fox, who has long run a theater company known for its potent political content. “We wanted to find out what the reaction was going to be and why was it so difficult to have action on this from people who we thought would be on our side?” – namely, Democrats, such as President Obama.