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Q&A with Gregory Kallenberg, director and producer of 'Haynesville: A Nation's Hunt for an Energy Future and the new Rational Middle Energy Series.'

Photo: Michael Barajas, License: N/A

Michael Barajas



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Like what?
Well, for example, I believe in global warming. I believe it's something that exists and needs to be addressed. And it's in the films. We're really trying to put forward this idea of balance. Now am I going to convince everyone that's out there to believe me that Shell has no involvement and there's not a grand conspiracy? I know I'm not going to convince everyone. But what I want people to at least do is see the films and give it a chance. Because I think that the idea of the Rational Middle, which by the way was born way before I met Shell — the Rational Middle was born out of a TED talk I gave in Austin. Then we stumped around for a year and a half looking for funding. It really wasn't until we showed the film at the Aspen Ideas Festival and talked to Shell about it that we were able to put forth our requirement for funding, which is that I get total informational and creative control over this. They look at the concepts to make sure that I'm not putting kittens on a piano and filming it, or something like that, to make sure their money's well spent in a sense that I'm doing what I say I'm doing. The Rational Middle is supposed to put a balanced set of facts out there. And I welcome anybody to take a look at the films and say that they're not balanced. I'm really trying to balance these films. I'm trying to get pundits and academics who really understand the issues and can communicate to a public that doesn't necessarily understand these issues.

One of the criticisms over Haynesville was that it didn't address environmental concerns over the natural gas exploration process.
And duly noted. I mean, the Haynesville was filmed at the beginning of the Haynesville Shale boom. So that is probably a fair criticism. This was really looking at the beginnings of companies moving in. So you get the Kassi story, which is her having those environmental concerns, but you don't get to see if those are born out or not.

One of the ways your work has been viewed is the alternative to Josh Fox, the alternative to Gasland, which was much more critical...
Which is weird for me.

Well, what's your feeling on that?
My feeling is — well, Gasland was actually shown at Sundance before ours was shown at South by Southwest. My feeling is the more the merrier. Tell the story, let people sort of argue what's there and what's not there. What's funny is when we first came out with Haynesville we were kicked at as hard by industry as we were by anybody on the other side.

What was the response from industry?
I think we're balanced, but industry's reaction to it is that they were treated unfairly. One, that I treated Kassi's environmental fight unfairly. And the interstitials are given in a way that there's this ominous feel to it that is put into the mix, because the gears of industry turn. They don't stop. So I really wanted to give a feeling by those interstitials to kind of show that this thing is happening. We've got to deal with what's happening now.

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