Genre: Documentary – Environmental, Investigative
Length: 80’ & 52’
Director: Julian T. Pinder (LAND)
Editor: Roland Schlimme (Manufactured Landscapes, Petropolis)
Music: Kurt Swinghammer (Waterlife), Max Richter (Waltz with Bashir)
Companion Interactive “Game For Change”: www.pipetrouble.com Pipe Trouble takes a clever new spin on an old arcade classic and uses over-the-top satire to prompt larger mainstream discussion for ongoing real-world issues surrounding the exploitation of natural gas. Tasked with building their own pipeline, players try to balance the financial demands of using the least pipe to make the most money against the impact on the local environment and neighbouring farms.
Produced In Association With: TVO, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, Rogers Documentary Fund, Shaw Media-Hot Docs Fund, and the Ontario Arts Council
In the far-flung frontier farming community of The Peace River Valley, trouble is brewing.
Big Oil and Gas is moving heavily into this northern Canadian region. Where once homesteads and small family farms struggled to make ends meet, lethal gas leaks and flarings from boom-and-bust drilling installations are killing livestock, burning lungs and raising Cain. Deep fear festers within the community, and all are stunned that such injustice could happen in a country like Canada.
From this pandemonium emerges Karl Mattson, an enigmatic and reclusive cowboy, sculptor and father of a 4-year-old girl named Hollis. When a two-headed calf is born on the farm Karl realizes something is disturbingly wrong. Constant flarings and small gas leaks are having an effect on the health of his herd and his family. Should a big leak occur, Karl knows the consequences will be disastrous.
Yet the gas industry safety regulations appear to be a complete joke. Official emergency procedures say to tape up windows with duct tape and turn off the furnace in the event of a leak. Unfortunately the gas H2S can render a human unconscious in mere seconds, so good luck getting to the duct tape!
And the situation isn’t likely to improve. Owning and selling the subsurface mineral rights below the land is how the provincial government makes most of its annual profits. Thus the health and safety of remote communities living on those lands isn’t high on their priority list.
So Karl watches as his neighbours expend vast amounts of time and energy protesting and petitioning for change with little or no effect. In spite of wanting to do something to stop the industrial invasion, Karl just can’t bring himself to join in the ill-fated lobbying.
It’s only the mysterious ‘pipeline bomber’ who gets any real attention from the government and media outlets. While unwilling to fund better safety standards for its citizens, the government eagerly commits $4 million to catching the alleged “eco-terrorist”. The message is clear: protecting the industry and its profits trumps protecting individuals.
It’s enough to make a frightened and frustrated guy like Karl also want to do something drastic!
But it’s not until the dog dies, his wife leaves, and he and his daughter are gassed that Karl finally decides to act. After much contemplation he chooses his weapon to battle this Goliath that surrounds him. And so Karl embarks on a startling plan that he thinks just might save his daughter and bring his community back together.
ISSUES BEHIND THE STORY
Transcending the story of a lone farmer in a small community, TROUBLE IN THE PEACE evolves into a symbol for a world ravenous for cheap, non-renewable energy – energy that daily becomes more difficult to get, with industry creeping closer and closer to civilization to get it, and with more and more vicious stakes.
The question we’re left with is: How far will this go?
TROUBLE IN THE PEACE tells a narrative David & Goliath story about characters in a small town in northern British Columbia. Instead of yet another informational documentary about the effects and habits of oil and gas companies, TROUBLE IN THE PEACE focuses on the dramatic narrative – a farmer and his fields, ready to fight for his way of life. The human side of the struggle.
TROUBLE IN THE PEACE is a feature documentary revealing what will come to be known as a dramatic, shocking, and perhaps shameful chapter in Canadian history.
The story takes place in northern British Columbia – a remote area peppered with back-to-the-land types, original homesteaders, Native bands and tough northern farmers. They lived relatively tranquil and isolated lives and know about the land they work. But what they didn’t know until just a few years ago was that they were living and farming above one of the world’s largest remaining gas reserves.
As North American citizens are being uprooted by industry, TROUBLE IN THE PEACE establishes the metaphor of corporate dominance and its effects globally, on a human level. Many people see the social, cultural and environmental struggles of the people in developing nations but do not recognize that these same struggles are happening right here in our own backyard.
There is a growing upset and unrest amongst average citizens as they get bowled over by a relentless industry searching more and more aggressively for gas and oil as reserves peak and remaining supplies get harder to procure. How many rights are people willing to give up before they fight back?
Yet the dilemma remains: how do we reconcile the hypocrisy of fighting an industry on which many of us are wholly dependent?