Aussie filmmakers bring the fracking fight to London as the election raises the stakes

The gas industry underestimated the power of community

As the election nears, filmmakers from Australia are returning to London after a UK tour of areas targeted for fracking, to share their experiences of a battle between local community and shale gas companies. 

The Bentley Effect, a feature-length award winning documentary, tells the emotional story of how an Australian community took on the oil and gas industry and won. It will be hosted by Frack Off London at The Hive, Dalston on 8th June, with the director and two key activists from Bentley on hand for discussion following the film. 

The team helped build community resistance that lead to an iconic blockade where thousands of people faced down the coal seam gas (fracking) industry and government to defend the target site – a situation which has parallels with the current daily protests at Preston New Road near Blackpool, Lancashire, where Cuadrilla intend to carry out the UK’s first production frack this year. The documentary, filmed over five years, shows the strength of united community opposition movements. The Bentley team have been crowdfunding for the UK tour, after receiving a deluge of requests to bring their story to the UK, as fracking edges closer in the UK. 

“Urgent calls from the UK” 

“We had to answer the urgent calls from so many people in the United Kingdom who wanted to see the film,” said producer-director Brendan Shoebridge. Lancashire is not the only place where UK campaigners are facing pressure from the unconventional fossil fuel industry – plans are also underway to frack in North Yorkshire and the Sherwood Forest, while in South East England, oil and gas companies are targeting the Weald’s tight oil using other unconventional techniques. 

“Hard fight in the South East.” 

Jenny Field of Frack Off London said: “We are delighted to welcome the Bentley Blockade tour. This couldn’t come at a better time for the affected communities within the South East. We have a hard fight on our hands as most of the plans in the South East are incorrectly defined as conventional extraction. If the Tories get re-elected they plan to push these drill-sites through without council permission, which is outrageous!”

The documentary will be screened at The Hive, Dalston on 8th June from 7pm. Tickets are free, but donations will be taken on the evening of the screenings to cover the filmmakers' costs.

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