Greenspace, film January 9, 2012 By Jordan Sayle

"Protester" by T.J. Watt, Courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories

Protester by T.J. Watt, Courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories

title77 Is Anyone Listening?
When injustice occurs, is there anyone there to notice? That’s the question at the center of Marshall Curry’s documentary “If a Tree Falls,” in relation both to devastation to the environment that goes on unabated in the face of peaceful protest and to the terror prosecution of a generally mild-mannered man with a secret past involvement in acts of arson meant to put a dramatic end to that ecological harm. Curry, an Academy Award-nominated director, follows the story of Daniel McGowan, now serving a seven-year prison sentence for his actions as a member of the radical Earth Liberation Front, which was once branded by the Justice Department as the nation’s greatest domestic terrorism threat. But the filmmaker tells PLANET that if audiences bring an open mind to his latest film, (which itself has been shortlisted for this year’s Oscars), they’ll hear arguments about a conflict more nuanced than it might appear on its surface.
     “At the height of the movement, people had very heated passions,” Curry said in an interview, discussing the militant environmental activism that manifest itself in the mid-90’s.“ But I think in retrospect, whether it was members of the Earth Liberation Front like Daniel or whether it was the prosecutor who put them in prison, they ultimately saw the complexity in that story, and that’s what our goal was in making the film, to capture some of that complexity.”

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