Foyle Intercultural Festival

Groundswell W/ Director Johnny Gogan In Conversation

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The film will be followed by a Q&A with Director Johnny Gogan and Farmer Dianne Little. The discussion will be chaired by Journalist, Writer and Documentary filmmaker Susan McKay.

Ireland is home to Europe’s only land border with the UK. Brexit has made it famous internationally. It is more out of sight out of mind in Spring of 2011 when exploration licences are awarded by governments on both sides of the border to search for unconventional gas to the one company - Tamboran Resources. Within months Tamboran have laid out plans for 3000 wells in a gas field straddling the border. They plan to use the controversial extraction process known as Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking”).

The first community meetings in Leitrim (IRL) and Fermanagh (NI/UK) take place in the back of a mobile cinema after screenings of the Oscar®  nominated film Gasland organised by filmmaker Johnny Gogan.  A ten year campaign ensues involving hundreds of people. Strong local voices emerge including Nuala McNulty, a local tourism provider, Fermanagh farmer Dianne Little, farmer and builder Eddie Mitchell whose story on its own is a remarkable journey of enlightenment and empowerment. Eddie, Dianne and Nuala are among over forty voices heard in the film, the majority of them the voices of women. 

A key milestone is reached in 2017 with the banning of “fracking” in Ireland (RoI). Fracking remains to this day on the statute books in Northern Ireland, guided by a more benign policy position in the wider UK (Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a suspension of fracking in late 2019 in an effort to breach “the red wall” but the licensing process continues).

The film also tells of an ongoing struggle on both sides of the Atlantic with prominent campaigners such as Mark Ruffalo, the scientist Sandra Steingraber, journalist Justin Nobel and people in affected communities in Pennsylvania such as Ray Kembel whose ground water was poisoned and Janice Blanock whose son Luke died of Ewing’s Sarcoma in 2016.

The film deals with the momentum necessary to achieve the Irish ban of 2017 which was followed up - after a further campaign - by the Irish Government agreeing in June 2020 to develop a policy to ban the importation of fracked gas, a campaign that is now giving further momentum to efforts involving campaigners on both sides of the Atlantic to achieve a global ban on fracking, not least because of the industry’s role as a key driver of climate change.

“The quality of feeling that’s brought to a landscape is actually

more important than the landscape itself”- John McGahern, Love of the World

  • Year
  • Runtime
    80 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
  • Rating
  • Director
    Johnny Gogan
  • Cast
    Nuala McNulty, Eddie Mitchell, Mark Ruffalo