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Groundswell Rising
Protecting Our Children's Air and Water

Documents the opposition from both sides of the political spectrum to the ubiquitous practice of fracking for natural gas, and the health and environmental reasons behind it.

A printer-friendly version of this page 70 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Renard Cohen
Produced by Renard Cohen
Executive Producers: Matt Cohen, Mark Lichty
Editor: Ryan Kollmorgen
Associate Producer: David Walczak
Contributing Producers: Leigha Cohen, Joe Kramer
Camera: Renard Cohen, Dave Walczak, Mark Lichty, Matt Cohen
A Resolution Pictures Production

"Should be watched by everyone on the side of industry and those considering leasing their land to the gas companies." Mark Ruffalo, Actor, Activist
[Note: Community screenings of GROUNDSWELL RISING can be booked at Bullfrog Communities.]

Note: There are two versions of this program on the same DVD: 70 minutes and 52 minutes.

GROUNDSWELL RISING gives voice to ordinary folks engaged in a David and Goliath struggle against Big Oil and Gas. We meet parents, scientists, doctors, farmers and individuals across the political spectrum decrying the energy extraction process known as fracking that puts profits over people. This provocative documentary tracks a grassroots movement exposing dangers to clean air, water, and civil rights.

GROUNDSWELL RISING shows how fracking has contaminated drinking water and jeopardized health and quality of life. Homeowners near wells suffer from respiratory ailments and property devaluation. Reina Ripple, of Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, chronicles mounting ailments related to fracking. A former industry employee shows skin lesions and edema obtained while working with fracking waste.

Grassroots efforts have achieved bans, moratoriums, and referendums on fracking. Stanford University Professor Mark Jacobson paves the way forward globally with his Solutions Project for 100% renewable energy. Transcending the genre of environmental film, GROUNDSWELL's passionate stories inspire and empower.

Featuring: Dr. Sandra Steingraber, Dr. Tony Ingraffea, Dr. Mark Jacobson, Shane Davis, Deborah Goldberg, Bob Edgar, James Browning, Mark Ruffalo, Vera Scroggins, Craig Stevens, Dr. Walter Tsou, Dr. Poune Saberi, Raina Rippel, and more.

Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2014     Copyright Date: 2014
DVD ISBN: 1-94154-519-X

"Groundswell Rising provides an invaluable, up-close view of the horrible impacts of hydro-fracking on drinking water and everyday life and of the opposition to fracking that has erupted in affected areas. The movie is especially effective in demonstrating the intrusive, life-shattering impact of fracking on family life and how the victims of fracking have banded together to fight this assault."
Michael Klare, Professor and Director, Program in Peace and World Security Studies, Hampshire College, Author, The Race for What's Left: The Global Scramble for the World's Last Resources

"Timely and critically important...Vividly depicted are details of how gas companies make promises to get people to lease their land-and how they resort to coercion...Environmental science, health, and social studies classes will find much to discuss here."
Cynthia Ortiz, Hackensack High, School Library Journal

"Groundswell Rising makes its case with passion and clarity...however you stand on the issue, you're likely to be moved by the film's portraits of grassroots activists managing to make their voices heard despite the opposition of major corporations and the big money at their disposal."
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

"A rousing, convincing rallying cry that the little guys, working in numbers, can triumph."
Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly

"Viewers of Groundswell Rising feel the anguish of communities experiencing health problems caused by contaminated water, air, and noise pollution from fracking. Luckily, the film does not end there. We see these communities band together to fight against powerful energy companies, as the film highlights the importance of activism on a local level. Ending with a rousing montage of protests against fracking and a list of milestones in the anti-fracking movement, you'll leave the film feeling angry but inspired to take action. The film would work well in courses focusing on the environment, social movements, politics, and public health."
Dr. Elizabeth Cherry, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Manhattanville College

"This film takes viewers to the place where emotional trauma and health impacts experienced by fracking-zone residents and hard facts presented by leading experts meet. It deconstructs the oil and gas industry's rhetoric and shows us what shale energy development really looks like...The film will generate lively discussion in environmental studies and current affairs courses at the college and high school levels."
Dr. Anna Willow, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, The Ohio State University

"Groundswell Rising captures what is happening in the communities where fracking has occurred and how it has spurred a call to action. This film puts into perspective the importance of seeking alternative sources of energy for a healthy environment for the future, and engenders us to think about the long term impacts that fracking has on our natural landscapes."
Sara Rinfret, Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Montana, Co-author, US Environmental Policy: A Practical Approach to Understanding Implementation (forthcoming)

"Groundswell Rising lets us hear the stories of individuals throughout the United States who have experienced the unwanted effects of natural gas production. They are surprised by the industrial invasion around them, and they are even more surprised to become environmentalists."
John Copeland Nagle, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame, Author, Law's Environment: How the Law Shapes the Places We Live

"Besides the incredible information on fracking's detriment to our health it is also a great look into what it is like to live in a town with fracking in the backyard. This film should be watched by everyone on the side of industry and those considering leasing their land to the gas companies. Plain and simply, it's the human side of this debate."
Mark Ruffalo, Actor, Activist

"Will get your blood going and your mind racing about how we can pull together to defend our communities from gas drilling and its crushing infrastructure."
Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network

"No kidding this is a groundswell, and just in time! Fracking means big money to a few, which is why its spreading around the world-but the opposition from the rest of us is spreading just as fast, and this powerful film shows exactly why!"
Bill McKibben, Founder of

"Provides such a good balance of the stories of impacts and the victories of average people who took on the industry and government and won that it leaves you feeling hopeful and rarin' to go. Can't wait to start showing it."
Karen Feridun, Berks Gas Truth

"This is a powerful film. Industry propaganda continually dismisses these people. They are invisible and this film helps us see them."
New York Assemblywoman, Barbara Lifton

"Your film blew me away. It was spot on, and I loved it while sobbing through half of it. Your -film is so professionally done, so hard hitting, so scientifically well researched. It is a primer for people to organize around, who find that their towns are being stolen and their children's health compromised. You guys did an amazing job of depicting this civil war within our country."
Liberty Godshall

"Groundswell Rising picks up the story of resistance to fracking in Pennsylvania and New York where Josh Fox's Gasland left off, a telling look at people's building rage."
James William Gibson, Professor of Sociology, California State University - Long Beach, Author, A Reenchanted World: The Quest for a New Kinship With Nature

"Groundswell Rising shows everyday people who have become activists because they see the harm the natural gas industry is doing in their lives and communities...I myself was drawn in for a long time by the natural gas industry's self-promotion that natural gas is more 'natural'...This film does an excellent job of debunking those myths."
Cherice Bock, Whole Terrain Journal

Select your institution type

DVDs include public performance rights.

DVD Features
2 versions: the original 70-minute version and a 52-minute version, plus scene selection for both versions, and SDH captions.

The film's website
/groundswellrisingHost a community screening

Awards and Festivals
Jury Award, Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival
Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Athens International Film Festival
Galway International Film Fleadh, Ireland
Kansas International Film Festival
New York City Peace Film Festival
Chicago Peace Film Festival
Colorado Environmental Film Festival
New Haven International Film Festival
Amazing EarthFest

Air Pollution
American Democracy
American Studies
Business Practices
Citizenship and Civics
Global Issues
Political Science

Social Justice
Toxic Chemicals

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... more Reviews

"While most of us are probably aware that water that catches fire is probably not a good thing to drink...Matt and Renard Cohen make the case that fracking's economic benefits are dubious at best. For every farmer or rancher who has leased his land for drilling, there are many homeowners living nearby who get nothing but the shitty end of the stick: pollution, noise and a loss of property value."
Louis Proyect, Counterpunch

"Groundswell Rising is thought-provoking, foreboding, and highly recommended."
The Midwest Book Review

"This encouraging and inspiring program reminds viewers that committed individuals can make a difference."
Candace Smith, Booklist

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