H2Oil: Film and Panel at VIFF

Posted by admin on Oct 6th, 2009

WhatÂ’s more important, water or oil?

Monday, October 12th 1:15pm. (Panel to begin after the film). Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St

H2Oil, a challenge to the unregulated development of AlbertaÂ’s oil sands, will have its West Coast premiere on Sunday, October 11th and Monday October 12thth as part of the Vancouver International Film FestivalÂ’s The Way of Nature section. The environmental battle over the oil sands is going global. The news of H2OilÂ’s Vancouver premiere comes on the heels of major mounting international opposition from Norway to Washington.  Just this month, a delegation from Fort Chipewyan stirred up headlines at the Climate Camp in London as they targeted the “corporate climate criminals”, such as British Petroleum, and the banks that back the oil sands. All this in the wake of China’s $1.9-billion investment into Alberta means that bitumen – its lucrative and its destructive sides – seems to be on everyone’s minds.


Thanks to Alberta’s Athabasca oil sands, Canada is now the biggest oil supplier to the United States. A controversial billion-dollar industry is heavily invested in extracting crude from the tar sands through a process so toxic it has become an international cause for concern. Four barrels of glacier-fed spring water are used to process each barrel of oil.  The water is then dumped, laden with carcinogens, into leaky tailings ponds so huge they can be seen from space. Downstream, the people of Fort Chipewyan are already paying the price for what will be one of the largest industrial projects in history. When a local doctor raises the alarm about clusters of rare cancers, evidence mounts for industry and government cover-ups. In a time when wars are fought over oil and a crisis looms over access to clean fresh water, which resource is more precious? And what price are we willing to pay?


The film will be followed by a panel discussion where the audience will hear from people directly involved in community level resistance to tar sands projects as well as learn what the public can do to support these communities and hold governments and the industry responsible. We are honored to have two speakers from downstream communities (Athabasca Chipewyan and Mikisew Cree First Nations) as well as from WetÂ’suwetÂ’en territories in northern BC along a tar sands pipeline route. Local organizers will also be highlighting the links between the Olympics and tar sands industries.

Shannon Walsh – the director of H2Oil.

George Poitras – member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, Fort Chipewyan.

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger – Rainforest Action Network Tar Sands Campaigner, Member of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Warner Naziel and Mel Bazil – from Wet’suwet’en territories in northern BC will be speaking about grassroots opposition to the proposed Enbridge pipeline from tar sands to the pacific coast.

Tracey Mann will be speaking about the links between the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and the tar sands industry.

The event is organized, supported and endorsed by the Council of Canadians, Indigenous Environmental Network, Loaded Pictures, the National Council of Women of Canada and the NCWC Education Fund joint 2008-2010 Water/Energy Connections Project (with support of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation), No One Is Illegal – Vancouver, OilSandsTruth.org, Olympic Resistance Network, Rainforest Action Network, the Vancouver International Film Festival, Wilderness Committee.

For more information please email: hgrewal@canadians.org or call: 604 340 2455.


H2Oil is also screening on October 11th followed by a short Q&A.
Sunday, October 11th 6:30pm Empire Granville 7

Please visit www.viff.org for more details.

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