April 20, 2012 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011)   85 min – Documentary
Directed by Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman

IF A TREE FALLS is a rare behind-the-curtain look at the Earth Liberation Front, the radical environmental group that the FBI calls America’s ‘number one domestic terrorist threat.’ With unprecedented access and a nuanced point of view, the documentary tells the story of Daniel McGowan, an ELF member who faced life in prison for two multi-million dollar arsons against Oregon timber companies. The film employs McGowan’s story to examine larger questions about environmentalism, activism, and terrorism.

At its core, the film explores the roots of one environmentalist’s law-breaking passion, and of the strictness of the federal antiterrorism laws that grew out of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and then the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It is brutally neutral, despite providing an intimate, over-the-shoulder view of the main admitted arsonist, the mild-mannered Daniel McGowan, as he pursues his argument against a long prison term. This kind of neutrality is very different than the “fair and balanced” meme of Fox-style television.

The film premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, where it also won an award for editing. On January 24, 2011, the film was announced as one of the five nominees for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

$5 Suggested Donation