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If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation FrontOriginal Title: If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Director: Marshall Curry, Sam Cullman
USA | English
The latest documentary from Academy Award nominee Marshall Curry (Street Fight
) reconstructs the recent history and eventual demise of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). The film focuses on Oregon-based activist Daniel McGowan –a nice, middle-class young man driven by his passionate concern for the environment –who ultimately finds himself brought to trial as a terrorist for his complicity in ELF-related actions.
From 1995 until early 2001, the ELF was involved in a dramatic arson campaign directed against businesses it accused of destroying the environment –timber companies, SUV dealerships, wild horse slaughterhouses and even a ski lodge in Vail, Colorado. Eventually, in 2005, the FBI led a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists, and McGowan was arrested. By that time, he was living and working in New York City and, while still politically active, was long removed from his past association with ELF.
Drawing from a rich collection of archival footage and interviews with ELF members and the prosecutor and detective chasing them, If a Tree Falls
weaves together the multiple points of view that form this complex story into a harrowing examination of the meaning and consequence of political action in post-9/11 America. This cautionary tale of the personal and political cost of standing up for one’s beliefs will serve as a springboard for discussion for generations to come.
–Jim BrowneContains: Adult themes