Matt Damon’s upcoming Promised Land hit theaters in December, but the energy industry is already on the offensive, prepping for an all-out public relations battle, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The Focus Features drama, written by Damon and John Krasinski (yes, that John Krasinski) deals with a controversial energy industry practice known as “fracking” which helps to release natural gas. The film focuses on how the practice affects a community. The energy industry is already worried about the negative press that the film could bring, and fear that Promised Land will portray them in an unfair, negative light.
The energy industry is combating the potential PR nightmare by presenting reviewers with scientific studies, leaflets, and launching a “truth squad” on Twitter and Facebook, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“We have to address the concerns that are laid out in these types of films,” said a spokesman for the Independent Petroleum Association of America.
“We’ve been surprised at the emergence of what looks like a concerted campaign targeting the film even before anyone’s seen it,” said James Schamus, CEO of NBC Universal’s Focus Features.
“Fracking” is a process which shoots billions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals into a well to tease out natural gas. The practice raises concerns regarding the safety of drinking water and air pollution. “Fracking is the catalyst for a bigger story about the complex challenges confronting small towns across America today,” said Jim Berk, CEO of Participant Media, a studio partner on the film. The movie seeks to “raise awareness of the importance of transparency and regulations for public health and safety,” he said.
“The problem [with fracking] is that they are in denial, and they are addressing real technical and engineering problems with PR,” said Josh Fox, the creator of HBO documentary Gasland, which raised similar concerns about fracking.
The energy industry has also released its own documentary, titled Truthland, which started limited screenings in June.
Here’s the trailer for Matt Damon’s Promised Land: