A group of farmers traveled from Pennsylvania to New York City for the 3:30 p.m. showing of Josh Fox’s “Gasland II” premier at the Tribeca Film Festival Sunday.
Phelim McAleer, the journalist who recently released the pro-fracking documentary “FrackNation,” told TheBlaze in a phone interview Monday he and farmers were questioning Fox while he was on the red carpet for the premier about the EPA’s recent studies, which have debunked some of his original film’s claims.
“The questions were pointed but polite, very polite,” McAleer said.
But when McAleer and others tried to enter the theater to watch “Gasland II” they were barred entry, even though they had the appropriate badges and tickets.
The New York Times ArtsBeat blog reported Tribeca’s statement regarding the situation Monday:
On Monday, press representatives for the Tribeca Film Festival said in a statement: “Guests that had purchased advance tickets and were in line for the film 30 minutes prior, as our ticket policy states, were admitted into the screening. Once the house was at capacity, the remaining ticket holders who had not been in line were unfortunately not able to be accommodated in the theater.”
The statement continued: “We are sorry that the few ticket holders who stayed outside gave up their seats to those who waited in line. The film is being shown three more times during the festival and we welcome them to come to any of those screenings.”
McAleer said he was never told by any of the film festival’s representatives that there was a capacity issue, nor was that the reason he was given by security or the NYPD about why the group wasn’t allowed to enter. McAleer said he believes a video taken at the event shows they were banned because of their difference of opinion.
McAleer said that if you had a different opinion or didn’t fit within the “hipster, urban bubble,” it seemed the festival didn’t want you there.
In the video, a representative with the festival said she would be able to offer refunds to those who weren’t allowed inside, which the group begins to call a “freedom of speech refund.”
The representative later tells the camera “we’re happy to render refunds, we just don’t feel comfortable letting them into the movie.”
Others who came out because of the ruckus that was being made when the group was prevented from entering and talked to farmers about what was going on were then prevented from re-entering as well. But later in the clip, someone in a plaid shirt, sunglasses and with a badge goes up to security, says “I’ve been here the whole time,” and is allowed to enter the theater.
Watch the footage:
McAleer wanted to attend the premier in order to write a review. The farmers, McAleer said he thinks, attended because they “wanted to see what was being said about their lives and their communities.”
“You make a documentary to represent the farmers and landowners and they’re the people excluded from the screening,” McAleer said expressing his frustration.
This story has been updated to correct a typo.