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Irish Film-makers Attack Environmentalists
The Sunday Times, August 10, 2008

Husband and wife team in $1m bid to release film that turns focus on the effects of banning DDT
Eithne Shortall

ENVIRONMENTALISTS are under artistic attack again ­ this time from  two Irish film-makers. Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, producers of a controversial mining documentary that portrayed environmentalists as oppressors, have started an online campaign to raise $3.5m (€2.2m) to secure a cinemma release for their latest film, which accuses Al Gore of scaremongering.

The husband and wife team spent 18 months and $1m (€600,000) makingg Not Evil Just Wrong. It looks at the effects of banning DDT, a chemical used to stop the spread of malaria in the third world, because it was found to be poisonous to wildlife and the environment.

McAleer described environmentalism as something middle-class people did to keep poorer members of society in their place and said their documentary shows the true cost of “global warming hysteria.

“The larger theme is how environmentalism seems to harm the poorest people in the poorest places on the planet,” he said. “It’s looking at how the hysteria around global warming will affect people on low or fixed incomes. It asks: is there a disease and is the cure worse than the disease? The science isn’t settled. Global warming was invented five or 10 years ago.”
The film-makers say their fundraising drive was inspired by the grassroots mechanism that Barack Obama used to finance his presidential campaign. Since opening the fund last weekend, McAleer said they had received 500 donations, with an average contribution of $48. He is aiming to raise $3.5m, which he says is needed to get the film into 150 theatres across the United States by October. McAleer, who was born in Tyrone, said there was no corporate sponsorship behind the latest movie.
Mine Your Own Business, the pair’s 2006 film, portrayed environmentalist opposition to a gold mine in Romania as destroying “the human right to a job and development”. It drew strong criticism from Green groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who described it as “propaganda” because the mining company in question had funded the production.

The film was screened at festivals and arthouse cinemas around the world, including the Irish Film Institute in Dublin and the National Geographic Society in Washington DC Several screenings attracted protests. Some 80 NGOs wrote to the National Geographic seeking to get the screening
cancelled while Green activists demonstrated outside the theatre. Kert Davies, Greenpeace’s research director, said it was “typical propaganda from anti-regulation types”.

McAleer said the couple’s latest message is “too serious to go in arthouse cinemas” and they are aiming to get Not Evil Just Wrong shown in American multiplexes. The makers described the movie as “the film Al Gore and Hollywood don’t want you to see”. The trailer, available on YouTube.com and the documentary’s homepage, accuses environmentalists of wanting to “raise our taxes”, “close our factories” and have us “believe the world is going to

It features Stephen McIntyre, a retired businessman, who found errors in NASA calculations that led the organisation to confirm that 1934, and not 1998, was the warmest year recorded in the United States.

Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace who later distanced himself from the organisation, also appears in the 97-minute film. “I don’t think it would be a bad thing for this earth to warm up,” he says. Greenpeace International told The Sunday Times that while they had not seen the documentary, they dismissed any claims of scaremongering.

“Greenpeace’s claims are based on science and the science is very clear. The latest report from the UN’s leading scientists says that climate change is happening, human activity is causing it and it’s a huge threat to our species,” a spokeswoman said. “But we can prevent the worst . . . if we act immediately to slash emissions and kickstart an energy revolution with a massive expansion of renewables and improvements in energy efficiency.” McAleer said “despise Ryanair because it used to be that we \ with our own sort. Whereas I see Ryanair as making Ireland wealthy, they see it as a negative for Ireland”.

He said there is a huge appetite for “this type of story” because there is a growing backlash against the green movement and “Obama telling us not to drive SUVS and Al Gore saying that you can’t use air conditioning”. McAleer and McElhinney have made several television documentaries in Ireland and the UK. The pair have given talks on their beliefs at several American
conferences and on television and radio. Before turning to documentary making, McAleer worked for The Sunday Times and the Financial Times.

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