Freedom, a powerful new documentary film coming to Washington, DC, examines the destructive relationship between foreign oil, national security and our economy and focuses on clean energy solutions to America’s oil addiction, is from the filmmakers of the award winning Sundance documentary “Fuel,” husband and wife directing team Josh and Rebecca Tickell.
Dennis V. McGinn, Retired Vice Admiral and the President of The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), hosted the first screening and participated in an after-screening debate and Q&A with the filmmakers.
Participating in both the Press Conference and the Q&A is Wesley Clark, who in his 34 years in the U.S. Army, rose to the rank of four-star general and was named director for strategic plans and policy of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Supreme Allied Commander and Commander in Chief of the U.S. European Command, Clark commanded Operation Allied Force, NATO’s first major combat action, which saved 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.
Freedom showcases the potential of home-grown energy for our economy and features interviews with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former NATO Commander Wesley Clark, singer/songwriter Jason Mraz, international author Deepak Chopra and such “green” actors as Ed Begley, Jr., Amy Smart and Michelle Rodriguez. Additionally, in a most unexpected and emotional segment, co-director Rebecca Tickell reveals an extraordinary predicament that is both touching and illuminating.
Alternative energy like American ethanol helped create and support more than 600,000 jobs in the United States. Alternative energies including wind, solar, and advanced biofuels are being made in American cities, reinvigorating our local economies and the nation’s, too. They are being made by American workers, offering them good-paying, stable jobs in a growing industry. It is also helping free us from costly foreign oil – and you from paying for it.
“Freedom is the first documentary to show a clear path for how the United States can end its oil dependence, turn its foreign debt into a surplus of cash, make over $3 trillion a year and put eight million Americans back to work,” says co-director Rebecca Tickell. “The answer is simple – replace what’s in the gas tank of every one of the 250 million cars on the road today with a high tech fuel made in America.” It sounds simple – but, as Freedom shows, the United States has been going about it the wrong way.”
The documentary reveals the two groups that would seem most divided on the oil issue – big oil and environmentalists – often work together to thwart green fuels (the latter having been unknowingly co-opted by oil interests). A case in point, say the film’s co-directors, is the recent barrage of assaults on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which mandates the US use an ever-increasing percentage of renewable fuels. “How ironic that oil and environmentalists would fight the RFS when the RFS is the only hope we have to get us beyond corn and toward using waste as fuel” says co-director Josh Tickell. The documentary also points a finger at politicians who accept oil money only to turn against renewable fuels (as was recently seen by the Coburn (R-OK) actions against the USDA’s efforts to put blender pumps into gas stations. According to the Federal Election Commission, Coburn received over $415k from fossil fuel interests in the last decade).
“It appears as if our country hasn’t yet learned the lesson from last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill debacle,” said the filmmaking team, “with 68 million acres of oil drilling about to commence in the Arctic, Florida and California, now is the time to look at realistic sustainable technologies. Freedom addresses these core issues.”
The author of two books on alternative energy, Josh Tickell has worked on environmental issues for over 20 years. His career spans a unique mixture of science, investigative journalism and filmmaking. Having grown up amongst the oil refineries in Louisiana, Tickell experienced the impacts of dirty oil processing at a young age. After watching his mother suffer from pollution related sickness, Tickell began to search for sustainable, clean energy sources. His directorial debut film, “Fuel,” was the 2008 Sundance Audience Award winning documentary that investigates the possible replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy. For his rescue mission in the aftermath of the Katrina hurricane in Louisiana, Tickell’s nonprofit organization was selected by President Bill Clinton as an inaugural part of his Global Initiative on Climate Change.
Rebecca (Harrell) Tickell dedicates herself to the advancement of women and the environment. She is the co-director and producer of the documentary “The Big Fix,” which features Peter Fonda and was an Official Selection of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. She has spent the last year documenting the impacts and root cause of the BP oil spill. While investigating the spill she became ill and was left with permanent damage from exposure to the oil and dispersant in the atmosphere. She produced “Fuel.” She co-directs the nonprofit I’ll Be the One Organization and is the author of Hot, Rich & Green, a book about redefining feminism and the role of women in the environmental movement. As a child, she starred in the Orion (now MGM) Christmas Classic movie, “Prancer.” Tickell and her husband Josh Tickell live in Venice, California with, their Veggie Van, The Freedom Bus and the world’s first algae gasoline powered car.