Local filmmaker wins environmental award at festival

Joel Stonington

As oil and gas drilling spreads across the Rocky Mountain West, the debate about where and when to drill has often been framed as industry versus environmentalists.Local filmmakers, Mark Harvey (producer, director) and Greg Poschman (director of photography), put together a film, “A Land Out of Time,” with a very different message. As drilling poises to go into wild places such as Colorado’s Roan Plateau, Wyoming’s Red Desert and Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, Harvey takes it directly to the people on the ground.After screenings at Aspen Filmfest and in Glenwood Springs last month, local filmmaker Mark Harvey took “A Land Out of Time,” to the Taos Mountain Film Festival, where it won “Best Environmental Film” on Oct. 7. “It’s not just tree-huggers: It’s hunters and ranchers, it’s people who have been on the land for generations,” Harvey said. “I’ve watched as people have gone to these public meetings and spoken out in favor of protection. The federal government is just ignoring the public. I’ve never seen this before. They’ve made drilling for natural gas such a priority that, in my opinion, they’re violating the public trust.”Harvey said the rate of leasing in the past five years is far above normal and that frenzy puts most of the Rockies in danger of loosing Western character. “A lot of these lands are very productive for recreational [uses],” Harvey said. “It’s not just aesthetics, it’s economics and sustainability. When they do the drill pads, they have the discharge ponds, these black reservoirs. The tarpaulins are always breaking. They’re supposed to be fenced off but wildlife get into them and get sick from the petroleum chemicals. Who wants to go hunting through a series of roads and gas wells? Who wants to go backpacking in those areas? The places people are trying to save might produce a week of gas.”Harvey produced directed and co-wrote the film based on a treatment by a New York Times journalist, and three-time Emmy winner Greg Poschman was the director of photography. “We hope this film reminds people living in this area that this is their land,” Harvey said. “These are taxpayer lands and people have a say in what happens to them. That’s half the reason for making this film.”The film will show at film festivals in Whistler and Anchorage as well as a screening for environmentalists in Washington, D.C. More information is available at Stonington’s e-mail address is