Josh Tickell with producer and fiancee Rebecca Harrell
"America is addicted to oil...It's time for an intervention." That is the tagline for FUEL, Josh Tickell's redo of 2008's Sundance Audience Award winner, Fields of Fuel. We talked to Josh about that movie a couple of years, before he actually started putting it together. We made it to the L.A. premier of FUEL where we saw the flick, the principals and several celebs who support the cause. We even saw a Honda FCX Clarity in the parking lot along with dozens of hybrids, biodiesels and flex fuel vehicles. FUEL keeps the basic premise of Fields, but addresses some of the controversies surrounding biofuels and other alternative energy sources as well.
Fields of Fuel was basically a documentary of Tickell's 11-year quest to spread the gospel of renewable, sustainable biodiesel from behind the wheel of his used-cooking-oil-powered "Veggie Van." Sister site Cinematical did an excellent review of that film when it came out. The new film that premiered in L.A. last night is simply called FUEL because it adds info on solar and wind, biomass and algae, and a bunch of other alternative energy sources, along with answers to criticisms some of these fuels have generated. It's an entertaining and educational movie that speaks directly to us. Follow the jump for more info about the movie from the L.A. premiere.
FUEL is a fascinating look at politics and the petrochemical industry wherein the average citizen seems to be merely along for the ride. While there isn't a whole lot of new information in the movie, it does shine a light on certain governmental decisions and scientific developments over the past hundred years that help explain why we are in the current political, energy and environmental crises we are in. It also offers some compelling options as we move forward.
Some might find the movie too political in spots, but the overall message is one of hope. Tickell and a bunch of experts (and celebrities) implore us to do our part to make a change, from changing our own habits to voting for political candidates who will support a new energy plan. The movie is littered with celebrity cameos, expert analysis, and funny real-world encounters.
You'll gasp when a government official compares what we are doing in Iraq to sticking up a gas station. You'll see Virgin overlord Richard Branson flying in a biofueled jet. A Columbia professor exults, "Power to the poopers!" in extolling the virtues of waste biomass energy. You'll also hear truck driver Elmer Fudd (seriously) talk about how keeping biodiesel out of the hands of truckers is just "flat ass wrong." There are plenty of touching and uplifting moments to counter quite a few that will likely make your blood boil.
It's a very inspirational movie with a good balance of science and entertainment to make it palatable and engaging for the average moviegoer, which brings us to one last issue. While the movie will continue on a city-by-city mini-tour, the FUEL gang is asking all of us to call our local theaters to ask if they are going to show it. Just like the message in the movie, it's a request that is grassroots to the core.