Last year I scoffed at the biased mess that was “Gasland.” I wish “DamNation” had been out so I could have pointed to it to say this is how you present an issue you have strong opinions about without having the audience feel like they’re being conned...It’s a wonderful film filled with amazing sequences of inspiring protest efforts, beautiful scenery, and a heart-warming if sad jackpot of old movie footage of a trip down the Colorado River that will make you want to cry for the destruction dams have wrought. It’s great and a role model for how to make a solid environmental documentary that addresses a controversial issue in a level headed and dignified way. More movies like it are needed.
I really can’t say enough good things about this movie. It’s both nostalgic and contemporary. It’s hip and cool enough to feel like it’s for a younger demographic, yet dignified and even reverential at times to play to the older crowd. It has great visuals, but not at the expense of substance. It also captures the broad sweep of the past century to feel like the voice of the very best of the American environmental movement.
People squawk at me often, “Well, what is your idea of a good documentary?” This film is my answer, plain and simple. It’s a role model for all aspiring environmental filmmakers. It doesn’t have perfect narrative structure, it has a few minor shortcomings (would have liked a little more explicit addressing of the bottom line on the “jobs vs. environment” divide when it comes to dam removal), but a movie can only do so much in addressing an issue—it’s not the same as a book.
The movie does its job incredibly well. AND … it’s fun!
SXSW 2014 Audience Choice - Documentary Spotlight
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital 2014 Environmental Advocacy Award
International Wildlife Film Festival 2014 Best Conservation Film
Environmental Film Festival at Yale 2014 Grand Jury Prize
Environmental Film Festival at Yale 2014 Audience Choice
5Point Film Festival 2014 Best of Festival
DOXA Nigel Moore Award
Green Film Festival in Seoul 2014 Peoples Choice
Green Film Festival in Seoul 2014 Best Feature Film
MountainFilm 2014 Audience Choice Award
San Francisco Green Film Festival 2014 Best Feature Award
Destiny City Film Festival 2014 Best Documentary Feature