FILM: Dirty Oil – Thurs 10th June, Birmingham

Time: Doors Open 6:45pm. Film starts at 7pm.

Venue: The Co-operative Member Relations Centre, Birmingham & Midlands Institute, Margaret Street, Birmingham, B3 3BS. Map to Venue




It is a little known fact that America imports the majority of its oil from Canada and not the Middle East. For years, Americans have been fueling what has been touted as the largest and most polluting industrial project on the planet today. Extracting oil from tar sands emits three times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil and uses four times as much water and heat per barrel of oil. The demand and toll this process is taking on the land, air, water and wildlife around the Athabasca River and the downstream communities from Ft. McMurray is not only toxic but also irreversible. In early 2008 Babelgum, an online and mobile video service, which has a focus on environmental issues, commissioned its first original production from which Downstream and Dirty Oil are the result. Dirty Oil looks at an issue that is not just an Alberta or Canadian story but a global story. The oil sands have garnered an increasing amount of attention from all sides of the issue.

This international attention has raised the awareness of the oil sands but with this attention comes confusion and polarisation. Industry and government says that the mythology of the oil sands has overtaken the truth, whereas for environmentalists the oil sands have become a lightning rod for the movement to reduce green house gases. Others have focused on the enormous quantities of ground and river water used and the toxic sludge left over in tailings ponds near local communities.

Dirty Oil dramatically explores the battle between industry, government, local communities and environmentalists. From the heart of the oils sands in Northern Alberta, Dirty Oil follows the pipelines to the U.S. Midwest refineries, to witness how refineries, much like its Canadian counterparts, try to increase toxic dumping into the Great Lakes. These disturbing stories profoundly illustrate the price dirty oil is taking on both sides of the border.

Appearances in the film include world renowned authors, scientists, environmentalists, politicians and other experts such as Lester Brown (author of “Plan B”), Andrew Nikiforuk (author of “Tar Sands”), David Schindler (scientist), Mel Knight (Alberta Minister of Energy), Dr. John O’Connor (Ft. Chipewyan Medical Doctor), Henry Henderson (NRDC). Each present their views of the issues, tradeoffs, challenges and possible solutions to a complex situation and the struggle to balance today’s needs against the long term needs of the future.

This is the heart wrenching story of industry and government putting money before the health and security of its people and the environment, After eight years of the Bush government run by oil interests, Dirty Oil also tracks the shifting tide of progress with the Obama Administration’ s introduction of greener and more sustainable policies. There is hope for our addiction to oil, and Dirty Oil explores and inspires new possibilities and actions for our planet and the future.

Birmingham Co-operative Film Society Membership

Membership is open to individuals and like-minded organisations. It costs £10 per year for individuals (including 1 free film show and discounts on ticket prices) and  £50 for organisations (which includes 20 free tickets).

If you wish to join, come along to one of our films, or post a cheque payable to ‘Birmingham Co-operative Film Society’ to BCFS, c/o The Warehouse, 54-57 Allison Street, Birmingham B5 5TH with your name, address, post code, email address and telephone number.

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