In a nice mix of cutting-edge and good ole traditional bearing witness, Greenpeace launched a 43 minute documentary this past weekend on the Canadian Tar Sands called Petropolis. It is a non-traditional documentary (less than 5 minutes of dialogue) that lets the stunning images speak for themselves.

The film is a result of over a year’s work by Greenpeace Canada and Director Peter Mettler (Gambling, Gods and LSD, Balifilm and others) and offers an aerial perspective on the beauty of northern Alberta, the magnitude of the Tar Sands and their inconceivable destruction.

Entitled “Petropolis – An Aerial Perspective on the Alberta Tar sands” the film debuted at the Visions Du Reel International Documentary Film Festival in Nyon, Switzerland and I am please to say was greeted with much praise and out of 1,500 entries and over 150 screenings it received the Young Audience Award (one of only a dozen awards at the festival) .

To watch the trailer and check out some of the moving “webisodes” (short interviews) that support the film, go to the web site at:

The film will begin a journey through a number of international festivals in the weeks to come.

The trip gets underway in the lushly green setting of an idyllic world. We drift along, letting ourselves be carried away by the flow of the river. The forest stretches endlessly into the distance, as if nothing else exists. Time seems suspended. How breathtaking to reach the ends of the earth, here where man seeks cover to commit the unthinkable. Here where the earth’s muted heartbeat makes itself heard, where its very lamentations seem to come across. During this, a moment of utter intimacy, the earth – ravished by man, shamelessly exploited – reveals its wounds to us...