Fracking the System: Colorado's Oil and Gas Wars

: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Post-Production


A concerned mother joins grassroots activists to protect her son’s school from oil and gas drilling but the oil and gas industry fights back.


When a fracking well got moved from a white neighborhood to a BIPOC neighborhood, a mother joins the fight to try and stop it. She eventually joins the state-wide effort to change the law but the oil and gas industry does everything they can to fight back.


I began filming Fracking the System on a gut impulse after I met a Lakota elder who explained the harms of fracking. Motivated by my devotion to the Earth and my own history of activism, I began filming the activists’ events. On the fifth day of filming, at a non-violent protest where a student-activist locked himself to a bulldozer, I was charged by the police, at the behest of the oil and gas company, with the same alleged crimes as the activist - criminal trespass and tampering. Weeks later, I was served a lawsuit from the same company, which they offered to drop in exchange for my signed agreement to disclose to them my private communications, and agree keep my footage private. Instead of taking their offer, I contacted the ACLU and we negotiated a settlement in which I retained the rights to my footage. Despite those legal battles, and perhaps because of them, I continued to film the activists’ controversial 2018 statewide ballot campaign and to create this documentary chronicling their 10-year struggle against neighborhood fracking. The more I learned about this issue, the more shocked I became.

This film is an initiation into the experience of environmental activists. It charts their 10-year roller coaster journey to protect themselves from neighborhood drilling. And, it examines the systems of government and politics that allow the oil and gas industry to continue to get their way, despite public outcry and evidence of harm from scientists. It is essential viewing for those concerned about our climate and wonder what can be done.


Brian Hedden - Producer-Director

Brian Hedden trained as a filmmaker, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts and freelancing in the independent film industry for 2 years. Seeking independence, Brian starting his own production company in 2010, making videos about farm-to-table businesses. After a life-changing experience with the Occupy movement, Brian took a hiatus from filmmaking to immerse himself in mediation, farming and teaching, to learn the core of humanity and to calibrate his inner compass. Brian returned to filmmaking in 2016, inspired to make videos about the social-emotional preschool where he was teaching.

Brian is currently based in Boulder, Colorado, producing videos for and consulting with artists, teachers, healers, and revolutionaries. Brian is in the process of finishing his first feature documentary, Fracking the System.

Doug Blush - Creative Producer

Doug Blush is an award-winning director, producer, editor, cinematographer and co-owner of Los Angeles-based MadPix Films. His credits include, as editor, the Oscar and ACE Eddie Award winning 20 Feet from Stardom (2013), as executive producer, the Oscar winning Period. End of Sentence. (2018) and, as consulting producer and editor, the Oscar winning Icarus (2017). Other credits include The Hunting Ground (2015) (editor and associate producer), The Invisible War (2012) (editor and associate producer), Skid Row Marathon (2017) (producer), Wordplay (2006) (editor), Superheroes (2011) (editor and executive producer), and over 100 feature and television documentary projects. He has co-directed, with wife and film partner Lisa J. Klein, the feature documentary Of Two Minds (2012), and recently produced and shot The S Word (2017), both MadPix original films.


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