Archive for the ‘THE FILM’ Category

Filmmaker Jon Goldman returns to the land of his great grandfather, Louisiana, to discover the true cost of progress through oil exploration, sixty years after the historic cinema of Robert Flaherty’s Louisiana Story with interviews and his own animation.


Classic Animation Explains Oil

Posted: March 2, 2011 in THE FILM

In this classic animation, a Martian learns of all of the wonders of oil production and progress, except any environmental costs, social costs ( wars )  toxic costs or waste-related by products.  One of many films produced by the American Petroleum Institute.

We met Michael at Dean Blanchard’s place on Grand Isle. ( we’ll hear from Dean in an upcoming clip) Dean is the largest shrimp broker in the region. Michael is a fifth generation Shrimper who skippers his shrimp trawler with his wife, Wendy. I received word a day or two after this interview that he had, in fact, finally been called by BP to help with the cleanup. I am hoping to follow up soon.

We met Gary Cure onboard the Donna Ann. He is an affable fellow, a hard working oysterman who looks to BP to make thing right. He also looks to that oil company to employ him again as a worker on the spill because it is the only thing bringing in anything. It is the waiting though that is making him uncomfortable.

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Jon Goldman sewing an inflatable sculpture (1988)

Sixty three years before a deep water oil drilling platform near the Mississippi Delta exploded into U.S. History, Robert J. Flaherty (who made “Nanook of the North,” and is considered the father of the American documentary) was commissioned by Standard Oil in 1948 to make a film about oil exploration. The result was “Louisiana Story,” which portrays the excitement and the rewards a Cajun family receives when a drilling rig sets up on their bayou. It also is prophetic in revealing the tension created when we disrupt the interdependence of the natural environment and those traditional cultures who live in relation to that environment.

By exploring his family’s connection to Flaherty and the Louisiana Story, environmental artist and filmmaker Jon Goldman returns to the land of his great grandfather, discovering how industry changed forever the vitality of a region and sacrificed the real cost for prosperity.

Still from "Louisiana Story"

The film parallels one artist’s celebration of a threatened way of life and another artists need to confront the consequences.The story becomes a conversation on how to change the future.

It is a story about a family’s Louisiana legacy revealing how we are OIL IN THE FAMILY. OIL IN THE FAMILY combines a personal narrative with scenes from “Lousiana Story”and will push the boundaries of documentary and docudrama. The film explores the complex issues surrounding oil exploration, extraction and manufacturing through my own animation,

a page from the Graphic Novel OIL IN THE FAMILY

classic animation, interviews and personal stories. It depicts the impact on family and the larger context of how it has changed that place where the original story was filmed.

Robert Flaherty, motion picture director,hailed as the father of documentary films. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

The filmmakers return to the original film location sixty years later and examine the real impact oil exploration and the powerful petrochemical industry has had and continues to have on the South Central region of Louisiana, its people, its economy, the indigenous landscape and the larger world.