A Story of the Earth Liberation Front: An Interview With Documentarian Marshall Curry
by Amanda Lin Costa
When John Muir formed the Sierra Club in 1892 and fought to pass the National Parks Bill in 1899, it is difficult to believe he imagined future environmentalists would resort to acts defined by the US government as terrorism to protect the land. Or perhaps it isn't so far fetched and he predicted this escalation. Muir biographer,
Donald Worster, says of Muir's environmentalism that his mission was "saving the American soul from total surrender to materialism."
Materialism, money and commerce are woven as tightly together as a strangler fig, which will climb up its host tree until eventually it kills it, in its search for the light of day. "Soul Saving" falls under a moral realm that often considers itself outside of earthly laws, with the means justifying the end.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. drew parallels between the environmental movement and the civil rights movement. Today's battle to protect the land has become a modern day David and Goliath, with groups such as Earth Liberation Front throwing fire instead of rocks. How effective or justified their actions are is a complicated issue. Documentary filmmaker Marshall Curry tackles this complex subject in his film, "If a Tree Falls." In 2005, Marshall was selected by Filmmaker Magazine as one of the "Twenty-Five New Faces of Independent Film." In 2007, he received the International Trailblazer Award at MIPDOC in Cannes. His first documentary, "Street Fight" was nominated for an Oscar and an Emmy. His second documentary, "Racing Dreams" is being made into a feature film by Dreamworks.
To Read the Interview