Big Business is the new Hays Code

[adrotate banner=”1″]The documentary Tapped was scheduled to run during Guelph Water Services’ Documentary Nights in September as part of a series of films on water conservation. Then John Challinor, director of corporate affairs at Nestle Waters Canada sent them an angry letter and mentioned the many jobs his company provided. Suddenly, Documentary Nights in September was looking for a new film to play…

Tapped is a documentary that looks at the bottled water industry. It is particularly critical of the ecological problems associated with bottled water, since 40% of it is just tap water bottled up and shipped elsewhere. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Guelph’s favorite company, Nestle, get particularly criticized for their roles in the issue. The fact that Guelph caved so fast when the mayor got an angry letter is a sad state of affairs. Nestle is also weighing in on other bottled water documentaries, like FLOW: For the Love of Water.

But it’s not just random towns in Canada where corporate power is flexing its muscles at the big screen…

Matt Damon’s new film Promised Land isn’t even out yet, and it’s already got the energy industry in a panicked uproar. The main concern is the film deals with the controversial process of fracking, which has become a big environmental concern in the past few years. Fracking is not just a swear word on Battlestar Galactica, it is the technique of inducing hydraulic fracturing at a natural gas deposit in order to get more of the hydrocarbons than other methods. But it also has a nasty side effect of contaminating groundwater (sometimes even turning the water flammable!) and polluting the air. There is the added problem that most of this happens in small isolated towns and then the companies move on, leaving ruin in their wake.

The energy industry is worried that it will be presented in a critical light and is preparing possible responses, such as providing film reviewers with scientific studies, distributing leaflets to moviegoers and launching a “truth squad” initiative on Twitter and Facebook

The energy industry previously had a problem with the documentary Gasland, and went so far as to have a huge PR blitz when it was heading to theaters. They even made their own documentary called Truthland, which has started screening in June. If you think this is starting to sound a bit scary, welcome to the world of giant media companies making long documentaries about how their poison is good for you. So grab a heaping spoonful, people!

No Censorship