The list of Oscar nominees was released this morning, and among the five films up for best documentary feature is If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front. The doc follows the story of so-called “eco-terrorists” who torched timber operations, meat packing plants, and other environmental horror shows in the 1990s.
The film focuses on one mild-mannered ELF member, Daniel McGowan, as he hangs out under house arrest, after the federal government went after his ELF cell in 2005. Here’s the trailer, which features lines like “You don’t have to be al-Qaeda to be a terrorist” and “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”:
The filmmaker, Marshall Curry, also made Street Fight, a political documentary that followed Cory Booker’s first, unsuccessful race for mayor of Newark. Curry first heard about McGowan’s story from his wife, who was working in the same office as McGowan when the feds arrested him. Grist List hasn’t seen the film yet, but enviro bloggers like Andrew Revkin and Ben Jervey have nice things to say about it. And it’s streaming on Netflix, if, like us, you’re interested in checking it out.
Nominees, The Oscars.
Activist or Terrorist, Rendered in Red, White, and Green, The New York Times.