Documentary focuses on damage issues from fossil fuel pipelines

MARFA – A documentary film, “This Land,” based on pipelines and eminent domain issues, which focuses largely on the Trans-Pecos Pipeline through Brewster and Presidio Counties, will be presented during the final day of the Marfa Film Festival this week in Marfa.

The pipeline has been completed but Director/Producer/Editor Alan Thompson said issues will remain long after the pipeline installing force has moved on to the next project.

“One of main things we want to see with this are pipelines in West Texas, North Dakota, the Keystone Pipeline and others and that the effects continue,” he said.

“They are in the ground but our premise going into it was profiling how close they come to towns like Alpine,” he said. “Just because it is in the ground does not mean fight is over.”

He features ranch hand Brandt Buchanan of the Boerschig Ranch, which comes within a quarter mile of the pipeline, and Tom Short and the late Suzanne Bailey, whose home is immediately across a fence from the land west of Alpine occupied by Pumpco, the company that installed the T.P.P.

It also features Mark and Lori Glover who were active in protesting the T.P.P.

Buchanan shows in the video which plants are food for his cattle and which are not. The film then shows the wide swath of land with no vegetation where the pipeline is buried. He says it will take years for new plants to grow in the pipeline right of way. “This land is our only home, yet due to our addiction to fossil fuels, a finite, non-renewable source of energy to sustain our lifestyles, we are putting our future at risk,” Thompson writes on the Marfa Festival Website.

“‘This Land’ takes us from the Texas and Mexico border to the Dakotas and then Northern Canada,” he wrote. “As we profile methods of extracting fossil fuels and transporting them, we will meet native and local communities fighting against gas and oil pipelines and see what is at stake if we continue on our current path or decide to make a stand for our land, this land, our only home.”

Short and Bailey tell the videographer that much of the land was acquired by eminent domain.

Bailey said eminent domain was created to help public bodies acquire land for highways, hospitals and schools, not for a privately-owned pipeline.

The film runs about one hour. It was produced by the Tzu Chi Foundation.

It will be shown near the end of the five-day film festival Sunday afternoon at the Crowley Theater, among several short films. “I’m very excited to share this film in West Texas as the majority of it was produced there and we met some amazing people while filming,” Thompson said. “I finished the film at the end of last year and submitted the film, called “This Land,” to various film festivals across the country. As I’m still waiting to hear back from most of the festivals, I am proud to announce that we’ll be having our premiere at the Black Hills Film Festival in Hill City, South Dakota.”

He said that festival will be next April 25-29, but the exact screening date for “This Land” had not been determined.

This year’s Marfa Film Festival, which started Wednesday and runs through Sunday, features women in filmmaking.

The festival is showing films by all genders but, this year, it is devoted to the empowerment of females in the industry.

Events this week also include two free screenings at the Mar-fa Golf Course Friday and Saturday evenings including the life of Mexican artist the late Frida Kahlo.

She will be honored with a sunset picnic at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The festival will present an open-air 1980s themed video dance party at 9 p.m. Saturday, featuring the 1985 film “Legend of Billie Jean” by Matthew Robbins.