caleb-behn.jpg

Fractured Land To Make World Premiere at Hot Docs

A film about a B.C. indigenous leader torn between two worlds as his people grapple with the impact of hydraulic fracturing on their territory will premiere at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto Tuesday night.

Fractured Land follows Caleb Behn, a young Dene lawyer, as he navigates the conflicts on his physical terrain — where fracking is taking its toll on his land and water in northeastern B.C. — and the conflicts within himself as he struggles to reconcile his traditions with the modern world.

Filmmakers Fiona Rayher and Damien Gillis followed Behn for four years, capturing hundreds of hours of footage of him on his territory, at law school in Vancouver and even consulting with New Zealand’s Maori people, who are also under siege by the fracking industry.

Fractured Land is less an environmental film and more an intense personal tale of Behn’s struggle to come to grips with complex issues such as fracking, resource politics and Canada’s colonial legacy.

The tension is illustrated most clearly by the contrast of Behn’s parents — his mother is a high-ranking oil and gas officer trying to make change from the inside and his father is a residential school survivor and staunch environmentalist.

Fractured Land Official Trailer from Fractured Land on Vimeo.

Behn has blended those two influences to become a young man who sports a Mohawk and tattoos beneath his business suit. In the film, he sits down with Janet Annesley, the former vice president of communications for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. It’s a scene that makes you wriggle in your seat, but it results in one of the film’s more poignant moments when Annesley drops this line: “I think to some degree we are all fractured within ourselves.”

With B.C.’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) export dreams, those fractures are only set to grow for Behn. The gas intended for export would be derived through fracking on his land, which involves drilling deep underground and then fracturing the rock via a blast of high-pressure water, sand and chemicals. The emissions from fracking and LNG plants threaten to triple B.C.’s carbon footprint — rivalling the Alberta oilsands — but the industry also provides jobs for Behn's people.

The documentary avoids becoming another enviro film about emissions statistics or scary fracking tales and charts a different, more universal storyline about, as Behn puts it, “how to best use our heartbeats.”

Hot Docs Screenings

– Tuesday, April 28 at 9 p.m., Tiff Bell Lightbox

– Thursday, April 30 at 2:30 p.m., Scotiabank Theatre

– Saturday, May 2 at 4 p.m., Scotiabank Theatre

The film will have its broadcast premiere on CBC’s Documentary channel later this year.

We’ve got big plans for 2024
Seeking out climate solutions, big and small. Investigating the influence of oil and gas lobbyists. Holding leaders accountable for protecting the natural world.

The Narwhal’s reporting team is busy unearthing important environmental stories you won’t read about anywhere else in Canada. And we’ll publish it all without corporate backers, ads or a paywall.

How? Because of the support of a tiny fraction of readers like you who make our independent, investigative journalism free for all to read.

Will you join more than 6,000 members helping us pull off critical reporting this year?
We’ve got big plans for 2024
Seeking out climate solutions, big and small. Investigating the influence of oil and gas lobbyists. Holding leaders accountable for protecting the natural world.

The Narwhal’s reporting team is busy unearthing important environmental stories you won’t read about anywhere else in Canada. And we’ll publish it all without corporate backers, ads or a paywall.

How? Because of the support of a tiny fraction of readers like you who make our independent, investigative journalism free for all to read.

Will you join more than 6,000 members helping us pull off critical reporting this year?

A mineral rush and a hiring crisis: Canadian mining’s ‘dirty’ image is scaring off recruits

When Courtney Onstad was out in the field collecting samples and searching for gold, it wasn’t the thrill of the find she was after. What...

Continue reading

Recent Posts

Thousands of members make The Narwhal’s independent journalism possible. Will you help power our work in 2024?
Will you help power our journalism in 2024?
… which means our newsletter has become the most important way we connect with Narwhal readers like you. Will you join the nearly 90,000 subscribers getting a weekly dose of in-depth climate reporting?
A line chart in green font colour with the title "Our Facebook traffic has cratered." Chart shows about 750,000 users via Facebook in 2019, 1.2M users in 2020, 500,000 users in 2021, 250,000 users in 2022, 100,000 users in 2023.
… which means our newsletter has become the most important way we connect with Narwhal readers like you. Will you join the nearly 90,000 subscribers getting a weekly dose of in-depth climate reporting?
A line chart in green font colour with the title "Our Facebook traffic has cratered." Chart shows about 750,000 users via Facebook in 2019, 1.2M users in 2020, 500,000 users in 2021, 250,000 users in 2022, 100,000 users in 2023.
Overlay Image