Q&A: JOSH TICKELL, Author and Film DirectorWritten on March 12th, 2009
Growing up amongst the oil refineries in Louisiana, JOSH TICKELL experienced the impacts of dirty oil processing at a young age. After watching members of his family suffer from pollution-related cancers, Tickell began a lifelong quest to find sustainable, clean energy sources.
In 1997, TICKELL set out on the road with a biodiesel powered "Veggie Van" and a video camera and began filming what would eventually become known as FUEL, the 2008 Sundance Audience Award winning documentary film that investigates the possible replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy.
Over the course of his 11 year journey, TICKELL traveled the world
going to over 25 countries, authored two books, founded a nonprofit organization, and jumpstarted America's biodiesel movement.
"Fuel" is a vital, superbly assembled documentary that presents an insightful overview of America's troubled
relationship with oil and how alternative and sustainable energies can reduce our country's -- and the world's -- addictive dependence on fossil fuels.
The film's structure is built around director-narrator Josh Tickell's personal journey of enlightenment, which started in childhood after moving with his family from idyllic Australia to murkier Louisiana, where he came to realize the oil-rich environment was being ravaged by the omnipotent petrochemical industry.
Later, as a young adult, he spent 11 years crossing the country in his vegetable oil-powered "Veggie Van," promoting biofuels and compiling footage for what would become this impressively comprehensive film.
The events of Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina factor in both visually and thematically, providing provocative anchors for the movie's indictment of what Tickell believes is the Big Oil-cozy, ecologically indifferent Bush administration. Johnny O'Hara's WGA Award-nominated script doesn't dwell on muckraking, however; it's more focused on broadly inspiring viewers than preaching to the converted.
Interviews with a wide range of environmentalists, policy makers and educators, along with such "green" celebrities as Woody Harrelson, Sheryl Crow and Larry Hagman offer serious fuel for thought -- as well as for action. Smartly animated interstitials, memorable archival material and a lively soundtrack round out the fast-paced proceedings.