Blow the Man Down

“I was going to make a 15 to 20 minute film about [wind energy],” Windfall director/producer Laura Israel explained in an interview with SRQ. “But then I became so fascinated by the community and the people that it became a film about that.” In Windfall, the wind industry plays a supporting role. The main focus of the film is on the residents of Meredith, N.Y. who were affected by multi-national wind energy corporations attempting to build wind farms throughout the rural town, and the divide it caused between them.

The documentary includes breathtaking shots of graceful New York State wind farms and a soundtrack by Hazmat Modine (with ridiculously fabulous harmonica breakdowns in songs like “Lost Fox Train,” which match the film’s overall tone dead on) balanced by dark moments where stretches of film allow the viewer to experience the downsides of wind energy—among them, intense low frequency noise and disruptive shadow flicker as the sun dips behind the rotating blades.

But the film is gentle to not completely discount wind energy. An unspoken point is that the massive farms are better left for large tracts of undeveloped land, where people’s everyday lives won’t be negatively affected by the massive turbines. “I feel like most of the information out there is very pro wind,” Israel says. “I didn’t think we needed to take the time to [list the pros] because that’s what most people already know. I’m asking people to just look at the other side, and don’t even listen to me, just research it yourselves. I just want to give people enough information to go out and research it on their own.” During her Q&A at the end of Sunday’s viewing, Israel suggested http://www.windaction.org as a resource for viewers wanting to learn more about both the pros and cons of wind energy.

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