Local independent film festival to highlight petroleum crisis


By Sean Robinson – Senior Staff Writer, Jasmine Maharisi – News Editor

The power of the film “A Crude Awakening – The Oil Crash” is fueled by the visions of director Basil Gelpke and producer Ray McCormack as they explore the global peak in petroleum production through data, predictions and key historical facts.

From producing clean tap water to driving to work, petroleum is seen as the fuel of the modern human race.  

It’s a relevant film, considering the recent BP oil spill that ravished much of the Gulf of Mexico and the world’s dependency on petroleum.

The movie poses the troubling thought of a population forced to run on empty as the cheap petroleum supply is exhausted.

The film will run Dec. 8 at McFoster’s Natural Kind Café, located at 302 S. 38 St. Admission is free as part of Progressive Omaha’s The People’s Film Festival, Omaha’s longest running independent film festival.

In operation since 2004, The People’s Film Festival showcases free independent films every Wednesday at 7 p.m.

“Independent filmmaking allows for outside-of-the-box creativity and truth-telling,” said Progressive Omaha founder Jack Dunn. “The stories that are told are not filtered through the fine mesh of profitability. If they succeed, it is because of the vision of the director or the power of the story.”    

From “Capitalism: A Love Story” to the marijuana-focused “Reefer Madness,” the film festival offers a variety of independent fare that hope to highlight the necessary changes in the world, Dunn said.

McFoster’s is typically filled with college graduates each Wednesday, bringing in a multi-generational audience. Discussions on the subjects of the films are encouraged after showing.

“I think it’s important for this film festival to show topical movies about things such as the petroleum supply running low because it is a constant threat that can only be avoided through human changes,” UNO freshman psychology major Katie Wacker said. “Consider that, without oil, we wouldn’t be able to get to school, run the heating we need to survive winter or just make it through our basic day.”

Beyond “A Crude Awakening – The Oil Crash,” upcoming showings include the Dec. 15 showing of “Imagining Argentina,” a film about a city haunted with hundreds of disappearances and a Dec. 22 showing of “Control Room,” a documentary about an Arab television network.