Best Documentary Oscar Contender Has Northwest Connection

Feb 24, 2012

One of the movies up for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards Sunday has a strong connection to the Northwest.

"If a Tree Falls: The Story of the Earth Liberation Front" tells of Daniel McGowan, a young man from New York who came to Eugene, Oregon to engage in environmental activism. McGowan was involved in a couple of arson fires sparked in the name of ELF.

Filmmaker Marshall Curry says he wanted to tell all sides of the story.

"By no means wanted to excuse the arsons but we really wanted to understand them and understand what lead people to take part in Earth Liberation Front and understand the repercussions of those fires and how they affected the arson victims," Curry explains.

The film includes interviews with activists, law enforcement and the owner of a logging company whose building burned.

Eugene filmmaker Tim Lewis contributed footage. It includes scenes from the Warner Creek tree sit and a downtown protest of tree cutting in Eugene that included violent clashes between EPD and protestors.

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