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Wind power... It's green... It's good... It reduces our dependency on foreign oil... That's what the people of Meredith, in upstate New York first thought when a wind developer looked to supplement this farm town's failing economy with a farm of their own -- that of 40 industrial wind turbines. Attracted at first to the financial incentives, residents grow increasingly alarmed as they discover side effects they never dreamed of, as well as the potential for disturbing financial scams. With wind development growing rapidly at 39% annually in the US, WINDFALL is an eye-opener for anyone concerned about the future of renewable energy. Written by
The film is visually pleasing and attempts to address an important issue that some communities face. But I have a real problem with the way the film was written. It spends a fair amount of time disparaging wind development companies...making them out to be dishonest, greedy carpetbaggers. Oddly enough, one of the companies looking at developing wind in the area at that time was not even discussed. This company's actions were, in so many ways, the complete opposite of how the film portrayed wind developers. They were a local entity with an open door policy, consistently addressed all inquiries and concerns both in public forums and in ad hoc group meetings, and were clear right from the start that if the community decided wind was ultimately not a good fit, they would not force the issue and move on. In fact, the town thanked this company numerous times for their honesty and being available throughout the process.
Also missing was mention of some of the disrespectful behavior exhibited by certain local citizens: physical threats, spreading of inaccurate information (by name and anonymously), and promises that were never intended to be acted upon. This can be confirmed by several of those individuals that were interviewed in the film.
It is worth noting a number of inaccuracies, misleading visuals, and downright false information or conclusions in the film; for those close to the energy industry these are obvious and frustrating that they are left unchallenged, but to the average viewer they come across as credible. As commented in other reviews, there is no effort made to introduce counterarguments from the wind industry or other experts, and is a most blatant and misleading tactic (doesn't this violate any Code of Ethics in the documentary industry?). Then again, by including boring energy and environmental advocates that would take the steam out of the testimonials of the impassioned locals, this "documentary" would probably not have had the run that it has had up to this point.
Wind companies are bad and can't be trusted? As a documentary filmmaker, Ms. Israel ought to rethink what an honest and informative documentary is, and also better report on people's behavior when they can't agree and/or fear change.
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