Originally, this movie was supposed to be Matt Damon's directorial debut. But due to short time to prepare for the movie and also some creative conflicts, Damon dropped out as the director (but remained as an actor) and Gus Van Sant came aboard to direct.
According to NYTimes report, when Promised Land (2012) opened at the Southside Mall in Oneonta, NY in January 2013, some moviegoers wore buttons protesting hydraulic fracturing (i.e. fracking), and windows in town displayed signs warning of its possible environmental hazards. Meanwhile, pro-fracking citizens responded with homemade signs stating, 'Let's boost our local economy' and 'Support safe drilling and pipelines, jobs.'
Rob, a store clerk who appears throughout the movie, is played by Titus Welliver, immediately recognizable to Lost (2004) fans as the "Man in Black." Subtle homage is played to this in Sue's final visit to the store. The vantage point is from within the store. The glass door, through which the viewer sees Sue approaching, is slightly off center and the camera pulled back just enough to show some local ads and announcements. Most of them are illegible, but one stands out with big bold letters across the top that read "L O S T" (followed by some smaller print and pictures of a cat).
Cinematographer Linus Sandgren shot the film with Hawk V-Lite 1.3x squeeze anamorphic lenses on 4-perf Super 35 for a final aspect ratio of 1.85:1. According to him this is the first time this combination has been used on a feature film (he and others had used it before on commercials), and the negative area used was 70% larger than that of regular 1.85:1 and 30% larger than 3-perf Super 35.
The high school gym shown at various points in the movie is actually the "Tiger Gym" located in downtown Apollo, PA. The Tiger Gym was formerly Apollo's high school, until the new one was built in Spring Church. Since then it has become a popular gym in the area.
Draws significant parallels to the biblical story of Moses in Exodus. The title within itself if a clearly indication; further, a man (Damon) seeks to introduce new ideas and is a "lawmaker" who introduces fracking to a small community, trying to persuade its members to succumb.