"Pipeline Fighters" Documentary Premiers in Blacksburg

Feb 14, 2017

A documentary called ‘Pipeline Fighters” will debut in Theaters in Blacksburg and Roanoke.  It began as an online series about the Mountain Valley Pipeline.  Now it’s become a feature length film that also examines the impact pipelines and fracked natural gas are having on communities beyond the state.  

Robbie Harris prepared this report.        

Movie Sound “ The Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are in a race to build through the Virginias….”

Blacksburg photographer and filmmaker Marino Colmano spent much of his career in Los Angeles working in the movie industry but found it frustrating he wasn’t making movies about issues he cared about.  So when he heard about the Mountain Valley Pipeline being proposed to run through Virginia, he grabbed his camera and got to work.

“The activist in me said this is preposterous. We can’t keep burning fossil fuel at the rate that we’re doing without completely destroying the atmosphere and further affecting climate change. So I felt, as a documentarian, this way my opportunity to make a statement about it.’ 

Colmano began recording meetings and protests and interviewing pipeline opponents.  But he could not get anyone from the companies that would build the pipeline to talk to him.

“  My work is objective as can possibly be when I’m only given the opportunity to show what I can show. It isn’t intentionally one sided but it is one ‘issued’ if you will. It’s about the way people are handling the plight that has been thrust upon them.”

What began as series of episodes focusing on people in the New River Valley grew into a broader look at fracking and pipeline building and at what’s happened in other states that already have them.

“ We’ve got a shot in the movie of an explosion that happened up in Pennsylvania, in the middle of the night and it blew away this guy’s house completely and he’s running down the street on fire. And this is the kind of thing that goes on but they continue to insist, ‘no but they’re very safe, we have monitoring systems.’ Well, it’s not helping.’

Colmano says he made this film to help turn the tide against the whole idea of fossil fuels and shipping them long distances. Now, with a new administration that supports of both that hope is fading, but he says, it’s not gone.  That’s why he calls the movie, “Pipeline Fighters.”

Movie Sound “The movement has already begun. You have pipeline fighters in Nebraska and Virginia in  Minnesota and Wisconsin, in New York and Pennsylvania, all across our country.  Individuals that are Republican, Democrats, Independents, Populist Conservatives, we’re all standing together.”

“Crowd sound:  So lets today remember that we are putting pressure on Governor McAullifee  ....

“Pipeline Fighters”   has been nominated for several awards.  It will play at the Lyric Theater in Blacksburg this Thursday night and at the Grandin Theater in Roanoke next month.

Watch the movie trailer and some of the original episodes at:pipelinedocumentary.com