Friends of “Haynesville”,
Recently, someone wrote me and accused me of being a “shill for the natural gas companies” and a person with a financial interest in natural gas.
I want you all to know the deal about me, my film and its message:
I moved back to Shreveport, my home, town to work on a documentary project on people leaving their lives behind to take care of their parents (these were people who had left fantastic lives in NYC and California — pretty interesting stuff). While I had some money saved, I had no health insurance for the family. I asked my dad to help me with health insurance and a stipend. He made me an employee of Caddo Management while I was working on the film — I helped with everything from vetting real estate to graphic design. Caddo Management invests in lots of things. They are invested in oil, gas, real estate, stocks and bonds and even a publishing company. All in all, it’s a tiny company of five people. My father has always had investment ADHD and a love for creative pursuits. In fact, he left the company a few years back to get a degree at Columbia University (and spends a lot of time up there). Among other things, he his a playwright (“The Tailor of East Kings Highway” and “Yellow Wallpaper”).
When I stopped working on the other project and started the “Haynesville” project, I stopped working for my dad. This was as much to get more time to work on the film as to be independent of Caddo. You see, my dad is incredibly liberal-minded and believes in the development of alternative fuels as well as innovative renewable sources (he pointed us towards the Tulane Environmental conference). If you met my father, you’d also understand that he would never tell me to do one thing or the other. He has always insisted in me finding my own way. As you also must know, that almost everyone in this area is touched by oil and gas. Almost everyone I know inside and outside the city has been the beneficiary of job, a lease payment or a royalty. That said, if you looked into the bank accounts of the investors, most likely, there is oil and gas (and timber) money in the film. That said, there are no direct dollars from the gas companies. And, if there were, I’m not sure how happy they would be with the final product. In fact, the majority of the negative criticism of “Haynesville” has come directly from the gas companies who have viewed the film — mostly due to the depiction of gas drilling and the landman’s practices with Kassi. Also, as I’ve mentioned in numerous screenings, we were offered a large amount of money from a gas company if we took out Kassi’s story. As you know, we refused the offer.
I know there are people out (from the environmental and/or the gas industry side) there that will never come to a place where we can discuss this new energy source in a balanced way (in fact, when I asked, this person who sent me the message had never even seen the film). That said, I only ask that, before taking potshots at me, I would ask that you see the film. Beyond that, it’s really easy to get “revealing” information about: Just ask.