If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
In December 2005, Daniel McGowan was arrested by Federal agents in a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front-- a group the FBI has called America's "number one domestic terrorism threat."
For years, the ELFoperating in separate anonymous cells without any central leadershiphad launched spectacular arsons against dozens of businesses they accused of destroying the environment: timber companies, SUV dealerships, wild horse slaughterhouses, and a $12 million ski lodge at Vail, Colorado.
With the arrest of Daniel and thirteen others, the government had cracked what was probably the largest ELF cell in America and brought down the group responsible for the very first ELF arsons in this country.
IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of this ELF cell, by focusing on the transformation
and radicalization of one of its members.
Part coming-of-age tale, part cops-and-robbers thrilller, the film interweaves a verite chronicle of Daniel on house arrest as he faces life in prison, with a dramatic recounting of the events that led to his involvement with the group. And along the way it asks hard questions about environmentalism, activism, and the way we define terrorism.
"One of the best documentaries of the year."Critic's Choice.
-Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"It's a wildly successful and engaging documentary." -Jon Reiss, NY Press
"The film sweeps us up like a thriller... a fantastic moral ambivalence." - Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"A true life outlaw tale, as stirring as it is tragic, the story of the Earth Liberation Front offers a DeLillo-flavored draught of high-proof righteous excitement." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
"This is a sterling example of journalistic documentary, clearer, fairer and more engrossing than any of the sensationalistic newspaper or magazine stories about the ELF." - Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com
"The film's sobriety and carefully balanced arguments make it an exemplary piece."
-Stephen Holden, New York Times
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