The makers of the documentary Over a Barrel, about foreign funding of Canadian oil and gas opposition, have temporarily removed the cost to view after being “inundated by pleas for the film to be made freely available.”
The 32-minute film distills the findings of well-known researcher Vivian Krause, who has tracked $600 million flowing from U.S. groups like the Tides Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to support programs like the “Tar Sands Campaign” to landlock Canadian oil.
Krause and filmmaker Shane Fennessey released Over a Barrel on Vimeo for $4.99 on October 5 following showings in Calgary and Edmonton.
Vimeo commenters questioned why the documentary was not made available for free.
“If there is a true, sincere desire to see things change in this country, even the $5 charge to watch this will not allow for any level of viral spread and as a result we stand the very real chance of seeing Canada spiral further down the drain of economic collapse,” wrote Ken Ellis.
“Please do the right thing and open this up to all Canadians for no charge. Otherwise sadly, the message will only be heard by those of us who are already aware of what's taken place here.”
Over a Barrel is now available for free on YouTube and Facebook until October 31, which Krause and Fennessey “hope is an agreeable compromise,” Fennessey says on the YouTube page.
“Many viewers gladly paid the price of a latte to view the film. At the same time, both Vivian and I have been inundated by pleas for the film to be made freely available. It is an unfortunate reality of filmmaking today that, with the advent of VOD (video on demand) platforms (Netflix, Amazon, Crave, etc.) and YouTube, the default expectation is free content. Artists will eternally struggle with the dilemma of getting paid vs. getting exposure,” he writes.
“Do we think the film will be viewed more by making it free? Perhaps. Or, perhaps by removing the cost, the film will be seen as less valuable. Time will tell.”
A GoFundMe for Over a Barrel raised $174,945 towards a $160,000 goal.
— With files from Pipeline News