‘Frackman’ CSG documentary set to raise eyebrows

A new documentary about the coal seam gas industry in Queensland will not get airplay on television, according to the film’s producer.

Frackman is the story of Dane Pratzky, a Surat Basin landholder who has actively campaigned against the CSG industry for several years.

Pratzky, who brought national media attention to the issue of gas leaks from the bed of the Condamine River in 2012, is portrayed in the film as an unlikely environmental activist; a “knockabout pig shooter” who sought to prevent a company from gaining access to his land for gas drilling.

Producer Simon Nasht described Frackman as a “polemical film”.

“This is not a documentary that the public broadcasters, the ABC or SBS, would touch with a barge pole,” Nasht said.

“In the end, it's our job to stick it up people's noses.”

In a twist of irony noted by The West Australian, the film received funding from the West Australian government, raising eyebrows in the offices of Premier Barnett and Mines and Petroleum minister Bill Marmion, who actively support the development of the WA shale gas industry.

Directed by Margaret River-based filmmaker Richard Todd, the film received a grant from WA arts funding body ScreenWest of $156,000, about 15 per cent of the total cost of the film.

WA Acting Premier Kim Haynes told The West Australian that the state government supported the independence of the ScreenWest funding selection process, which did not involve state ministers.

"I am advised the ScreenWest board considered this project at length and took into account artistic and production merits,” Haynes said.

Frackman is scheduled to premiere on March 1 in regional NSW.

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