La Moustache, the new animation company operating out of Montreal have created these compelling animation segments for the acclaimed new documentary H2Oil. The documentary, produced by Loaded pictures exposes the ‘enterprise of epic proportions’, which is the Alberta Oil sands industry.
So what’s up with extracting oil (or bitumen rather) from Alberta’s oil sands and why do we need to know about this? Well extracting bitumen from oil sands (Often referred to as tar sands) is a hugely energy intensive process, requiring industrial scale heating (using natural gas) and 4 barrels of fresh water to produce one barrel of oil. So right there you have the depletion of the planet’s most valuable and scarce resource, clean water, along with the burning of natural gas to create another carbon emitting fuel…and so it goes on. Add to this the explosion of ‘rare’ cancers in areas where post industrial contaminated water is let back into the environment, and you have a bona fide, 100% proof environmental catastrophe on your hands. And tar sand mining is only going to increase as the world’s conventional oil wells dry up…
Despite the animation itself being rendered by the friendly hand of James Brathwaite (of I met the Walrus fame), it makes for uncomfortable viewing and in as much it does its job perfectly. Sequences are inventive and dynamic whilst tonally staying in keeping with—and never overshadowing—the subject matter.
For me, viewing this work and the trailer for the film came as a real wake-up call. I try and keep up with environmental news as best I can, yet I still thought of tar-sand mining as the institutionalized crazy uncle who’d never actually get released. After watching these clips it’s obvious that the lunatic has well and truly taken over the asylum.
Also, please remember that budgets for documentaries and specifically documentary animation are ridiculously low, especially compared to commercials and studio features. So La Moustache have almost certainly invested much of themselves into making animation of this level for a documentary film that doesn’t yet have a wide scale theatrical release.
For a fairly neutral overview of tar-sand mining check this link.
H2Oil produced by: Loaded Pictures
Animation Production: La Moustache
Narration: Catherine Kidd
Animation Directors: Dale Hayward & Sylvie Trouvé
Illustration: James Braithwaite
Animation: Dale Hayward & Sylvie Trouvé