The award-winning documentary BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal? made its Southern debut in an eight city Barnstorming Tour! Nearly 500 people gathered to watch the film in North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia.
The filmmakers of BURNED — Lisa Merton, Alan Dater, and Chris Hardee — teamed up with Dogwood Alliance and our partners at the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Cape Fear Sierra Club, Clean Air Carolina, the Georgia Climate Change Coalition, the Georgia Southern University Green Ambassadors, and the Climate Reality Project Campus Corps at NCSU to make the barnstorming tour a success.
BURNED tells the story of the increasing destruction of our forests for fuel and probes the policy loopholes, huge subsidies, and blatant greenwashing of the wood pellet and biomass industry.
BURNED has been selected by a number of film festivals, including the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, and the Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival. It even won the Audience Choice Award at the American Conservation Film Festival.
The film follows a dedicated group of forest activists, ecologists, climate scientists, and concerned citizens who are fighting to establish the enormous value of our forests, protect their communities, debunk this false solution to climate change, and change energy policy both in the US and abroad. The film features interviews and stories from Dogwood Alliance and our partners — with footage from investigations, the SOS Tour to Save Our Southern Forests, and rallying against forest destruction in Charlotte.
Chris Hardee, an associate producer on the film said:
“After every screening to date, we have heard a chorus of incredulous comments from people who had no idea that Southern forests are being burned to turn the lights on in Europe.”
The tour kicked off in Wilmington with an overflow crowd at the Jengo Playhouse, before heading to Durham for another packed room at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke.
Then the tour had a screening in Charlotte hosted by Clean Air Carolina, and we met up with local community members in Danville, VA for an intimate screening at the public library.
Enviva has entered into a purchase agreement for land in the Danville-Pittsylvania County region, so residents were keen to learn more about the destructive biomass and wood pellet industry.
Lisa Merton and Alan Dater then headed to Georgia for three packed screenings in Athens, Savannah, and Statesboro.
Vicki Weeks, Dogwood Alliance’s Georgia State Coordinator, said that the film inspired many attendees to sign the #Stand4Forests Pledge and sign up to volunteer on the campaign. Vicki will be coordinating meet and greet events to engage new volunteers in the coming months.
Then we had a Raleigh event with climate activists at North Carolina State University. The tour was so popular that we had an encore showing in Wilmington, NC.
Want to spread the message further? Contact the filmmakers to host a screening of BURNED.
Lisa Merton, a director of BURNED said:
“Showing a film followed by a Q&A is a great way to extend the conversation while they’re already connected and inspired to take action. This was the case with the tour. It has already spurred multiple other screenings and will continue to do so. The tour started a small but fierce swell and the ripples are widening!”
The excitement around BURNED shows the growing movement across the Southern US to stop the expansion of dirty biomass and protect our forests.
Special thanks to all who attended, all of the partners and sponsors, and especially the filmmakers for their powerful film.