In response to numerous requests that her documentary be made available on a free platform, Vivian Krause and her filmmaker Shane Fennessey have done just that.
On Oct. 16, they released Over a Barrel on YouTube and Facebook for free viewing, but only until Oct. 31. The 32-minute documentary distills what Krause has been saying for years – that foreign-funded groups have been trying to landlock Canadian oil.
It’s a message that she presented at the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show in Weyburn in June. Krause basically followed the money.
She explains how hundreds of millions of dollars were provided by American foundations to groups in Canada to oppose the export of Canadian oil and gas by tankers.
Over a Barrel was released Oct. 8 on Vimeo, after showings in Calgary and Edmonton in the days before. On Vimeo there was a $4.99 cost to it, despite the $174,945 that was raised on GoFundMe towards a $160,000 goal to support the project.
This ‘friction,’ as some commenters said on social media, would be an impediment to its further viewing by those who do not already subscribe to its message.
Ken Ellis commented on the Vimeo page, “After watching this last night, and also looking at the recent national debate, the only question I have is why is this documentary not being offered to all Canadians 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.
“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. Please, open this up for no charge immediately, the country's political future hangs in the balance.”
Another person going by the handle jagerx, commented, “We won't achieve much by throwing in $5 from the echo chamber. This project was supported by GoFundMe and I'm a bit confused as to why the only way to view it is a $5 stream.
“Those that need to see it the most will not bother.”
Fennessey posted on the YouTube page for the video, “As a filmmaker, releasing your work to the world is exciting and terrifying all at once. No film is ever perfect, it is only finished enough to show the world. Our team undertook a demanding, self-imposed deadline because this story is important.
“The delivery schedule prohibited us from going the traditional route of selling our film to a network or distributor. As a filmmaker, producing and distributing films is a business and a livelihood. This is the reason we chose to impose a nominal fee of $4.99 for the sale of the documentary online.
“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. 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.
“In what we hope is an agreeable compromise, Vivian and I have agreed to make the film freely available on Facebook and YouTube until October 31, 2019. If you’ve found this film valuable, worthwhile, or are simply supportive of the message, we'd ask that you kindly share your appreciation by contributing on the page at the top of this post.”
That page is a link to an additional GoFundMe page, beyond the initial one that raised $174,945 already. It was set up on Oct. 16, and within 17 hours had 110 donors who contributed $5,803 towards a stated $35,000 goal.