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Filmmaker to be present at showing of fracking documentary

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – While hydraulic fracturing isn’t directly responsible for the dramatic upsurge in earthquakes in Oklahoma and southern Kansas, some of which have been felt here in Harvey County, those quakes have put fracking high in the news cycle lately.

A 2014 documentary on citizen opposition to fracking, Groundswell Rising, is the next event in the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) Film Series, and the filmmaker will be present for the screening.

It’s Feb. 21 at 3 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Bethel College’s Luyken Fine Arts Center. The film is free and open to the public. There will be a freewill offering taken to support the film series and the work of KIPCOR.

Fracking involves shooting highly pressurized liquid into underground rock and shale formations to release trapped oil and gas. This large quantity of liquid left over from the fracking process is then injected into underground wells, an action that multiple studies say has been triggering long-dormant fault lines.

Renard Cohen’s 71-minute film Groundswell Rising further illustrates the myriad environmental and health concerns associated with growing use of fracking over the past 10 years and concentrates particularly on citizen opposition.

The film introduces viewers to various “fractivists,” from a group of concerned Colorado mothers who formed “Erie Rising” to a woman who’s posted more than 400 YouTube videos documenting the effects of fracking to the organization “Fleased,” New York landowners who leased mineral rights before becoming aware of the harmful effects of shale gas exploitation.

Featuring commentary from an array of science and environmental experts and frequently anguished accounts by ordinary citizens whose drinking water and general health has been negatively affected by expansion of fracking into their communities, Groundswell Rising delivers its arguments with a mixture of facts and emotion.

The screening of Groundswell Rising at Bethel will be a bigger event than past films in the series, starting with the presence of the filmmaker, Renard Cohen, as part of a panel that will lead the talk-back session after the film.

Joining Cohen on the panel is Joe Spease, chair of the Kansas Sierra Club’s Fracking Committee, with others yet to be determined.

The Kansas Sierra Club and the Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas are co-sponsoring a reception, including showing clips of the film, Feb. 20 at 3 p.m. at Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church in Wichita.

There will be another reception in the KIPCOR office, 2515 College Avenue in North Newton, after the showing of Groundswell Rising at Bethel.

Cohen co-founded the Emmy Award-winning Resolution Pictures, whose clients include PBS, the Food Network and the Fine Living Network. He is also a composer and singer-songwriter who wrote and recorded the theme song for Groundswell Rising. He will be performing at both receptions.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2015'16 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2015'16. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.