by John Tarpley
Director Josh Fox returns to Central Arkansas, where filming for his Academy Award-nominated documentary "Gasland" began, for a screening and panel discussion at Hendrix. By the time the lights go down and the opening credits roll, Fox could be an Oscar winner, as the awards will be held the night before. Oscar or no, the film has already garnered critical acclaim, winning the special jury prize for documentary at the Sundance Film Festival last year.
The film has also drawn harsh criticism and attacks from the natural gas industry it hopes to expose. The footage shot in Booneville ended up on the cutting room floor. However, the deleted scenes, which can be found on the DVD version of the film, will likely be shown Monday night.
A panel discussion will take place in Staples Hall at 7:30 the following night, featuring Fox and Mayor Calvin Tillman, who has been outspoken about natural gas exploration in his town of Dish, Texas. Conway Mayor Tab Townsell and representatives from Southwestern Energy have been invited as well, but have not committed to attend.