To the Ends of the Earth: An Interview with Filmmaker/Director David Lavallee

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Movie Screening on Monday March 20th:

Event here: To The Ends of the Earth Screening

The Concordia Biology Student Association and Society for Conservation Biology Montreal Chapter recently conducted an interview with Canadian filmmaker David Lavallée, director of the film TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH. Cinema Politica Concordia is hosting the Montreal premiere of Lavallée’s movie on Monday, March 20, in the Hall building downtown. The filmmaker himself will be in attendance, so bring questions of your own!

See more about the producer, David Lavallée here 

Q: In this time of “paradigm shift”, what are you hoping to achieve through this documentary?

A: We are looking for people to realize that the age of fossil fuels is coming to an end. And that as we extract from poorer and poorer quality resources.

Q: “To the ends of the Earth” may have various meanings. What does it mean to you?

A: We are going to the ends of the earth, geologically and geographically – to source our resources. We start digging in remote places like the arctic, where it has never been done before.

Q: “They’re going to do what nature did not do: heat this.” What did you want the public to take home from this statement?

A: In the case of oil shale and tar sands, we are finding that you have to put more embedded energy in to these things than we get back from them. It’s impossible to run an industrialized society off these resources, i.e Low energy returns on investments (EROI)

Q: What moments from the film stood out most to you during the production?

A: We got charged by a polar bear in Pond Inlet, and we got investigated by the CSIS Anti-terrorism unit for flying a drone over oil facilities!

Q: Were there any stories or sequences that had to be cut from the final piece but still resonated with you?

A: A farmer and his son getting 3 hour nose bleeds because of a fracking well on his property. Also, the trip to Cuba to explore experiences of people during the “special period”- where Russia cut off completely their oil and gas in the 1990’s (i.e artificial peak oil).

Q: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in the production of the film (politics, corruption, etc.)

A: FUNDING! Never enough!

Q: What challenges and opportunities do you see existing in the engagement of an increasingly globalized community?

A: Trump will unite us all…against him! It’s a good thing. How can you be asleep when he’s in charge? OMG!

Q: Have we already passed the point of no return? What targets should we aim for to prevent/reverse our course?

A: We should aim for EROI penalties on unconventional fuels to be assessed, and we should tax the weak EROI fuels into oblivion to create equal playing field for renewables.

Q: How should we bridge the generational gap that exists in the understanding of these concepts?

A: Millenials need to become involved deeply in politics and energy policy – The lowest voter turnout rates were among millenials, but they are the most affected by important decisions from Trump/Trudeau. It’s paradoxical.

Q: Despite the negative connotation of the issue, this movie seems to bring forward the optimistic side of things. Why so?

 A: Reconstructing our economic world will lead us to a just and equitable future.

Q: A new, abundant, accessible and cheap source of energy would simply cause an “Acceleration of bad habits”. What strikes you the most from this sentence? What should the audience retain from such statement?

A: Technology is not the answer – it’s the spirit in which it is used. I’ve seen wind energy projects that created local backlash and protest because of pollution (i.e. noise) and proximity issues. The degrowth manifesto states that we’ve overshot and have to go backwards now in order to live within our planet’s carrying capacity.

Q: Is it possible to balance economic growth with sustainability?

A: No. But it’s entirely possible to meet everyone’s needs. Growth for growth’s sake is pointless. Those who believe in infinite growth on a finite planet are either mad – or are economists.

Come to the Cinema Politica Concordia screening of David’s Lavallée’s award winning documentary To the ends of the Earth this coming Monday, March 20th 2017 in the D.B Clarke Theatre, in the Hall Building.

About the Author:


Charles-Alexandre Plaisir is a senior biology undergraduate student at Concordia University. I am also completing a minor in Spanish studies. My passion for conservation was principally stimulated by an eye-opening experience in the Galapagos Islands in the months of May 2015 and 2016. Always looking to pair my social skills with my biology background, I see a bright future for Montreal and it’s conservation efforts.


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