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If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011)

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A rare behind-the-curtain look at the Earth Liberation Front, the radical environmental group that the FBI calls America's 'number one domestic terrorist threat.'

Directors:

, (co-director)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel McGowan ...
Lisa McGowan ...
Herself - Daniel's Sister
Tim Lewis ...
Himself - Activist & Filmmaker
Kirk Engdall ...
Himself - Assistant U.S. Attorney
Jim Flynn ...
Himself - Former Editor, Earth First Journal
Jenny Synan ...
Herself - Daniel's Girlfriend
Susan Synan ...
Herself - Jenny's Mother
Bill Barton ...
Himself - Native Forest Council
Leslie James Pickering ...
Himself - Former ELF Spokesman
Greg Harvey ...
Himself - Detective, Eugene Police Department
Chuck Tilby ...
Himself - Captain, Eugene Police Department
Suzanne Savoie ...
Herself - Daniel's Ex-Girlfriend
Steve Swanson ...
Himself - President, Superior Lumber
Chuck Wert ...
Himself - Executive Vice President, Superior Lumber
Don Rice ...
Himself - Manager, Jefferson Poplar Farms
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Storyline

IF A TREE FALLS is a rare behind-the-curtain look at the Earth Liberation Front, the radical environmental group that the FBI calls America's 'number one domestic terrorist threat.' With unprecedented access and a nuanced point of view, the documentary tells the story of Daniel McGowan, an ELF member who faced life in prison for two multi-million dollar arsons against Oregon timber companies. The film employs McGowan's story to examine larger questions about environmentalism, activism, and terrorism. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

January 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Queda de uma Árvore: A História da Frente de Libertação da Terra  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,634, 26 June 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$61,794
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Daniel McGowan - Earth Liberation Front Activist: When you're screaming at the top of your lungs and no one hears you, what are you supposed to do?
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Connections

References Big Rattle in Seattle (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Cherry Tree
Written by Matt Berninger (as Matthew Berninger) and Bryce Dessner
Performed by The National
Courtesy of Brassland
Published by Val Jester Music (ASCAP) and Hawk Ridge Songs (ASCAP)
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User Reviews

 
Could be better being "the" rather than "a"
25 January 2012 | by See all my reviews

I've seen this trend in documentary films, particularly in American ones: the story of a social movement or something wrong going on is told from the point of view of an affected individual, more often than not delivering not only information but a sentimental message, trying to make you emphatize with that particular individual. For me, that's a mistake.

When a cause is wrapped up around a single person and becomes a personal issue rather than an universal fight, the whole thing sinks down under just "a" story. Thus my summary comment: "the" story would have been better, without the whole sentimental filling.

Now, I ordered the DVD expecting to get more information about the ELF and related issues. I certainly did, although I had to cope with a lot of those sentimental fillers. Don't get my wrong, I do think that seeing what happens to someone involved with the ELF is educational, although there's no need to go that deep into Daniel's own life. You get involved knowing the repercussions, I'm sure people supporting the ELF emphatize with Daniel McGowan, and detractors will say "that's what he deserves". Then, again, why going so much into Daniel's private life details, not directly involving the ELF or environmental issues but rather trying to show his defects? For those wanting to get involved in the environmental movement, that may only scare them away. OK, some (if not all) of the stuff will simply anger these people, which in return will create, perhaps, an action. From my European point of view (and environmental activist, as well), I don't see the sentimental lines fitting anywhere. Alright, I'll stop repeating myself now. As I was saying, you will find useful information here (I discovered, among other things, the rare film "PiackAxe"). I didn't watch the extras yet, but I hope I will find even more nice information here -without fillers-.

I believe the film also try to portrait ELF people like "humans too" by showing their mistakes and weakness'. Hm, about that, let's just say that activists should take it as a what-not-to-do list rather than a pointing finger. I still don't see any so-called mistakes there, even though I do see how messed up is to betray your comrades for money or other selfish reasons (being able to walk free hand by hand with your child is more valuable than fighting against the total destruction of our natural world, right? If your child doesn't have air to breathe in the future but the one sold by the same corporations that destroyed the planet, you will be long gone by then, so who cares...).

Summarizing, worth watching, even with its flaws. If just for the informative value. If you can focus on what really is important, you will find the destruction mankind bring for greed. And, hopefully, will do something about it.


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