According to director Josh Tickell, since Sundance, the film has gone through major editing changes and additions. The name was changed from Fields of Fuel to Fuel. This edited film and is a re-cut of the same film with 45 minutes of new material in its total 100 minute running time.
The discovery that biofuels were competing with food and tropical rainforests caused a major turn-around, which is well documented in the final 45 minutes of footage, where the director Josh Tickell almost brings you to tears in the film's emotional lowpoint, where he asks if all his work has actually been doing more harm than good. But he discovers that all is not lost. The set-back actually makes the film more interesting, particularly since you have a feeling that it has to come sometime, just like even a romance has a parting of ways before the couple finally find each other,
The LA Times had a short review of "Fuel" yesterday, on its opening day in our area (after the sneak preview we saw.)
'Fuel' to the fire of oil addiction
"Fuel" is a vital, superbly assembled documentary that presents an insightful overview of America's troubled relationship with oil and how alternative and sustainable energies can reduce our country's -- and the world's -- addictive dependence on fossil fuels.The film's structure is built around director-narrator Josh Tickell's personal journey of enlightenment, which started in childhood after moving with his family from idyllic Australia to murkier Louisiana, where he came to realize the oil-rich environment was being ravaged by the omnipotent petrochemical industry. Later, as a young adult, he spent 11 years crossing the country in his vegetable oil-powered "Veggie Van," promoting biofuels and compiling footage for what would become this impressively comprehensive film.The events of Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina factor in both visually and thematically, providing provocative anchors for the movie's indictment of what Tickell believes is the Big Oil-cozy, ecologically indifferent Bush administration. Johnny O'Hara's WGA Award-nominated script doesn't dwell on muckraking, however; it's more focused on broadly inspiring viewers than preaching to the converted.Interviews with a wide range of environmentalists, policy makers and educators, along with such "green" celebrities as Woody Harrelson, Sheryl Crow and Larry Hagman offer serious fuel for thought -- as well as for action. Smartly animated interstitials, memorable archival material and a lively soundtrack round out the fast-paced proceedings.
Or maybe you'd like this little blurb from the radio station Kink:
The Fuel FilmThursday, October 30, 2008 - Most Americans know we’ve got a problem: an addiction to oil that taxes the environment, entangles us in costly foreign policies, and threatens the nation’s long-term stability. But few are informed or empowered enough to do much about it. Enter Josh Tickell, an expert young activist who, driven by his own emotionally charged motives, shuttles us on a revelatory, whirlwind journey to unravel this addiction—from its historical origins to political constructs that support it, to alternatives available now and the steps we can take to change things. Tickell tracks the rising domination of the petrochemical industry—from Rockefeller’s strategy to halt ethanol use in Ford’s first cars to the mysterious death of Rudolph Diesel at the height of his biodiesel engine’s popularization, to our government’s choice to declare war after 9/11, rather than wean the country from fossil fuel. Never minimizing the complexities of ending oil dependence, Tickell uncovers a hopeful reality pointing toward a decentralized, sustainable energy infrastructure—like big rigs tanking up on biofuel at Carl’s Corner Texas truck stop, a new Brooklyn biodiesel plant serving three states, a miraculous Arizona algae-based fuel farm, and the Swedish public voting to be petroleum free by 2020. Sweeping and exhilarating, Tickell’s passionate film goes beyond great storytelling; it rings out like a bell that stirs consciousness and makes individual action suddenly seem consequential.
Josh Tickell, a leading expert on alternative fuels, grew up in Louisiana, where members of his family suffered from diseases linked to pollution from oil refineries. After discovering biodiesel, he earned an MFA in film from Florida State University's School of Motion Picture, Television, and Recording Arts to chronicle and vitalize the green-energy movement. He has been working on Fields of Fuel for 10 years. Tickell also authored a controversial companion book, Biodiesel America—How to Achieve Energy Security, Free America from Middle-East Oil Dependence, and Make Money Growing Fuel.