Mark Mathis admits everything he used to know about oil came from the mainstream media.
“Ten years ago I was like most Americans. I didn’t know anything about energy, didn’t think about it, took it for granted. It never crossed my mind,” Mathis says.
Mathis is the director of “SpOILed,” a new documentary debunking popular myths about the oil industry. The movie explores why politicians prevent oil drilling in various areas across the U.S., shares how alternate energy sources remain far behind the more practical oil reserves and deplores how the media refuses to honestly discuss energy issues.
It’s a shot across the bow of most film documentaries which either target oil companies (“The Big Fix”) or sing the praises of green technology (“Revenge of the Electric Car”).
Mathis’ first taste of the film business came with “Expelled,” the Ben Stein documentary about Intelligent Design. He went from helping out the film’s crew on a fairly casual basis to being more hands-on than he expected. And when Mathis shared some of what he had learned about oil to “Expelled’s” writer during that film’s production, the idea for “SpOILed” came into focus.
If “SpOILed” debunks just one media meme, Mathis hopes it’s the notion that we can move away from oil in the near future.
If only that were the case.
Mathis puts plenty of the blame on the mainstream media for our collective ignorance on the subject. It’s an industry he once called his own. As a television news reporter he would breeze past a complicated energy issue without fully informing the public about the finer points.
Mathis credits those with an anti-fossil fuel agenda for leading Americans astray on the subject of oil.
Mathis has been holding screenings of the film for the past few weeks as part of the movie’s slow roll out, and one of the first questions that comes up during both Q&As and press interviews is, “who’s funding the film?”
For the record, no major oil company poured money into the film. Nor have film festivals shown any interest in the project, he says.