Josh Fox

Josh Fox

Documentary Filmmaker
Academy Award-nominee for GASLAND

Readings & Lecture Topics

  • Gasland: Fracking & The Environment
  • Experimental Theater


“As both a Filmmaker and an Artistic Director of theater, Josh Fox’s work is known for its mix of gripping narrative, heightened imagery and its commitment to socially conscious themes and subjects.” —Insiders

FILM BIO

“Gasland just might be the best film of the year.” —The Huffington Post

“[I]f a film can ever enact social change, which is rare, the potency of Gasland suggests that this may be that film.” —Variety

A finalist for a Academy Award for Best Documentary, Gasland is a gripping, timely, and necessary film about the largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history. Conceived of, directed, narrated, and filmed by Josh Fox, Gasland premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and won six major awards: a Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize, a Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Artistic Vision Award, a Thin Line Film Festival Audience Award, a Yale Environmental Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, and a Sarasota Film Festival Special Jury Prize. The film premiered on HBO in June 2010 and received Emmy nominations for cinematography, writing, exceptional merit for nonfiction filmmaking, and won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Direction for Nonfiction Programming. Gasland is dedicated to the non-profit organization Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (DCS).

The long-awaited sequel, Gasland 2, debuted at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. Gasland 2 picked up where Gasland left off, with Fox’s continued investigation into fracking, its side effects, and the industry’s responses to the anti-fracking movement.

Fox is the recipient, along with Michael Pollan and Alice Walker, of the 2010 LennonOno Grant for Peace, created by Yoko Ono to honor her late husband John Lennon’s dedication to peace and commitment to the preservation of human rights. Josh Fox was one of four recipients selected based on their courage and commitment to peace, truth, and human rights. In 2012 Fox released The Sky Is Pink, an emergency short film about hydraulic fracturing.

THE MAKING OF GASLAND

In 2008, Fox received a letter from a natural gas company interested in leasing his family’s land that sits atop the Marcellus Shale in Milanville, PA for drilling. Disturbed by the letter, he embarked on an odyssey to glean as much information as possible about natural gas drilling in the US—with movie camera in hand. The result is a powerful film that uncovers a trail of secrets, lies, and contamination. Narrating a first-person account, Gasland shows us truly shocking information about “fracking.” Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is when a cornucopia of toxic chemicals is blended with water and forced into the shale to create a small earthquake underground. As a result of this particularly toxic form of drilling, Fox shows water that can be lit on fire right out of the sink, residents of disparate drilling locations that have the same chronic illness symptoms, pools of toxic waste that kill cattle and vegetation, and how some gas well blowouts are consistently covered up by state and federal regulatory agencies. Variety magazine writes, “In vivid animation and graphics, Fox illustrates how the continent-wide explosion of fracking projects threatens watersheds and river basins, the source of drinking water.

Throughout the filming, Fox reached out to scientists, politicians, gas industry executives, and ultimately found himself in the halls of Congress at a subcommittee discussing the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, “a bill to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal a certain exemption for hydraulic fracturing.” Gasland is going a long way in spreading public awareness about gas drilling and the risks it poses on human and environmental health. Nationwide response to the film has been overwhelmingly positive. The Oil and Gas Industry’s response: not so enthusiastic.

Fox’s first narrative feature film, Memorial Day, was released in 2008, produced by Artists Public Domain, Journeyman Pictures, and C-Hundred Film Corp. Memorial Day is a jarring roller coaster ride and genre-bending examination of American culture and the atrocities of Abu Ghraib, where war is a party and partying is a war. The film premiered at CineVegas Film Festival in 2008 and was hailed as “unforgettable” by Variety, “uniquely fascinating” by Indiewire, and garnered the reputation as “the most controversial film at the festival” by Spoutblog.

Josh Fox grew up in Milanville, PA, and New York City and earned his BA from Columbia University. He currently resides in New York City.

Gasland website

THEATER BIO

“Josh Fox is one of the most adventurous impresarios of the New York avant-garde.” -The New York Times

Josh Fox’s theater group, International Wow Company, combines physical and narrative performance forms that addresses current national and global social and political crises—and creates work with potent social and political content. As the Founder and Artistic Director of International WOW Company, Fox has established himself as a significant force in New York theatre. The film and theater company works closely with actors and non-actors from diverse cultural backgrounds, including members of the US Military; activist communities in sustainable energy and design; actors, dancers, designers and filmmakers from around the world.

Founded in 1996, International WOW has premiered new work in eight countries with a rotating network of over 100 actors, dancers, musicians, technical, and visual artists spanning 30 countries on five continents. With International WOW Company, Fox has received a Drama Desk Nomination, an Otto Award, five grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and five prestigious MAP Fund Grants, as well as an Asian Cultural Council Fellowship among many other awards and honors.

Time Out New York has called Fox “one of downtown’s most audacious auteurs,” citing his “brilliantly resourceful mastery of stagecraft.” On stage with International WOW Company, Josh has conceived, written, directed, and/or produced over 30 productions in Thailand, Indonesia, The Philippines, Japan, Germany, France, and New York City. His recent work for the stage includes Surrender, an interactive war epic which was nominated for a 2009 Drama Desk Award and AUTO DA FE. The performance premiered in New York and toured to Japan in 2011.

Other works by the company include You Belong To Me; Death of Nations; Heimwehen; The Comfort & Safety of Your Own Home, which was featured in NY Theatre Wire’s Top Ten of 2004; Limitless Joy; The Expense of Spirit; Orphan On God’s Highway; HyperReal America, which was featured in Time Out NY’s Top Ten Shows of 2001; and American Interference, voted Best in the Fringe Festival by the Village Voice.

International WOW Company Website


Josh Fox is the director and narrator of Gasland, which won six major awards at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, as well as its sequel, Gasland 2. Fox’s first narrative feature film, Memorial Day, was released in 2008. As the Founder and Artistic Director of International WOW Company, Fox has established himself as a significant force in New York theatre. His recent work for the stage includes Surrender, an interactive war epic which was nominated for a 2009 Drama Desk Award and AUTO DA FE. The performance premiered in New York and toured to Japan in 2011.


GASLAND 2 (2013)
In the 2010 Oscar-nominated exposé Gasland, director Josh Fox profiled hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the process of injecting a pressurized mixture of water, sand and chemicals down a drilled well, causing layers of rock deep in the earth to crack and release natural gas. The film inspired a national dialogue over the multi-layered environmental dangers at risk. With Gasland 2, Fox examines the long-run impact of the controversial process, including poisonous water, earthquakes, and neurological damage, placing his focus on the people whose lives have been irreparably changed.

Traveling from the Gulf of Mexico to the heart of Texas and back up to the Delaware River basin, he thoroughly investigates the effects of this once-touted energy source, as well as the industry’s equally disturbing reaction to negative claims via smear campaigns and lawsuits. Gasland 2 shows how the anti-fracking movement has done its best to amplify its message while the million-dollar conglomerates employ PSY-OPS tactics to shut it down. Unnerving interviews and shocking data underscore this scathing indictment of unregulated industry in Fox’s powerful, not-to-be-missed follow-up.

GASLAND (2010)
The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing, has unlocked a “Saudia Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies, and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called Gasland. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown.

“Who could have anticipated that one of the most effective and expressive environmental films of recent years would be the work of a Gotham theater director who’s never before made a doc? Nobody, perhaps least writer-director Josh Fox, whose Gasland may become to the dangers of natural gas drilling what Silent Spring was to DDT. The rare example of cinema art that is also an organizing tool, the pic has a level of research, gutsiness, and energy that should generate sensational response everywhere it plays.” —Variety

MEMORIAL DAY (2008)
Memorial Day is a challenging film to summarize. It might seem like it’s about spring break, but it’s also an art film about war. As described by Fox himself, the film “is about a ‘spring break’ girls gone wild culture which is the seedy underbelly of our American Puritanism, the inverse side of the coin. It’s also about how we forcefully exported that culture and then pretended to not know what we were doing.” Executive produced by Michael Stipe, the film is Fox’s first cinematic work after over two dozen directorial efforts on the stage. Memorial Day is actually loosely based on his traveling, site-specific theatre event ‘Death of Nations 1: The Comfort and Safety Of Your Own Home.’ ” —indieWIRE


RECONSTRUCTION (2010)
“Like Surrender, the company’s first interactive theatrical drama, which dealt with the Iraq War and veterans’ issues, Reconstruction will be an audience-immersive and issue-oriented drama focusing on both the current foreclosure crisis and the burgeoning “Green Building” movement that addresses our worldwide energy/environment problem. As the audiences of Surrender were taught combat techniques and deployed into a war simulation, in Reconstruction the audience will be trained in carpentry, construction, green technology and sustainable building techniques, and work alongside the cast of green building professionals and actors as they construct an actual building during the performance. Built in a modular fashion over the course of the performance run, the completed building will ultimately be handed over to the community that built it.” —broadwayworld.com

AUTO DA FE (2009)
Auto Da Fe is Masataka Matsuda’s breathtakingly poetic new work. A soldier named Odysseus A returns from war to find the emotional and physical landscape of his home utterly altered and unrecognizable. The play originally produced in Kyoto and Tokyo to much popular and critical acclaim is a dreamscape of collective amnesia, life during wartime, the self-conscious erasure of history and national identity, and a search for meaning and beauty. Written by Masatake Matsuda, directed by Josh Fox with Paul Bargetto.

SURRENDER (2009)
A simulated war deployment in three acts. Here’s what happens : When you arrive at the theater we issue you a standard military uniform: ACT 1: You train in basic combat techniques with Jason Christopher Hartley: a crash course in rifle handling, room clearing and engaging the enemy. ACT 2: You are deployed: you enter a multi-room installation to put your military training to the test. ACT 3: You fly home to experience a soldier’s reintegration into society. Conceived and directed by Josh Fox with decorated Iraq War veteran and critically acclaimed author of Just Another Soldier Jason Christopher Hartley and created by The International WOW Ensemble.