Jolynn Minnaar


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Director Jolynn Minnaar
Completed 2012 Runtime 93



A young South African woman swallows her optimism on fracking in her impoverished Karoo home district after a mysterious phone call from the US leads her to uncover the hidden truths of the shale gas industry.

Long Synopsis

A young South African journalist, Jolynn Minnaar, stumbles across fracking when companies announce plans to drill in the Karoo, a poor, rural semi-arid area where her parents still farm. Here, many worry about threats to the scarce water supplies but Jolynn is reassured by Shell that fracking has never been linked to contamination. She remains optimistic about what gas drilling could do to alleviate poverty and ease the energy crisis. When about to abandon her sideline investigation, she receives a phone call from Pennsylvania: a young man reveals that Shell has been drilling on a neighboring farm and has left their property contaminated. Jolynn grabs her camera and leaves for the United States, the home of the new fracking technology, in search of answers. Upon arriving, her lead is nowhere to be found: his home is abandoned and industry trucks are parked all over his property.

Desperate for answers, she continues tracing the gas industry through North America. She finds communities suffering with contaminated water and air, workers with chemical exposure and turncoat scientists presenting damning evidence contrary to the promised made by glitzy oil and gas commercials. Her devastating discovery is learning that her lead is lost along with countless impacted families who have become invisible statistics after being forced into gag orders - a tactic which allows the industry to keep its record clean. Bearing the weight of her findings, Jolynn returns home. With her government and many others about to authorize gas drilling, she is far from the happy-go-lucky girl from before. Desperate to set the record straight, she sits down and tells her story.

Outreach Work Supported

Solar-powered roadshow, website resources and printed educational booklet.

Watch the
trailer here