Earlier this month, documentary filmmaker Philem McAleer asked questions to filmmakers Matt Damon and John Krasinski about their new anti-fracking film "Promised Land," regarding the funding the film got from Abu Dhabi. (Fracking is the extraction of natural gas from shale rock layers within the Earth, and can make the United States energy independent.) McAleer's question, and Damon's meek answer, were edited out of the podcast that was made available on iTunes.
As reported in The Hollywood Reporter, McAleer was part of an audience of approximately 400 who attended an event promoting the film at an Apple store in SOHO, in Manhattan. After the presentation, the event moderator, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine, turned to the audience for questions. McAleer, who is the producer of Not Evil Just Wrong, a documentary that debunks Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" and the hysteria surrounding global warming, was the first person called on. McAleer, after clearly stating that he was creating a documentary about fracking called "Frack Nation,"asked Damon and Krasinski about their funding:
“It has emerged recently,” McAleer said at the event with Damon and Krasinski, “that the script -- or that the funding for Promised Land -- came from a Middle Eastern oil nation.” When Damon and Krasinski smile, McAleer says: “which you seem to find funny.” “We hear a lot of criticism about sources of right-wing funding and right-wing projects,” McAleer continues, "my question is, how does it feel to be a fully paid advocate for an oil-rich Middle Eastern government?”
Damon, rightfully so, asked if the question was part of the documentary. When McAleer said no, Damon responded that he didn't know where his funding came from:
"We got funded by Focus Features and Participant,” Damon continued. “Participant Media has a blind slate deal with these people, Imagenation, who pay for like 10 percent of all of their films. So, the first time we were aware that Imagenation was involved with our movie was when we saw the rough cut and saw their logo. And that’s, that."