Ethanol Hits Red Carpet

Documentary film premieres in DC
By Holly Jessen | November 15, 2011

Coming to the end of a three and a half month tour of 50 cities, Freedom, a documentary film focusing on clean energy solutions, premiered in Washington, D.C., Oct. 26. Also on hand at the film’s screening was the freedom bus, which runs on ethanol, has 19 solar panels and includes a high-tech mobile learning lab.

Participating in a post-screening debate and Q&A were Dennis V. McGinn, retired vice admiral and the president of the American Council on Renewable Energy and retired four-star general Wesley Clark, co-chairman of Growth Energy. They aren’t the only big names associated with Freedom. Presidential hopeful and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, singer/songwriter Jason Mraz and actress Michelle Rodriguez are some examples of the famous faces that show up in the documentary.

The film was directed by husband and wife team Josh and Rebecca Tickell and looks into green solutions such as advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol, plug-in hybrid electric cars and other sustainable technologies. “Freedom is the first documentary to show a clear path for how the United States can end its oil dependence, turn its foreign debt into a surplus of cash, make over $3 trillion a year and put 8 million Americans back to work,” Rebecca Tickell says.  “The answer is simple—replace what’s in the gas tank of every one of the 250 million cars on the road today with a high-tech fuel made in America.” It sounds simple—but, as Freedom shows, “the United States has been going about it the wrong way.”

Many well-known companies in the ethanol industry are listed as partners in the project, including Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc., Propel Fuels, Marquis Energy, Poet LLC, Patriot Renewable Fuels and many more.  “This is the first documentary that truly showcases the potential of home-grown, renewable ethanol for our economy, our environment and our national security,” says Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, also a sponsor. “Josh and Rebecca Tickell’s film clearly illustrates the dangers of our dependence on fossil fuels and showcases ethanol as the one solution that can set America on the path to freedom.”

The documentary points out that Big Oil and environmentalists, who would seem to be extremely divided on the issue of oil, often work together to thwart green fuels. Recent efforts to modify the renewable fuel standard (RFS) are a case in point, they say.  “How ironic that oil and environmentalists would fight the RFS when the RFS is the only hope we have to get us beyond corn and toward using waste as fuel,” Josh Tickell says. 

—Holly Jessen