Alberta tar sands are the subject of two films coming up Tuesday shown by the Williams Lake Film club.

Alberta tar sands are the subject of two films coming up Tuesday shown by the Williams Lake Film club.

Film club shows White Water, Black Gold and SPOIL

The next Williams Lake Film Club event on Tuesday, Jan. 24 is actually a double feature. Two films, but for the price of one.

The next Williams Lake Film Club event on Tuesday, Jan. 24 is actually a double feature. Two films, but for the price of one.

Both films are brand-new releases. And both are very beautiful films about rather disturbing subjects: progress and the effect on our environment and thus on our lives.

The films will be shown at the Gibraltar Room, starting at 7 p.m. Back doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $9 regular, $8 for members, and $6 for seniors and elders (65-plus) and students.

We begin the evening with White Water, Black Gold. This film follows Canadian David Lavallee on his three-year journey across Western Canada in search of the truth about the impact of the world’s thirstiest oil industry.

This is a journey of jarring contrasts, from the pristine mountain ice fields that are the source of the industry’s water, to the tar sands tailing ponds.

Yes, I know we are no longer supposed to call them the tar sands, but for many years (I worked for Krupp Industries in Edmonton in the 70s) that is exactly what they were called.

I did translations for bucket wheel excavators for this project — and we thought that this was one crazy pipe dream. But that was in the past, now to the future …

Both government and industry spokespeople deny any cause for concern, but in the course of his journey Lavallee, backed by scientists, makes a number of discoveries that challenge that assessment and raise serious concerns for Canada and the United States.

Native people living downstream are contracting unusual cancers; new science shows that water resources in an era of climate change will be increasingly scarce; the proposed upgrading of the oil fields could endanger multiple river systems across Canada that make up about half of its water supply; and a planned oil pipeline across British Columbia brings fresh threats to rivers, salmon, and the Pacific Ocean.

White Water, Black Gold is a sober look at the untold costs associated with developing this major oil deposit and raises important questions about how much environmental damage we are willing to tolerate to feed our oil appetite.

The second feature will be SPOIL, a documentary which was premiered at the Whistler Film Festival and which we were lucky enough to see — and now to bring to you.

The International League of Conservation Photographer’s adventure through the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia to support the coastal First Nations’ fight against super tanker traffic through their coastal waters.

The proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project threatens the lands, ecosystems, cultures and communities of the north with pipelines and oil tankers carrying crude bitumen for export to Asian markets.

In the challenge of just 10 days, these world-famous photographers must capture the iconic wilderness and wildlife of this suddenly threatened landscape. And they do.

Both these films together are some powerful experience, and they will make you think. And that is exactly one of the goals of the Williams Lake Film Club, to make you think about the most diverse subjects.

The other one is to raise funds in support of the LDA, the Williams Lake Chapter of the Association for Students with Learning Disabilities.

It is to it that all of our proceeds go, and we are doing quite well with our support.

White Water, Black Gold and SPOIL — for your information only — but informed you should be. See you on Tuesday, Jan. 24.