Description from TIFF 2010 catalog by Thom Powers:
The wind turbine has become a symbol of hope. The sleek white spokes spinning against the sky promise a future free of fossil fuels and the importation of foreign oil. Who could object to wind energy? That’s what the residents of Meredith, New York thought when turbine salesmen came knocking on their doors. With local dairy farms in decline, the economy needed a boost. Similar scenarios are now playing out all over North America as energy companies grow more bullish on wind. If you think this transition should be a breeze, Windfall offers a surprising reality check.
The town’s population consists of longstanding farmers living alongside recent escapees from city life. Reactions to windmills tend to split between large property owners eager to capitalize and smaller owners who see potential dangers. It’s one thing to support clean energy; it’s another to contemplate living under a four-hundred-foot tower with blades weighing seven tons each and spinning at one hundred and fifty miles per hour. Then there’s the noise, not to mention the giant flickering shadows. Windfall follows the debate with interviews from both sides, capturing all the humour and rancour of small-town politics.
Making her directorial debut after years of experience as a film editor &”8211; most notably with such individualists as Robert Frank (True Story) and John Lurie (Fishing withJohn) &”8211; Laura Israel brings her own distinctive approach to Windfall, paying careful attention to visual detail and sound design. Working with art director Alex Bingham and DP Brian Jackson, she brings freshness and vitality to the much debated topic of renewable energy.
The story may be local, but it has colossal implications. Wind may be just the thing to reshape contemporary landscapes and solve our destructive dependency on fossil fuels. Judging from this story, we’re likely to see a rise of modern-day Don Quixotes.
About the director:
Laura Israel grew up in New Jersey and earned a degree in film from New York University before editing music videos for such artists as Lou Reed, Keith Richards, New Order, and Sonic Youth, among others. She has also edited many films, including The Present (96), True Story (04), Music of Regret (06), Africa Unite: A Celebration of Bob Marley’s 60th Birthday (08), and Life for a Child (08). Windfall (10) is her directorial debut.