Island Falls Snowmobile Club Windfall Screening - Friday March 30 at 6:30PM

Mattawamkeag Lake - slated to be maimed with a useless and out of scale wind factory

Island Falls Snowmobile Club Windfall Screening - Friday March 30 at 6:30PM - A PDF of all currently scheduled Maine screenings can be downloaded here:


And suddenly wind power was no longer politically correct. The rains had come.


Turbines in the Backyard: The Sound and the Strobes

‘Windfall,’ a Documentary on Wind Turbines, by Laura Israel

First Run Features

A view of wind turbines in a residential setting in the documentary by Laura Israel.

We can all agree that energy independence is a worthy objective, right? Alternative energy sources like solar power can help free the United States from fossil fuels and the grip of unstable Persian Gulf states. And wind power — wait, not so fast, says “Windfall,” Laura Israel’s urgent, informative and artfully assembled documentary. An account of rural Meredith, in upstate New York, when wind turbinescame to town, the film depicts the perils of a booming industry and the bitter rancor it sowed among a citizenry.

In 2004 residents of this once-flourishing dairy center were approached by companies offering to pay a nominal fee to erect turbines on their property while insisting on confidentiality agreements (to keep competitors ignorant of costs). Economically beset, some people, like Ron and Sue Bailey, jumped at first. But others, like Keitha Capouya, now the town supervisor, dug into the research and sounded an alarm.

Turbines are huge: some are 40 stories tall, with 130-foot blades weighing seven tons and spinning at 150 miles an hour. They can fall over or send parts flying; struck by lightning, say, they can catch fire. Their 24/7 rotation emits nerve-racking low frequencies (like a pulsing disco) amplified by rain and moisture, and can generate a disorienting strobe effect in sunlight. Giant flickering shadows can tarnish a sunset’s glow on a landscape.

People in Lowville, N.Y., farther north, express despair on camera at having caved to the wind companies’ entreaties; Bovina, N.Y., banned turbines entirely. Meredith is riven by the issue, which pits the Planning Board against the Town Board and neighbor against neighbor. Former city dwellers escaping urban anxieties are surprised to see themselves as activists. Concerns like setback (the distance of turbines from a property line) are debated.

Government officials are seen only in glimpses of television talk shows. Conspicuously absent are representatives of corporations like AirtricityEnxco or Horizon Wind Energy(though the financier and wind advocate T. Boone Pickens comes off as a wolf in good-old-boy clothing). And despite Ms. Israel’s inspired use of a local demolition derby as a metaphor for Meredith’s struggles, her accelerated pacing almost overheats.

But the film’s implications are clear: The quest for energy independence comes with caveats. Developers’ motives must be weighed, as should the risks Americans are willing to take in their own backyard. Despite BP’s three-month blanketing of Gulf of Mexico beaches in crude oil; the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan; and the possible impact of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on the water table, energy companies remain eager to plunder nature’s bounty in pursuit of profit.


Opens on Friday in Manhattan.

Directed by Laura Israel; narrated by Chuck Coggins; director of photography, Brian Jackson; edited by Ms. Israel, Stacey Foster and Alex Bingham; music by Hazmat Modine and Barbès Records; produced by Ms. Israel and Autumn Tarleton; released by First Run Features. At the Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 23 minutes. This film is not rated.

Ebert:     Users: Be the first to rate this movie    


BY ROGER EBERT / February 1, 2012

cast & credits
Snag Films presents a documentary written and directed by Laura Israel. Running time: 83 minutes. No MPAA rating.

Driving from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, you pass through a desert terrain in which a new species has taken hold. Wind turbines grow row upon row, their blades turning busily as they generate electricity and pump it into the veins of the national grid. This wind farm is a good thing, yes? I've always assumed so, and driven on without much thought.

A documentary named "Windfall" has taken the wind out of my sails. Assuming it can be trusted (and many of its claims seem self-evident), wind turbines are a blight upon the land and yet another device by which energy corporations and Wall Street, led by the always reliable Goldman Sachs, are picking the pockets of those who can least afford it. There is even some question whether wind energy uses more power than it generates.

Director Laura Israel's film is set almost entirely in Meredith, N.Y., a farming area of some 2,000 people in a beautiful Catskills landscape. A few dairy and beef farms still survive, but many of the residents are now retired people who have come here with their dreams. Most of them were once "of course" in favor of wind power, which offered the hope of clean, cheap energy. When an Irish corporation named Airtricity came around offering land owners $5,000, neighbors $500 apiece and the town a 2 percent cut of the revenue, that was a win-win, right?

So it appeared. But some residents, including a former editor for an encyclopedia and the final photo editor of Life magazine, began doing some research. The town board set up an energy advisory panel, and after a year of study, it recommended the town refuse the Airtricity offer. The town board rejected the panel's finding. One of them recused himself because of his personal holdings in energy. The others saw no conflict.

This generated a furor in Meredith, and we meet people who were best friends for years and now were no longer on speaking terms. We watch board meetings and meet lots of locals; the film bypasses the usual expert talking heads and relies on the personal experiences of these individuals.

I learned that wind turbines are unimaginably larger than I thought. It's not a matter of having a cute little windmill in your backyard. A turbine is 400 feet tall, weighs 600,000 pounds, and is rooted in tons and tons of poured concrete. If one is nearby (and given the necessary density, one is always nearby), it generates a relentless low-frequency thrum-thrum-thrum that seems to emanate from the very walls of your home. The dark revolving shadows of its blades are cast for miles, and cause a rhythmic light-and-shade pulsing inside and outside your house. Living in an area with all that going, many people have developed headaches, nausea, depression and hypertension. 

The effect on property values is devastating. The owner of a lovely restored 19th century farmhouse asks — who will buy it now? People don't come to the Catskills to undergo nonstop mental torture. Nor do other living things like wind turbines. Their blades, revolving at 150 miles an hour, slice birds into pieces and create low-pressure areas that cause the lungs of bats to explode.

For the loss of its peace of mind, a community's cut of the profits may be enough to pay for a pickup truck. Tax revenue drops because many of those (who can afford to) flee. Turbines sometimes topple over or catch fire (all firemen can do is stand and watch). And of course the local taxing agencies have been required to take advantage of sweetheart state and federal tax cuts, promoted by the industry's lobbyists.

"Windfall" left me disheartened. I thought wind energy was something I could believe in. This film suggests it's just another corporate flim-flam game. Of course, the documentary could be mistaken, and there are no doubt platoons of lawyers, lobbyists and publicists to say so. How many of them live on wind farms?

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Comment by larry sherman on February 9, 2012 at 3:21pm

Excellent!  10 screenings scheduled so far.  Need lots more screenings, especially where the legislature can see it (Augusta) and some of the larger cities (Portland, Bangor, etc).  Orono should also have a screening as the professors and students need to be educated about the ugly truth! Thanks for spreading the word!



Comment by Penny Gray on February 3, 2012 at 6:14pm

Go, Windfall!  Thank you Laura Israel.  This film may not be rated yet, or ever, but if it shakes up those blinded by the insidious "greenwashing" of wind industry experts, it's done its job.

Comment by Monique Aniel Thurston on February 2, 2012 at 9:49pm

Bravo Laura Israel !

Congratulations and many  heartfelt thanks to you from all of  us  at the CTFWP.

I  was  lucky  to see Windfall in Waterville Maine  at the premiere last July , sadly on my way  to protest theribbon cutting ceremony of First Wind 's Rollins project in Lincoln where First Wind hubris was still glowing .

Like  many  windwarriors who saw the fim  I shedded  tears, I  am not ashamed about this ( , knowing that every single comment one writes end  up  on one's  Google page ) .

After fighting every single aspect  of this infamy for almost three years daily , I  strongly believe that Windfall will be the most deciding  factor  for the outcome of our battle : it will  appeal  to the CONSCIENCE of  city folks ,well intentioned but not informed, and finally the film will do  what needed to be done the most ,it will displace this problem from  the rural world back to the urban  world where the voices and the votes  are .
I have  always wondered  how  we could become" victims "rather than "NIMBYs" ? the answer is Windfall
People from all over the country will be shocked ,they will know  that they too have  been victims of a scam, that their good conscience has  been abused for the profit of  corporations   , that they have been pawns  in a big game that they  did not even realized took place  in multinational board rooms.
And they will be angry . 
And  other  people 's  anger is  what we need the most .
Monique Aniel  



Comment by Whetstone_Willy on February 2, 2012 at 9:30pm

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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We have the facts on our side. We have the truth on our side. All we need now is YOU.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

 -- Mahatma Gandhi

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Vince Lombardi 

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