Promised Land is a 2012 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook, and John Krasinski. The screenplay is written by Damon and Krasinski based on a story by Dave Eggers. Promised Land follows two corporate salespeople who visit a rural town in an attempt to buy drilling rights from the local residents. Damon was originally attached to direct the film, but he was replaced by Van Sant. Filming took place mainly in Pittsburgh from early to mid-2012. During filming and afterward, the film’s highlighting of the resource extraction process hydraulic fracturing, colloquially known as “fracking”, emerged as a topic of debate. The film had a limited release in the United States on December 28, 2012 and will follow with a nationwide expansion on January 4, 2013. The film is scheduled to have its international premiere at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival in February 2013.
Corporate salesperson Steve Butler and his sales partner Sue Thomason visit a rural town to buy drilling rights from local residents who seek relief after the recent economic decline. They encounter resistance from a schoolteacher, who is supported by a grassroots campaign organized by another man who seeks to rival Butler.
Interesting detail: the anti-fracking movie is financed by the government of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates.