Review of Fuel

Review of Fuel written and directed by Josh Tickell
Rating *****

I've now had the opportunity to see four films at the St. Louis International Film Festival. Three of them were documentaries, including this one by Josh Tickell. While it doesn't tell a story like the compelling one told in Dear Zachary, it succeeds on a different level by its scope and message.

Josh Tickell spent eleven years bringing this film to fruition, and it is evident in the final product. It's as polished and provoking as any documentary I have seen. The film is an overview of several different types of alternative fuel sources and renewable energy, but it is primarily about biodiesel – a subject I have to admit I was totally unfamiliar with prior to seeing the film. Josh is convinced that biodiesel is one of the better replacements for gasoline. It's cheaper to produce, it's better for the environment, it gets better gas mileage, and it is possible to produce it without harming the environment or cutting into the food supply.

How is this possible? Josh begins the film by explaining how algae, one of the first living organisms to appear on earth, eventually became oil over millions of years. It is now possible to convert algae into biodiesel fuel in as little as three days. Any diesel engine can run on biodiesel without modification. It doesn't require any changes to the existing infrastructure. And it can be produced on a large scale fairly easily. Josh is so committed to spreading the word about biodiesel that he not only wrote several books on the subject, but he went to film school for the sole purpose of making this film. Now that's determination.

The film itself is engaging, informative, and visually stunning. Josh narrates the film. He also enlists the help of numerous celebrities to help tell the story. He uses animation to help fill in the blanks. The version of the film I saw was recently updated to include new information and to address certain issues that have arisen in just the few months since the film was released. I didn't get a chance to stick around after the film for the Q & A (I had an early morning departure) but for a film that took eleven years to make it was very topical. I'm not sure if the stuff about the auto industry was there before or added recently, either way the timing is perfect for Josh's message.

I'm sure you'll hear more about this film. If you get a chance to see it, do so. You won't be disappointed.

You can find out more by visiting Josh's web site. Click here.

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