In Dallas this week, North Texans can get a peek at Above All Else, a documentary that deals with the construction of the southern leg of the Keystone Pipeline and the fight of the people of Winnsboro to stop it. Produced in part by Julia Butterfly Hill and Daryl Hannah and directed by John Fiege, the movie tells the story of David Daniel, the man on whose East Texas land the now-famous Tar Sands blockade — a tree house village where sitters stayed for weeks, preventing the Keystone pipeline from being built — was constructed (“Drawing a Line in the [Tar] Sand,” Oct. 17, 2012). The film, which got its world premiere at SXSW in Austin a few weeks ago, will be shown on Friday and Saturday at the Angelika Theater as part of the Dallas International Film Festival.

There was no Hollywood ending in the real story — TransCanada altered the pipeline route to sidestep the blockade — and there’s no Hollywood ending in Above All Else either. The southern leg of the pipeline is already in operation.

With the northern section of the pipeline still under consideration by the U.S. State Department though, filmmaker Fiege and Julia Trigg Crawford — who has her own fight going on against Trans-Canada and is featured in the film as well — hope the film will light a fire under people.

Thin Line Fest Rectangle

“The film is about what happens to real people when the pipeline comes through,” said Crawford (“Your Land is My Land,” April 11, 2012). “You cannot see this film and not have an emotional connection to this fight. It humanizes this fight.”

Fiege, who’s been focused on environmental issues for years, told Static that   a cancer diagnosis provided his impetus for making Above All Else. “I asked my doctors why I got a sarcoma. I didn’t understand it. I had no genetic reason for it, I was healthy, in my mid-30s, and I didn’t smoke. They told me it was just the result of environmental impact. So I decided to make a film about the impact of oil drilling on humans. I thought it might be my last film, so I wanted to get to the heart of things. And when the Keystone issue emerged, well, it caught my attention.”

What Fiege saw with the Keystone was a sea change in the level of protest against the line, “a coalition of very different types of folk coming together to stop it before it was built. We saw protests the scale of which we hadn’t seen since the 1970s.”

Daniel, who is under gag order not to talk about the pipeline or the protest, was at the heart of the Winnsboro blockade. A stuntman for 20 years and a high-rope rigging expert, he helped plan and execute the tree houses that temporarily blocked the pipeline and roused protests against it all over the country.

“My intention was to make a film about someone who was going out there to try to make things better and what that process and journey looks like,” said Fiege. “Daniel risked everything making that stand.”

The trailer for the documentary can be seen at Fiege told Static he’d love for someone to arrange a showing — or several —in Fort Worth as well.


  1. Hey! This is Texas! We don’t question authority down here, we just take the bribe money and shut up. We don’t need this rabble rousing crap going on. Send the State Police out there and have these Greencreeps locked up. Get them in the US Marine Corps where they belong. Bunch of left wing goofball tree huggers holding up progress!

    • Everyone ignore Gregg Orange’s comments, in case you all have not noticed, he is a democrat that is using stereotypes about the opposing party in order to make you all believe that he is uneducated republican (It seems obvious to me but I just wanted to make sure that other people are not misled by his comments)

  2. There are medications available that can readily be prescribed by your psychiatrist that will cure you of your delusional paranoia, Mr. Higgenbotham. Just relax.

  3. That’s a Middle School comeback if I have ever heard one. Gong! No further comment, Mr. Chairman. I yield the remainder of my time to the floor.


      This is another reason why I would never vote Democratic again, just look at how dull the people who support the Democrats are. Most of the people In the video have a poor education, and whenever they refuse to answer directly, they just keep questioning Peter Schiff without giving him the chance to respond.

      This video proves how “educated” you leftist are, and it also shows how Democrats became “popular”…

      FYI: The Interview takes place in the Occupy Wall Street movement