One case in point is the story of Aimee Ellsworth.

Ellsworth and her family, whose water and land in Colorado turned toxic from natural gas drilling, were the second family featured in Gasland who could light their water on fire.

Fox said the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issued a report confirming the cause was gas drilling. Yet after she told her story in the film, she was still stuck in a home that had so much gas in the water she would shower in the dark because she was afraid a spark from her light bulb would blow up her house.

When Fox called her one day to see how she was doing, she told him, "I can't talk to you about gas anymore."

He explained, "Her land was devalued, she had no way of getting out, her health was failing."

So she took a settlement with the company, but she had to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

"She traded her First Amendment rights for the ability to get out of gasland," said Fox. "And in that we lost a very powerful, compassionate and sympathetic spokesperson. But she was able to resume her life by moving."

He continued, "That's the way the industry would rather handle this."

Fox said there are stories like this all over the country, where these histories have just been disappeared.

"We are lucky that we got to Aimee Ellsworth a few months before she got cornered into that agreement and that her story got out."

Industry Is "Underestimating" the People

Fox has been on the road screening his film since its premiere at Sundance last year, visiting 100 cities on a grassroots tour that also takes him to gas drilling areas across the country.

The overwhelming response, he said, has created an atmosphere that will make it increasingly difficult for gas industry propaganda to thrive.

"It's just been a reaffirmation of everything that's in the movie," Fox said. "People are flocking to these screenings."

He described 1,600 people showing up one night in Williamsport, Penn., on a rainy Tuesday. In Texas, 400 people attended a screening at the Forth Worth art museum, with water samples and jars in their hands, which he said has been commonplace all along the tour.

"I mean literally," Fox said, they come up to him "and say, 'Here' s a jar, this is a test, this is my documentation, I've got the text in my hand.' Because everybody is so concerned with this."

He believes the gas industry is running out of options.

Look, they can't spin away these thousands of stories," he said. "I mean literally thousands of contamination stories. And what's at stake here is the water supply for millions of people."

Fox continued, " They can't cover their tracks anymore in the way they have. They can't push people into corners anymore in the way they have."

The film, he said, aided by social media platforms like Facebook, opens up all these stories to the world.

Fox said the letter to the Academy notwithstanding, gas industry insiders on the whole have voiced the attitude, "We're going to be here longer than Gasland is around."

He added, "But what they're underestimating is that we live here, there are hundreds of thousands of us and we're not going anywhere."

Brad Jacobson is a Brooklyn-based freelance journalist and contributing investigative reporter for Raw Story.

http://www.alternet.org/story/150002/