- Eyes On
Three showings of the film, “Windfall,” have been scheduled for the next month with the first viewing possible this weekend.
“Windfall,” a film directed by Laura Israel, documents how the development of a wind farm outside of Meredith, N.Y. divides the residents of the city and the surrounding area.
The film mirrors Wapakoneta with Auglaize Neighbors United against the wind turbines being built so close to residences and the city of Wapakoneta and surrounding villages.
“The movie shows the effect of a wind farm development on a rural community — and the potential of having a wind farm in this community is very real,” Auglaize Neighbors United member Mike Burton told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “The effect also results in a divisiveness among residents regarding wind farms on a rural community.”
The issue is a pressing one. There is a 39 percent growth in wind development each year in the United States.
In the film, one side are the people of Meredith, N.Y. who are attracted to the financial incentives as well as developing a renewable energy source. Residents are attracted to the incentives which would boost the dying economy of the city of 2,000 and the area which was long dependent on dairy farms.
On the other side, residents grow skeptical of the promises when they learn 40 400-foot tall wind turbines may have side effects associated with noise and wind flicker. The skepticism of the opposition grows when they learn the huge profits are directed to a group of outside investors through tax breaks and not for the city of Meredith.
The company maintained a low-profile and did not address the community collectively and insisted on confidentiality agreements before ti would even enter into negotiations with property owners.
Israel, who works in New York City and owned a cabin near Meredith, N.Y., favored wind energy production and initially welcomed wind turbines as a form of alternative energy in the area, until she learned the company wanted to locate one on her property and she decided to do additional research. The film was sparked by the incident and her research.
Burton said this qualifies her film as an objective documentary on the subject and one all members of this local community should watch since wind turbines could be built close to Wapak-oneta. Some reports have wind turbines being built as near as Infirmary Road.
Israel also turned her camera on Tug Hill, New York, another small upstate town, where 195 wind turbines create low frequency sound and flicker.
Israel was born in New Jersey and after earning a degree in film from NYU, she edited music videos for Lou Reed, Keith Richards, David Byrne, New Order, Patti Smith, Ziggy Marley, Sonic Youth and many others.
Israel worked as photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank’s editor for two decades. The films have screened throughout the world and won many awards. She also edited Stephanie Black’s feature documentary, “Africa Unite; Life For a Child,” directed by Academy Award-nominated Ed Lachman; and “Music of Regret” by photographer Laurie Simmons.