Actor Matt Damon was surprised to learn his new anti-natural gas fracking movie was funded in part by Mideast oil nation the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Hydraulic fracking is a technique used to get natural gas out of the ground which could help make domestic natural gas a cheaper competitor to foreign oil.
"The Promised Land," starring Damon and John Krasinski of "The Office," is being financed in part by Image Nation, a film company completely owned and operated by the government of the UAE.
Damon was asked about the foreign-oil funding by documentary director Phelim McAleer at a Dec. 3 promotional event in New York. McAleer, who is directing the upcoming pro-fracking film "Frack Nation," asked Damon:
"How does it feel to be a fully-paid advocate for an oil-rich Middle Eastern government - and, doesn't that really negate any artistic credibility... that 'The Promised Land" might have?"
Damon, who also serves as writer and producer on the movie, replied, "[T]he first time we were aware that Image Nation was involved with our movie was when we saw the rough cut and saw their logo."
Damon explained that part of the funding comes from Participant Media which has a "blind slate deal" with Image Nation that pays for ten percent of all of Participant's films. Participant is known for making liberal issue movies such as "Food Inc.," "Syriana," and "An Inconvenient Truth."
Many oil-rich nations stand to lose a substantial amount of income if fracking opens up an alternative fuel source inside the United States. Crude oil represents a full 45 percent of the UAE's exports, according to the CIA World Factbook.
The Heritage Foundation had previously reported on Damon's conflict of interest, noting that there was "a direct financial interest on the UAE's part in slowing the development of America's natural gas industry."
"Hollywood elites such as Matt Damon don't seem to think that the rules they want to impose on the rest of us apply to them," McAleer told the Media Research Center.