One of Robert Friedland’s pet peeves is that as people move away from the country to the city they become divorced from the supply chain and no longer understand where things come from. They don’t realize, he says, that everything they touch is either grown or mined. Take a look at everything around you, he urges, “we either mined it or we grew it—there are no exceptions.”
“Most people who live in urban environments think a ham sandwich comes from a refrigerator—they don’t really visualize all those pigs being slaughtered in a river of blood outside Chicago,” he adds.
“Most people don’t realize that when they walk into a dark room and turn on the light, somewhere a generator has to kick in and give them that power, because there’s virtually no storage of electricity in the grid. We think miners have to do a much better job of explaining how fundamental we are to improving this world. That’s why we have gotten into Hollywood—that’s why we are in the movie business.”
Friedland says he’s working with his connections in Hollywood to make movies that will, in an entertaining way, re-position mining—the exact opposite to how producer and director James Cameron portrayed the industry in his blockbuster 2009 sci-fi film Avatar.
“Subconsciously the bad guys in the movie are the miners,” he says. “James Cameron made the miners the bad guys in one of the biggest movies ever produced out of Hollywood.”
The premise of the film is that miners, thousands of years from now, in another part of the universe, are hunting for a scarce and very valuable commodity called unobtainium. The only place they can find it is in a pristine environment where they have to chop down giant trees and displace native people to get it out of the ground.
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