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This film lights the shadows about America's quest for energy, where Paradise Found meets the visible hand of natural gas development. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on January 28, 2012.

This film lights the shadows about America's quest for energy, where Paradise Found meets the visible hand of natural gas development.

About this project

TRIPLE DIVIDE is a new documentary film that lights the shadows about America's quest for energy, where Paradise Found meets the visible hand of natural gas development.

Potter County, Pa. (focus of the film) is home to a geological phenomenon called the Triple Divide, one of five widely-recognized in the United States where water drains into three different basins. The headwaters of this Triple Divide are ecological sanctuaries for all things living deep in Appalachia, and provide drinking water for millions of people downstream. 

The natural gas industry is tapping the Marcellus Shale in the north eastern U.S., beneath the landscape of Potter, and  promising America a new dream of energy independence and economic prosperity. In the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds, this modern-day Gold Rush is filling pockets.

Via personal stories, interviews and investigative reports we arrive at two roads of paradise: cheap energy to boost the economy, and a sacred path of life-sustaining resources. 

Here, we discover the beginning of a natural gas drilling boom, where companies use the controversial method 'hydraulic fracturing' and horizontal drilling to crack Marcellus Shale 4000 feet or more underground. 

Potter is positioned to set precedent for model legislation, via the Clean Streams Law, for how natural gas development will be regulated in the state's most sensitive waterways. 

This north central region of Pennsylvania is sacred for what its environment offers to those downstream of the Triple Divide, but some fear that outdated legislation from the Oil and Gas Act will allow for its inherent value to be sacrificed; or that it already has.

How Pennsylvania deals with sensitive areas such as these will affect many  outside the state. The Genesee River, for example, starts at the Triple Divide in Potter County but provides sustainable tourism economy and drinking water for hundreds of thousands living along the river as it flows north through upstate New York to the city of Rochester, where it dumps into Lake Ontario. 

Already families struggle to deal with the impacts, often afraid to discuss their situations for fear of the gas companies retaliating by ceasing delivery of fresh water, or worse, a lawsuit. Read "Drinking Dimock: A Glass Full of Gas Water."

Others watch their land and 50-year old hardwoods being stripped away — taken over for drilling when they don't own the mineral rights, still responsible for property taxes where they fear no one will ever want to buy. Read "Property Owner Loses Land to Gas Driller on ‘Split Estate’."

The gas industry is supporting the state by funding studies and remedial work when an where pollution may occur. Read "Chesapeake Energy Helps Pennsylvania Afford Study of Natural Gas Blowout." But not all studies are without a conflict of interest. Read "Chesapeake energy Misinformed Shareholders About Impact of Well Blowout."

The industry pours tens of thousands into public relation campaigns every week to educate and promote this production as safe and beneficial.

Chesapeake Energy Ad circulating in local papers »

As the industry encroaches an uncertain future hangs in the balance.

Over 90% of this film has already been documented as part of our ongoing investigation into the Natural Gas Industry on the east coast of the United States, which includes:

Please help us produce the last pieces of this story’s puzzle*, complete the final months, days and hours of post-production work, hire an editor and sound designer, obtain archive footage to fill out the film, create marketing collateral, and move the film throughout festivals and into the international marketplace.

*Our actual goal for this film is over $20,000.

For sharing your support, we have some great rewards, including original music and artwork by artists helping with the film.

***Anyone who does not use the internet for payments can send donations to the address below (and if you include a request for an award we'll be sure to send it to the return address): 

The Public Herald — 2350 Cleveland Rd  —Sandusky, OH 44870 


  • Yes it is feature length!

    We're also planning for 30min and 1hr versions to appear on broadcasting channels, festivals and throughout the web.

    Last updated:
  • Personal opinions aside, this film takes an objective look at the many impacts of natural gas and the current regulatory framework. It is told in a 3rd person narrative who holds an unbiased opinion and tone, but lets those interviewed set the stage for the audience.

    Last updated:


  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    0 backers

    Thank you for caring about this investigation! We'll keep you updated.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    12 backers

    One Digital download of the film and updates on our latest progress. Thank you for supporting Triple Divide!

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    Pledge $15 or more

    7 backers Limited (3 left of 10)

    LIMITED REWARD!!! Thanks to a generous donation outside kickstarter, we have 10 Triple Divide T-Shirts for this reward. See updates for a design, and two new designs are on the way (final choice can me made at the end of the project). Oh yeah... expect to have this in the mail soon :)

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    Pledge $30 or more

    10 backers

    One Lifetime membership to Public Herald (check our website for details). Melissa Troutman's new album, due out in the spring :) See promo video in our updates. One Limited Edition digital art booklet of film eye-candy (includes a WATERCOLOR of the Talisman Terry Fracosaurus coloring book that appeared on the Colbert Report). One digital download of film. You're also receiving a special "Thanks" on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    8 backers

    You get all of the above + Triple Divide T-shirt (see updates) + a TRIPLE DIVIDE soundtrack (w/ The Happy Maladies new songs, see our updates). A special thanks IN THE FILM CREDITS. Also, a special "Thanks" on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Yes, you're making it happen!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    8 backers

    You'll get a one-of-a-kind digital print of our signed poster (to you, with love) for your home or office + one limited edition Triple Divide T-shirt (design in updates) + film credit thank you + a digital download of the film + Triple Divide soundtrack + Melissa's album + one lifetime membership to The Public Herald, which includes a book of your choice. Also, a special thanks on our social networks!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    2 backers

    ALL OF THE ABOVE + Special edition of investigative reports w/ complete uncut audio interview recordings (INCLUDING the full audio recording of Melissa and Joshua being accosted by truckers at a rig site! *Exclusive to this pledge.) + unpublished photographs + special thanks everywhere.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    2 backers Limited (6 left of 8)

    Put your name on it! All of the above rewards + a special onscreen thank you in the credits of the film + a Q&A Skype or in-person session with the creators of the film. Your name/organization listed as an ASSOCIATE PRODUCER in the film. An invitation to the first screening of the film. Additional Q&A with the film's hydrogeologist + an opportunity to voice your opinion on our website with an article, photo, or audio interview!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $2,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    IMMEDIATE REWARD: your company will become a one month sponsor on the website (appearing in articles and throughout the website with a 300x400 ad). Thank you for believing in our work! Your name/organization will be listed as a PRODUCER in the film + you'll get all of the above + an invitation to the "Paradise Found" party for participants and producers in Potter County, PA as an honored guest.

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Funding period

- (50 days)