Mar 20 2009

The Dreamland – A Documentary by Andri Snær Magnason

From Draumalandið website – Dreamland is a truly epic film about a nation standing at cross-roads. Leading up to the country’s greatest economic crisis, the government started the largest mega project in the history of Iceland, to build the biggest dam in Europe to provide Alcoa cheap electricity for an aluminum smelter in the rugged east fjords of Iceland. The mantra was economic growth. Today Iceland is left holding a huge dept and an uncertain future

Dreamland is a film about exploitation of natural resources and as Icelanders have learned clean energy does not come without consequence. Iceland is a country blessed with an abundance of clean, renewable, hydro-electric and geothermal energy. Clean energy brings in polluting industry and international corporations.

Dreamland tells the story of a nation with abundance of choices gradually becoming caught up in a plan to turn its wilderness and beautiful nature into a massive system of hydro-electric and geothermal power plants with dams and reservoirs, built to power the increasing heavy industry that will soon make Iceland the largest aluminum smelter in the world.

This highly controversial matter goes largely unnoticed by the public until the plans are already in action and the industrial machine has been turned on. Although most Icelanders are against the idea of turning Iceland into the world’s biggest smelter of aluminum the locals where the smelters are meant to be built, celebrate the idea of increasing investment in their region and more jobs. For decades they have been getting desperate, facing depopulation as the young generation finds education and better jobs in the capital.

This multilayered story is also the story of a small nation’s continuing struggle for its independence, and today from multinational companies roaming the world. We try to grasp peoples fear for the future. The insecurity created by the constant news of looming economic slowdown, and uncertain future.

The question remains, how much unspoiled nature should we preserve and what do we sacrifice for clean, renewable energy? Dreamland gradually turns into a disturbing picture of corporate power taking over nature and small communities. It’s the dark side of green energy.