Man in a tree still from Above All Else.

SXSW Film Festival: Above All Else


Above All Else

SXSW Film Festival

Director: John Fiege

This emotionally driven documentary focuses on the grassroots efforts of Texas landowners fighting against TransCanada and their plans to run the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed 1,179-mile project, through their property. As director John Fiege attempts to inform the masses of the controversies revolving around Tar Sands practices, he brings the audience to the front lines of the protests as activists chain themselves underneath trucks and block roadways.

One of the leaders in the fight is retired high-wire artist and stuntman, David Daniel, who moved to his property in Texas to live a quiet life free from stress. Obviously, that was not in the cards as he constantly deals with threats from the oil company and must endure employees trespassing on his property in order to survey it for a project he is wholeheartedly against.

With gorgeous cinematography in the dense woods of the Lone Star State, Fiege stands by a small collective of demonstrators who refuse to stand down against billion-dollar bullies even when it seems all is lost in an unfair legal battle. It is unnerving to witness someone be told they could be arrested on their own property for trespassing if they impede construction for an undertaking they combat. It’s unjust and it’s not right no matter how you look at it.