Q&A: He ran Shell Oil Co. – and he thinks we use too much crude

Houston Chronicle

The film’s premise is that America is addicted to oil, and that the addiction is fueled by corporations and policymakers with a vested interest in ensuring that gasoline remains the country’s transportation fuel of choice – even though there are viable alternatives, to blend with gasoline or substitute for it. They include ethanol – pure alcohol usually made from corn or sugarcane but also from non-food organic mate- rial; methanol, a fuel and chemical building block derived from natural gas and some renewable sources; compressed natural gas; and liquefied natural gas.


Believe it: PUMP beat ‘Maze Runner’ at the box office

Pump-marqueePUMP opened well in its opening weekend, ranking among the highest-grossing films in the country in the important category of per-screen average (PSA) gross receipts.

The full-length documentary played in three theaters (one in Los Angeles and two in New York City) from Friday through Sunday, but those theaters took in an average of $14,067, according to the website Box Office Mojo. That put PUMP fifth among all of the week’s releases, ahead of even the overall box-office champ, “The Maze Runner” ($9,021 PSA).

PUMP’s showing was a “very good start” for a documentary playing in just two cities, writes Tom Brueggemann on the Thompson on Hollywood blog:

The directors of the environment-related docs “Fuel” and “The Big Fish” combined with the distributor of “Chasing Ice” to launch what is initially a very good start in New York and Los Angeles. “Ice” got to an impressive (for a message doc) $1.3 million, and this looks like it might be off to some similar success.

PUMP is coming to more cities this week, including Boston and Salt Lake City. Southern Californians will have several more opportunities to catch it: It’s playing at the Crest in Westwood Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and at the Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena on the same days.

Visit for dates times, as well as the full list of cities so far. You can buy advance tickets as well.

Meantime, the early reviews of PUMP are in, and the best among them take the time to consider the impact of the message, not just the artistic value of directors.

Take this one from Sheri Linden of The Hollywood Reporter:

“The shift from quiet how-we-got-here outrage to hope, in the form of hands-on specifics, torques Pump and gives it momentum. From a well-illustrated lecture, the movie turns into an advocacy manual, illuminating information that Big Oil would rather keep under wraps. Joining the talking-head policy wonks are entrepreneurs and citizen hackers who have devised real solutions to counter oil’s stranglehold.”

If word of mouth on PUMP keeps spreading, more theater managers will book the film. We want as many people to see it as possible so we can make our voices heard.

Visit to learn how you can help.

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Auto Industry Doc Pump Emphasizes Our Oil Consumption is Unsustainable

A car’s high beams trace slow-motion lightning across the highway. An auto worker in suspenders strides the factory floor. These seductive images of the American automotive industry act as dreamy parentheses to Josh and Rebecca Tickell’s compelling and cogent documentary Pump, which examines why Americans are so lacking in options at the gas station, what that means about the future of transportation and environmental health, and why the oil-driven American Dream must die — why it is dying.

The crisis at the ‘Pump’ (and how to fix it)

Many documentaries have decried the evils of Big Oil. After all, there’s a lot to hate: it holds our wallets hostage, pollutes the planet’s atmosphere, it’s one of the motivating factors behind American involvement in Middle East conflicts in past and present centuries, and it has a grip on us that’s exceedingly difficult to break. So what’s different about the new film from Josh and Rebecca Tickell? “Pump” takes a proactive approach, spotlighting the things other countries, innovative companies, and enterprising individuals are doing in the realm of alternative fuels.