Screening of "If a Tree Falls"

Academy Award-nominated POV film explores the practices of the ELF through the story of former member Daniel McGowan.




7:00 pm


Auditorium (Room 208), Cleveland Hall

General Info

Wells College is holding a screening of “If a Tree Falls,” a 90-minute film that covers the history of the controversial Earth Liberation Front and relates the story of Daniel McGowan, a former member of the radical environmental group. The screening will take place at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, March 8, in the Auditorium (Room 208) of Cleveland Hall on the Wells College campus. Leslie James Pickering, former spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front press office, will be on hand to give a brief presentation and answer questions. This event is free and the public is invited to attend.

“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” explores two of America’s most pressing issues—environmentalism and terrorism—by lifting the veil on a radical environmental group the FBI calls America’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.” Daniel McGowan, a former member of the Earth Liberation Front, faces life in prison for two multi-million dollar arsons against Oregon timber companies. What turned this working-class kid from Queens into an eco-warrior? Director and producer Marshall Curry (producer of the Oscar-nominated “Street Fight,” POV 2005) provides a nuanced and provocative account that is part coming-of-age story, part cautionary tale and part cops-and-robbers thriller. The film, a co-production of Independent Television Service, won Best Documentary Editing Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for a Feature Documentary award at the 2012 Academy Awards.

Leslie James Pickering was a founder and spokesperson for the North American ELF Press Office. During his time with the organization from early 2000 until the summer of 2002, he edited the office’s journal “Resistance” and other materials. Pickering has handled press inquiries from national and international newspapers and magazines, conducted interviews with major television news sources, and given lectures at institutions across the country. His published work includes two books, numerous articles, and several collaborative projects.

This event is a collaboration with POV, the award-winning independent non-fiction film series on PBS ( For more information about “If a Tree Falls,” visit The film will be shown as a kick-off for Wells’ 11th Annual Activism Symposium, which will take place all day Friday. The Activism Symposium is a part of the College’s ongoing Celebrating Scholarship and Engagement series.