On December 7th, 2005, federal agents conducted a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front -- an organization the FBI has called America's "number one domestic terrorism threat." IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT is the remarkable story of the group's rise and fall, told through the transformation and radicalization of one of its members, Daniel McGowan. Part coming-of-age tale, part cops-and-robbers thriller, the film interweaves a chronicle of McGowan facing life in prison with a dramatic investigation of the events that led to his involvement with the ELF. Using never-before-seen archival footage and intimate interviews -- with cell members and with the prosecutor and detective who were chasing them -- IF A TREE FALLS asks hard questions about environmentalism, activism, and the way we define terrorism.
- Marshall Curry, Sam Cullman
- Run Time
- 1 hour 30 minutes
The film's sobriety and carefully balanced arguments make it an exemplary piece of reporting, although its emotional heat rarely rises to a boil.Stephen Holden, New York Times, 06.21.2011
It's tempting to watch If a Tree Falls doc about a scraggly group of ecoterrorists with a chip of skepticism on your shoulder. Yet the film creates a fantastic moral ambivalence.Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, 02.21.2012
A gimlet-eyed glimpse into the roots of terrorism and the politics behind its prosecution.John Anderson, Variety, 07.22.2011
The gripping documentary If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front offers an intimate look at the radical environmental group.Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 07.22.2011