After The Peak: the filmmaker Jim McQuaid

Filmmaker Jim McQuaid

Jim McQuaid made After The Peak because he is concerned with America's addiction to cheap oil and because he could see that the time is coming when supporting our "habit" will become a huge problem. McQuaid has made a number of short films, mostly dramas about human situations we can all relate to. He brought a dramatic sensibility to this often dry subject. Instead of making a normal documentary, he was compelled to tell the story in a way everyone could relate to. He did this by making the story completely local.

Jim shooting a scene of CELL (Quickening Productions)

The end of cheap oil could be told with dozens of graphs and talking heads discussing how many hundreds of thousands of barrels a day are consumed by X or Y or Z. But it's hard for most folks to stay awake and engaged when they watch something like that. The best way to make it local and accessible was to to emulate the local news.

McQuaid wrote the original script in 2001, after reading Ken Deffeyes, Hubbert's Peak. He shelved the project after writing the script and pursued a variety of other short films and videos. But in 2005, as gas prices hit $3 for the first time, colleague Darrell Parker, an actor, filmmaker and Turnip Co-op member, reminded him about the script. It was time to take on the project.

With a background in both high technology and the arts, McQuaid brought a wide ranging set of skills to bear on this project. He's the co-author of RFC 1944 and he also earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography. He's run an Oral History program and he's discussed network performance at industry conferences. Starting with 16mm films in high school, he's pursued a love of the moving image ever since.

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