RATIONAL MIDDLE ENERGY SERIES – Short Films Exploring Energy Topics

Now is the time to start the discussion about energy and its future.

The Rational Middle Energy Series is a series of short films created by the team that produced the acclaimed documentary, “Haynesville: A Nation’s Hunt for An Energy Future.”

Through their travels with “Haynesville,” Gregory Kallenberg and his team saw that there was a need and desire for a balanced discussion about today’s energy issues. A discussion that would leave behind the noise and shrill extremes and, instead, invite open discussion, allowing everyone at the table to work together with the goal of creating a path towards a better future for all of us. This movement would be called the Rational Middle, and its voice is captured in the Rational Middle Energy Series.

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With the idea of creating a rational movement focused on civil dialogue and creating an energy solution, the films in this series consult a number of global experts, including environmental scientists, geo-engineers, and economists from universities as well as energy entrepreneurs, policymakers and influencers. These experts with many different backgrounds come together to paint a unique, hopeful, but serious portrait of the challenges we face, the tools we have to confront them, and the goals we need to consider in order to reach a place where we can be confident about the future of our energy, where it comes from, and how it affects our world.

Intent on promoting a rational and vigorous national debate about energy, the Rational Middle Energy movement is highlighted by a collection of short films that explore various elements of the issue. The film series was developed by director Gregory Kallenberg as a follow-up to his well received documentary, Haynesville: A Nation’s Hunt for an Energy Future.

When Kallenberg and his crew toured with the film, they saw  overwhelming evidence of the film’s audiences deep desire that national energy policy be based on a broad, fact-driven national discussion; to initiate that discussion, Kallenberg and his associates began production on the Rational Middle Energy Series, a series of short films meant to inform and activate people to care more about energy and our energy future.


The first two films in the Rational Middle Energy movie series, titled
What’s at Stake and The Great Transition, were debuted at the 2012 Aspen
Ideas Fest
. The challenge was this: Is it possible to conduct a civil,
honest, and open discussion about the future of energy in this country?
The Aspen presentation’s challenge was more than simply a rhetorical
question, though. The panel discussion that hosted the movies featured
former Energy Information Administration (EIA) head and Duke Professor
Richard Newell, and Alexis Karolides of the Rocky Mountain Institute;
joining them was Russ Ford, part of the senior leadership of the Shell
Corporation, one of the nation’s largest energy companies. The
discussion they held was positive and honest, and focused on identifying
the issues and forging solutions; the question-and-answer period that
followed featured more of the same.

The Rational Middle Energy movement works to bring together all the
stakeholders in American energy without promoting any particular
solution or even definition of the issue. The producers of energy from
all available and potential sources, policy makers, promoters of various
causes related to energy production and use, and the public at large,
as consumers of energy and as taxpayers, all have a significant stake in
the formulation of a comprehensive energy policy. The movement’s intent
is to bring them to the table where they can share information and
ideas in an environment free of the ideological baggage that
characterizes much of the public debate today.


From the time we first started touring “Haynesville,” we saw a need to help people understand more about energy. In our opinion, it was the only way to get everyone focused on this important issue and to get people actively working on a cleaner energy future. In other words, it was the best way to start building energy’s Rational Middle. We had been trying to fund the idea of this series for about a year and a half before meeting Shell and pitching them Rational Middle Energy Series. Not only did they believe this was an important conversation to have, they were also brave enough to give us artistic and intellectual control of the series from start to finish. We appreciate their participation in this.

Gregory Kallenberg is the director and a producer of the Rational Middle Energy Series. He deeply believes that people can come together to find balanced and rational solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including utilizing viable sources of energy for the future. Before the Rational Middle Energy Series, Kallenberg directed and produced “Haynesville: A Nation’s Hunt for an Energy Future (HaynesvilleMovie.com), a documentary chronicling a large natural gas discovery in northwest Louisiana and its effect on three individual’s lives. “Haynesville” played at conferences, universities and prestigious festivals like SXSW and the Aspen Ideas Festival. The film also received its network television premiere on CNBC in November 2010. Kallenberg has also spoken about the future of energy at engagements across the globe including TEDx, Bucknell University’s Environmental Symposium on Shale Gas and Rice University’s “Distinguished Speaker’s Series.” Kallenberg’s background includes writing and story editing for the award-winning production house Bluefield Productions. He has also written for Esquire Magazine, the New York Times, the Austin American Statesman, among other publications. Kallenberg graduated from the University of Texas where he received a degree in Film. He also attended the film program at the University of Southern California.

The Rational Middle includes Mark Bullard (Producer /Cinematographer), Chris Lyon (Production Manager/Editor), Rob Senska (Cinematographer), Jay Weigel (Composer), Mindy Bledsoe (Field Producer), and Ian Summers (Production Assistant).  For more information, please visit RationalMiddle.com.