Fields of Fuel, a documentary about director Joshua Tickell’s travels across the United States in a biodiesel-fueled van, recently won the 2008 Audience Award – Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie also was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize – Documentary at the event, which is held every year in Utah and is part of the Sundance Institute, a nonprofit cultural organization founded by actor Robert Redford in 1981.

According to a press release from the Sundance Film Festival, the summary of the 90-minute color movie reads “A look at America’s addiction to oil, Tickell is a man with a plan and a Veggie Van, who is taking on big oil, big government, and big soy to find solutions in places few people have looked.” Tickell, who also founded the Biodiesel America Organization, began filming the movie in 2003. The film cost less than $1 million to make and includes appearances by several energy experts, industry leaders, and celebrities, including Larry David, Larry Hagman, Woody Harrelson, Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson, Julia Roberts, Neil Young, and Richard Branson.


Joshua Tickell drove his Veggie Van across the United States to promote the use of biodiesel. Credit:

Featured in Fields of Fuel is Tickell’s diesel VW Winnebago which was converted to be the Veggie Van in 1997. The vehicle has logged more than 25,000 miles on its tour to promote biodiesel and is also the center of the Veggie Van Organization, described as a “a unique educational entity that promotes the adoption of biodiesel fuel and other renewable energy solutions through hands-on demonstrations, school presentations, speaking engagements, and road tours.”

Tickell has been involved in the promotion of biodiesel for several years. In 1998, he organized a performance in Pennsylvania featuring James Taylor, Sean Colvin, and Kenny Loggins, a concert completely powered by the fuel. He is also the author of From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank – The Complete Guide to Using Vegetable Oil as an Alternative Fuel and Biodiesel America—How to Achieve Energy Security, Free America from Middle-East Oil Dependence, and Make Money Growing Fuel.

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