The God Squad
"This beautifully-made film captures the essence not only of the spotted owl controversy, but of natural resource conflicts everywhere."
Josh Eagle, Lecturer on Law, Stanford Law School

The God Squad provides a rare behind-the-scenes look at the competing concerns and hidden politics underlying federal environmental policymaking. The one-hour documentary examines the Endangered Species Committee's controversial 1992 decision to allow federal timber sales in protected Northern Spotted Owl habitat. For the first time in history, the cabinet-level committee selected economic interests over the survival of a species. Although the proceedings ostensibly focused on the owl and a limited number of timber sales, the controversy was a microcosm of a much larger debate concerning the fate of the Pacific Northwest's ancient forest, the integrity of the Endangered Species Act and even the protection of biodiversity around the globe. The story-behind-the-story -- told in surprisingly candid interviews with high-level government officials including EPA Administrator William Reilly, scientists-turned-whistleblowers and people in rural communities in Oregon -- is a fascinating cautionary tale.

This award-winning documentary premiered at the Denver International Film Festival, and has screened at venues including the California Academy of Sciences, the International Wildlife Film Festival and on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

"The film gives invaluable insight into the ethical and political dilemmas facing those who make decisions regarding endangered species protection in our country."
Senator James M. Jeffords of Vermont


The God Squad originally aired on PBS in 2003, the year marking the 30th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. 


"A very impressive piece of work: stunning nature photography, a great political story, and some rare candor from the officials in those interviews....I learned a great deal watching it"
David M. Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Historian
Author of Freedom from Fear: The American People in
Depression and War, 1929-1945


  • Produced, Directed and Photographed by Emily Hart
  • Edited by Emily Hart, Elizabeth Finlayson and Lucy Massie Phenix
  • Music by Bobby Lurie
  • Narrated by Kathy Witkowsky
  • Written by Emily Hart, Elizabeth Finlayson and Kirsten Jones Neff
  • Interview Camera by Boots Sheldon, Elisabeth Spencer and Elizabeth Thompson
  • Sound Recording by Katie Cadigan, Beth Cohen, Lori Shinseki and
         Elisabeth Spencer
  • Sound Design and Post Production Consultation by Andrew Gersh

The God Squad was made possible through grants from the Panavision New Filmmaker Program, Film Arts Foundation, Nu Lambda Trust, Pacific Pioneer Fund, Eastman Kodak, Aaton Des Autres and individual donors.


To order a copy of The God Squad for your school, library or non-profit, contact:
Bullfrog Films, Distributor


Music from the Film, The God Squad , composed by Bobby Lurie, has been released on compact disk.  The film’s emotionally resonant score uses the incredible guitar work of Robby Aceto and Mr. Lurie’s drums in a series of sketches that speak to the heart of the political and environmental issues raised by the documentary. The music was re-conceptualized and mixed for the CD by Robby Aceto. 

To order Music from the Film, The God Squad on CD, contact:
Outer Orbit Music
@BNS Productions
P.O. Box 998
Canal Street Station
New York, NY 10013


For additional information about The God Squad, write: