Screening of ‘Midnight Oil’ documents refinery explosion

The PES Refinery | Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

Scribe Video Center will host an online screening of Bilal Motley’s documentary feature Midnight Oil on Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.

Midnight Oil chronicles the controversial last days of the now-shuttered Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in Point Breeze. The film follows refinery worker and first-time filmmaker, Bilal Motley, as he struggles to reconcile his love and kinship for his colleagues, and the growing awareness of the surrounding communities of color long affected by the refinery and their ongoing fight for environmental justice. The documentary will be available at

Viewers will experience Motley’s point of view as he documents the PES Refinery’s treacherous explosion in June, 2019, which released 3,271 pounds of hydrofluoric acid and took 28 hours to extinguish. As Motley chronicles the fire and shutdown, he uplifts the perspectives of community members and activists who oppose the refinery’s reopening, while processing the racism he experienced as a Black man at the refinery.

The film will be followed by a post-screening discussion with director Bilal Motley and producer Dan Papa, viewable on Scribe’s Crowdcast platform.