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Earth Day, Low Impact Filmmaking and “The Inconvenient Truth”

Earth Day, Low Impact Filmmaking and "The Inconvenient Truth"

Today is Earth Day, as Google reminded me. Remember when we were kids and Earth Day was just getting started and we all thought it was cute and irrelevant? Now the planet is going to hell in a handbasket and this Earth Day thing is serious business. Last week, coincidentally, critics began seeing press screenings of “The Inconvenient Truth,” the Al Gore documentary about global warming. While basically it’s cinema-as-lecture and Gore hagiography, the film is a convincing look at the dangers of climate change. While there are plenty of places to go on the web for information and activism, “The Inconvenient Truth” webpage is a good place to start.

The site suggests several ordinary things you can do to help (from using flourescent light bulbs to unplugging electronic devices from the wall when you’re not using them to eating fresh foods). Having also recently seen another documentary about such matters called “Who Killed the Electric Car?” I would also add to the list: Convert your car to an electric, or at the very least, a hybrid. Because all that stuff about hydrogen-fuel cells is bullshit. Filmmakers should check out indie maven Larry Fessenden’s “Low Impact Filmmaking: A Practical Guide to Environmentally Sound Film and Video Production” (published way back in the early 1990s). I don’t know if it’s still available, but you can check out Larry’s website for more information.

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Film festivals must deal with tremendous waste–think of all the packaging from submissions. Returning works to the filmmakers would be ideal, but this is costly and can be a logistical nightmare. Instead the rejected works are simply thrown away. A few things filmmakers can do to help is to send their DVDs in small, paper sleeves rather than bulky plastic holders. Fest programmers should make a point to repurpose the plastic holders–they can be emptied and donated to a student media program, or posted on craigslist. Used discs can be recycled at places like

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