“We live in a Hulu, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon world,” Cinetic Rights Management’s Matt Dentler wrote in a piece for The Huffington Post entitled “Greener Movie Viewing.” “Americans want access to more content and information than ever before, and they want it now. However, it’s also become increasingly difficult to access that content in conventional ways. The brick-and-mortar stores are evaporating, and a night-out to the multiplex requires more time and energy (and money) than ever before. If this cinema-seeking culture is trying to also remain carbon-conscious, then perhaps video-on-demand could be its salvation.”
Dentler continued – in honor of Earth Day – to highlight some eco-friendly films playing on a medium “that provides hardly any carbon footprint.”
There’s Joey Carey and JJ Beck’s documentary “Greasy Rider” (available for free on SnagFilms), in which the filmmakers take a cross-country road trip in a car running on vegetable oil; Adolo Doring’s “Blind Spot” (available on SnagFilms), a look at the world’s dependency on fossil fuels; Laura Dunn’s “The Unforeseen” (available on iTunes and Amazon VOD), about the destruction of hill country in Texas; and Mark Leiren-Young’s “The Green Chain” (available on YouTube), a faux-documentary about the between loggers and environmentalists in the woods of Canada.
“If anything, these tales highlight just how many lives are impacted by environmental debates,” Dentler concludes. “Not only that, Earth Day isn’t just an American event, nor should it be the only day of the year we consider our carbon. Media is quickly becoming more efficient in its production, so why not implement the same thoughts in its distribution?”
Extending beyond Dentler’s recommendations, SnagFilms is offering precisely that efficiency for a number of films, including the aforementioned “Greasy Rider” and “Blind Spot.” The website (which, in a brief disclaimer, is the parent company of indieWIRE), is presenting a specially curated collection of documentaries that highlight “the impact we all have on the environment, and the responsibilities we bear for the planet’s future.” Selections include “Art From The Arctic,” “Design: e2 – China: From Red to Green,” “Fighting Goliath: Texas Coal Wars,” “The Future of Food,” “Great Wall Across The Yangtze,” “The Hudson Riverkeepers,” “Human Footprint,” and “Off The Grid: Life on the Mesa.”
And while its not exactly the most environmentally efficient viewing method, you can do your part by actually going to the movies as well. Disney’s “Earth,” a spin-off doc of the popular BBC series “Planet Earth,” follows 3 animal families as they try to survive the treacherous conditions of an every-changing planet. The film opens today in theaters, and for every ticket sold between now and April 28, Disney will plant a tree. The company has already committed to planting half a million trees on the basis of advance ticket sales alone.
You could also simply rent a few docs on DVD that might educate you to be a more environmentally conscious person. GreenCine is offering the 10 best options in that regard, with the refreshing exclusion of the obvious: “Yeah yeah yeah, we all love Al Gore and his jaunty powerpoint presentation but Inconvenient Truth is not the only fruit, dear viewers. Here I suggest a few other environmentally-focused documentaries to make you laugh, cry, act – and seethe with anger.” Check out the whole list here.