Sundance Award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner switched things up a bit for her latest documentary “Cool It,” which hits theaters this Friday, November 12. It marks the first time the director of “DiG!” and “Join Us” shot without securing funds in advance.
“It was work for hire,” said Timoner to indieWIRE while in Toronto during the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, about how she came on to the project. “It was a unique position to find myself in.”
In Timoner’s follow-up to “We Live in Public,” she profiles the author and academic Bjorn Lomborg, who ignited a firestorm of controversy with the publication of “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” a book that takes on the issue of climate change by challenging the status quo.
“I was approached, and I thought why me?” said Timoner.
After reading the book and meeting with Lomborg for a five-hour lunch in New York, Timoner knew she was the right one to tell his story and get his message across on film.
“Everything he said made sense,” she said, “but I needed to go deeper. If it was proposed to me to make a film about how fear isn’t effective, I wouldn’t have made the film. It’s the fact that we really get to propose solutions that can happen now is the reason I made this movie. As a mother of a six-yea- old, it’s been really a concern of mine that for 20 years we haven’t done anything. And I learned why because of Bjorn Lomborg.”
Lomborg, who was also on hand for the Q&A, broke down his ethos to indieWIRE.
“I think global warming has become this gigantic issue where you only have two view points,” said Lomborg, seated next to Timoner. “It’s either a hoax and it doesn’t mean anything at all, or it’s the end of the world. Panicking in a terrified way rarely leads to good decisions. So what I’m trying to say is that it’s neither. It’s not the end of the world. It’s a problem we need to fix.”
On translating his book and thesis for the screen, Lomborg admitted that he was initially skeptical about how it would turn out.
“The fundamental challenge was that I was going to lean back and have someone catch me,” he said. “My sense was very much, does she get it?”
Judging from the warm rapport between the two, and the positive response the film received at its world premiere in Toronto, Timoner did her subject justice.
“The film is not really about him,” Timoner said. “It’s actually about Bjorn’s unique perspective. What I took away is that he has a lot of guts. I just hope that I was the blessing that came along to translate that message.”
Watch below for a video from the event: