This year’s Sundance Film Festival kicked off on Thursday night in Park City, Utah with its traditionally packed opening night offerings on full display — four double features playing at different venues around the festival — but the hottest ticket was unquestionably the world premiere of Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” which bowed at the Eccles Theatre to a packed crowd, picking up a standing ovation at its conclusion.
The late surprise entry to the festival picks up a ten years after Davis Guggenheim’s Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth,” which saw former U.S. vice president Al Gore getting brutally honest with audiences, aided by photos, charts and scores of of data that illuminated the impacts of the global climate crisis, the sequel finds a mostly upbeat Gore continuing to work on his mission to spread information about the issue.
In a lively post-screening Q&A, Gore was the last member of the “Inconvenient Sequel” team to take the stage, earning his own standing ovation along the way. Gore told the crowd, that the film gave him “an extra burst of hope” and that it “tells the story of how much hope there is for transforming our energy systems, changing our way of thinking.”
He continued, “We are going to win this. No one can stop it. There is a remaining question as to how to quickly we will win it.” His hopeful outlook was met with rapturous applause.
Gore was quick to also remind the crowd that “despair, ultimately, is just another form of denial.”
When asked by an audience member about his recent meeting with President-Elect Donald Trump, Gore stayed mostly mute, though he did tell the audience, “I try to protect the confidence of that conversation in case I need to have a couple more. Over the years there are a lot of people who started out as deniers and changes over time, whether he will, we’ll see.”
Gore added of his meeting with Trump, “It’s not the last conversation. This story has many chapters to unfold here.”
But he also reiterated his earlier point, this time directed squarely at Trump: “No one person can stop this. It’s too big now.”
The former vice president also told the audience that he believes the film will recruit others to the cause, an aim that will be aided by the release of a new book in tandem with the film’s spring theatrical debut, one meant to help teach readers how to give their own presentations on climate change.
As Gore reminded the crowd, “We are going to prevail. And for those that have any doubt, just remember, there are so many others who are yearning to do the right thing and to see the right outcome. If anybody doubts that we have the capacity and the will to act, just always remember the will to act is itself a renewable resource.”
The sequel is directed by Cohen and Shenk, produced by Richard Berge and Diane Weyermann, and executive produced by Jeff Skoll, Guggenheim, Lawrence Bender, Laurie David, Scott Z. Burns, and Lesley Chilcott.
“An Inconvenient Sequel” will serve as the centerpiece of Sundance’s The New Climate program, a curated section of more than a dozen titles that center on environmental change and conservation.
“An Inconvenient Sequel” premiered in the Documentary Premieres section at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.