Somewhat serendipitously, only a week after I launched my new ‘Hollywood & Green’ series focusing on socially responsible cinema and TV, film and documentaries that help connect consumers with important causes and environmental issues, the Going Green Film Festival opened its doors to eco-conscious filmmakers everywhere. The first of its kind, the Going Green Film Festival has set out to reward and recognize green filmmakers who fall into one of the following three categories:
- Green Production – Where environmentally responsible filmmaking practices were employed to lessen the carbon footprint left on the planet (with sufficient documentation of the process)
- Our Planet – Where the film’s topic covers third world issues, ecology, nature or the environment
- Hybrid/Alternative Transporation – Where the film features a hybrid vehicle,
bicycle, electric scooter or public transportation.
The Going Green Film Festival aims to spotlight those who are working to preserve our planet through entertainment and help inspire other filmmakers to adopt green practices, build greater awareness of social and environmental issues, and raise money for the Minorities in Broadcast Training Program (MIBTP),
a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization formed in 1992 to provide training opportunities to college graduates in
TV/radio news reporting, news management and film/TV production. I had an opportunity to chat with Festival Founder, Patrice Williams, to learn more about their efforts, and her thoughts on the importance of green filmmaking.
Why did you decide to start the Going Green Film Festival?
It’s smart to “go green” these days. Whether you’ve always cared about the environment, or it never crossed your mind. “Going green” not only helps preserve our natural resources, it helps with actual savings to our pocketbook during these touch economic times.
I have also been living part time in Oregon for about a year and a half; moving there full time for four months recently. They are serious about their conservation and recycling. It educated and inspired me.
What is your core focus? Will you center on cause-related films and documentaries in addition to green-centric filmmaking?
Our core focus is to not only encourage “green” filmmaking, but to reward it. Sure, we are accepting cause-related films, but also films of any genre that were created with the idea of lessening their carbon footprint on the planet. Documentaries are welcome, as are horror, comedies, westerns, dramas, thrillers, etc.
What has been the response so far? Can you share the types of submissions you’ve received to date?
It is a little too soon to discuss submissions as our first deadline for submissions is August 31, 2009. We don’t want to speak about a film, then it not get accepted. But we are mostly receiving films focusing on the environment.
Why do you think it’s important for filmmakers to go green?
We filmmakers use a lot of natural resources to produce a film. It can’t be helped. But when you decide from the get-go that you will be looking for ways to conserve, limit waste and reduce your impact on the environment, you create a conscious win-win situation.
You are the very first all green filmmaker’s festival. Why do you think no one’s centered on this important issue prior to now?
From our research, I believe we are the first in green filmmaking. There are a few festivals that have “green” aspects and categories, or green festivals that are not associated with filmmaking. I believe now the economy is a big factor on why green has come center-stage.
Do you think green filmmaking is important to viewers? How do you plan to build the category and generate awareness among consumers as part of this initiative?
We hope so. The festival will do everything it can to inform the public without hitting them on the head with our philosophies. We also have to be entertaining. Our hope is that the average audience member will be drawn to the festival by the films themselves; and walk away knowing much more than they realize.
Is the festival mostly geared toward independent filmmakers? Where do you think the big studios fall in this equation?
This is a competition festival; so yes, we are looking for independent filmmakers. However, we hope to secure a studio film for opening/closing night. The studios all have “green” projects on the horizon; and we’d like to snag one!
What is your vision for the future of Going Green Film Festival and echo-minded filmmaking overall?
We hope the festival will grow into a staple, extending the length of the festival. Our goal also is to never have a filmmaker wonder what “green filmmaking” is; but to automatically incorporate ways to reduce and reuse.
Can you share some notable green filmmakers or environmental films that are pinnacles in this movement?
Out in theaters right now is Food Inc. A documentary sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill. Chipotle is the leader in eco-conscious food. The 11th hour is also a must see; narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s a powerful and alarming documentary about the global environmental crisis.
What is your ultimate goal for your premiere event, and what impact do you hope to make in the green film community?
Success of course! This festival is a fundraiser for The Minorities in Broadcasting Training Program; a non-profit formed in 1992 to provide training opportunities to college grads in TV/radio news reporting, news management and TV/film production. (See: www.theBroadcaster.com).
As far as impact, we hope to have one… that’s our mission!
Lights, Camera… Sustainability!
With sponsors like Fuji Film, 3Degrees Inc., The Daily Green and Google Grants, they’re already off to a promising start and 3Degrees is providing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for the festival as part of their mission to reduce the magnitude of climate change. The beauty of this concept is, not only does it increase visibility for socially conscious independent filmmakers, it creates a community around causes and environmental issues that become memorable through an entertainment-driven festival experience. And that’s what I’d call a summer blockbuster!
- The first deadline for submissions is August 31, 2009 and $20 of the submission fee will go towards renewable energy certificates supplied by www.3degreesinc.com
- The GGFF is looking for dedicated volunteers: www.goinggreenfilmfestival.com/volunteer.html
- You can be kept up to date by joining the email list: www.goinggreenfilmfestival.com/newsletter.com, and signing up for the newsletter makes you eligible to win one pair of 5 free passes to the festival
- You can follow the GGFF on Twitter: www.twitter.com/goinggreenfest