Recently I covered the launch of the Going Green Film Festival, spotlighting sustainable cinema and filmmaking practices that preserve and protect the environment. The first of its kind, it’s shining a light on Green Hollywood, and bringing this important category to the foreground, right down to their advertising. Literally.
Building on the festival’s slogan of “Rethink, Replenish, Recommit,” David Dibble, an LA-based filmmaker and his crew are re-enacting the wild, wild west. With an eco-conscious marshal. “It’s a typical high-noon Clint Eastwood situation, where you’ve got a marshal and a bad guy’s coming into town,” Dibble said. But in this town, the outlaws recycle.
The footage will be used for promotional purposes as a trailer and TV ad, and will play before every film being featured at the festival in March, as well as in the form of :30-second spots on local Southern California television stations. The latter is one of the ways in which entertainment can serve to increase awareness and compel viewers to take action. Even if someone who catches the commercial isn’t necessarily into green films or documentaries, watching iconic figures of the wild west recycling old guns, shells and cigars is sure to be memorable and puts the environment top of mind.
“I’m trying to set up a Hollywood icon. This is going to be a classic Western, or so I want you to believe when you’re watching at first,” Dibble said. Then, the unexpected green elements interwoven into the scenes become what viewers pay attention to, which is the ultimate goal — promoting eco-awareness wrapped in the Going Green Film Festival packaging.
I’d like to see more efforts like these that put the issues in focus in an entertaining way. You don’t need to be promoting a green film or environmental organization to share an eco-message. Hollywood could tie social responsibility into its latest blockbuster movie or create an environmental campaign around a character. I could see the smash indie hit “500 Days of Summer” as the launching point for a “500 Days of Consciousness” campaign, building off the exposure for the film to create cause awareness and inspire consumers to do their part in a compelling way. Or, what if instead of sleek clothing and liquor ads for “Mad Men,” there was a “roll back the clock” initiative to undo 40 years worth of environmental damage? Connecting causes to entertainment is a powerful way to bring these critical issues into the mainstream, and forge emotional connections with consumers based on lifestyle appeal. I’m not a big fan of the term ‘edutainment,’ but in a culture where pop icons have as much influence (or more) than government leaders, why not fuse recreation with responsibility to create evocative yet educational experiences designed to make a difference?
Photo credit: Hanford Sentinel