Curtain Rises on Green Film Series

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Energy and Sustainability Steering Committee (ESSC) of Rider University will mark the debut of its Green Film Series with a screening of the Sundance Award-winning movie FUEL on Tuesday, September 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Bart Luedeke Center Theater.

The Green Film Series is the first year-long educational series sponsored by the ESSC, according to Melissa Greenberg, sustainability coordination manager. “Rider University is a setting for higher learning and these topics have an important place here,” Greenberg explained. “The ESSC feels strongly that our students should leave here with knowledge about environmental issues that will inevitably touch their lives, and this film series addresses many of these issues.”

Beginning with FUEL and continuing through April 2010, one new movie will be featured each month as part of the Green Film Series, including documentaries, investigative productions and Hollywood features. The free series is open to all, including students, faculty and staff. FUEL will also be screened again on Tuesday, October 20, in anticipation of National Campus Sustainability Day on October 21. FUEL director Josh Tickell and producer Rebecca Harrell will be on the Lawrenceville campus that day to share their ideas and stories in their quest for the common use of more sustainable biofuels.

Greenberg said that the productions chosen for the Green Film Series offer a number of different insights and perspectives into environmental sustainability. “The films vary in topic, but they all provide information about things humans do that affect the planet,” explained Greenberg, who worked with student Eco-Rep Chris Shepherd, to select the movies. “They are eye-opening and, at times, a bit scary, but they tell important stories that touch the lives of everyone on Earth.”

In FUEL, viewers accompany Tickell along his 11-year journey around the world to find solutions to the United States’ addiction to oil. A suffering economy, a failing auto industry, rampant unemployment, spiraling national debt, and an insatiable demand for energy weigh heavily on all of us, but FUEL reveals Tickell and Harrell’s solution to replace every drop of oil we now use, while creating green jobs and keeping American dollars at home through solutions already within our reach.

Tickell, one of the nation’s leading experts in sustainable biofuels, began work in 2003 on FUEL, the winner of the 2008 Sundance Audience Award for documentary. Since then, FUEL has been re-edited to include 45 minutes of new material, pushing the entire film to a feature-length 112 minutes. The film trailer and more information can be found at http://thefuelfilm.com/.

Harrell, the film’s producer, is responsible for directing the creation of the first nationally accredited green curriculum, which will be available to all high schools for free this year. At Sundance, Harrell managed to capture the attention of filmgoers and critics alike in the promotion of FUEL through the inventive use of vehicle parades, peaceful street-team educators and celebrity-studded parties. By the end of the festival, more than 10,000 attendees – one out of every five in attendance – were wearing FUEL buttons, and nearly 2,000 people had to be turned away at the FUEL box office.

Subsequent screenings in the Rider Green Film Series, all of which are in the BLC Theater, include:

  • The Day after Tomorrow – Tuesday, October 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. This Hollywood blockbuster takes a big-budget, special-effects look at what the world would look like if the greenhouse effect and global warming continued unabated. 
  • King Corn – Monday, November 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, once acre of corn and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. It raises questions about how we eat and what we farm.
  • King Corn – Monday, November 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, once acre of corn and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. It raises questions about how we eat and what we farm.
  • The End of Suburbia – Tuesday, January 26, 2010, from 6 to 8 p.m. As suburban sprawl has exploded in the last 50 years, the suburban way of life has become a part of the American Dream. Yet, serious questions are beginning to emerge about the sustainability of this residential ideal. 
  • Everything’s Cool – Tuesday, February 23, 2010, from 6 to 8 p.m. Everything’s Cool tells the harrowing story of what it takes to talk about global warming – the struggle with collective denial and how to communicate the urgency of the situation with a laggard government.
  • Flow – Tuesday, March 23, 2010, from 6 to 8 p.m. Irena Salina’s award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st century – the world water crisis.
  • Who Killed the Electric Car?  - Tuesday, April 27, 2010, from 6 to 8 p.m. This film calls to task not only the officials who squelched the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, but all of their accomplices – including consumers – who turned their backs on hybrid electric car in favor of the gas-guzzling SUV.

“There will be a moderator for each film who will start a short discussion once the film ends,” explained Greenberg of each night’s programming in the Green Film Series. “Our hope is that the viewers feel a need to share their thoughts after seeing these films and not just getting up and walk out, possibly not getting the message of the film. It’s a forum to share thoughts and maybe even come up with ideas for change at Rider and beyond.”

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