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Even the Choir Has Something to Learn: Environmental Film Festival on February 24 PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 21 February 2007 02:28

Most people think that documentaries are dull. And when they're environmental documentaries? Forget it.

That perception changed a lot last summer, when An Inconvenient Truth showed that even a lecture delivered by Al Gore can be compelling and urgent.

The box-office and critical success of An Inconvenient Truth provided a lot of guidance to the organizers of the second Environmental Film Festival, which will run from 2 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 24, at Davenport's Unitarian Church (3707 Eastern Avenue). The free event is co-sponsored by the church and the Eagle View Group of the Sierra Club. Food will be available from Greatest Grains.

The festival features An Inconvenient Truth, and that Oscar-nominated film prompted organizers to focus on global warming. The other feature-length film - the well-reviewed Who Killed the Electric Car? - also deals with climate change, as do two shorter movies: Too Hot Not to Handle and Baked Alaska.

Kathryn Allen, one of the organizers of the film festival, said that An Inconvenient Truth touched a nerve because it made climate change tangible - to many people for the first time - by showing the loss of glaciers, particularly on iconic mountains and ranges. "They got a lot of attention because they're places of the imagination," Allen said. "This isn't in the realm of theory anymore."

While Gore's movie grabbed the public's attention last year, another engaging, environmentally themed documentary was garnering strong reviews, even though it wasn't widely released. Who Killed the Electric Car? deals with General Motors' EV1, an electric car that drew raves for its looks and speed in addition to its environmentalism. The car was introduced in 1996 and attracted many high-profile enthusiasts, including Tom Hanks and Mel Gibson.

The movie is cast as something of a murder mystery, because GM not only stopped production of the cars but also took them back from owners and destroyed them. And although filmmaker Chris Paine certainly mourns the death of the electric car, by most accounts he's fair, allowing GM to have its say and noting that the EV1's enemies included the auto-parts and oil industries.

The Baltimore Sun wrote: "Who Killed the Electric Car? makes you feel that no good idea, let alone good deed, goes unpunished. Only the exuberance of the moviemaking keeps your spirits high."

Allen hopes to double last year's attendance (which was more than 100 people) and to attract audiences beyond those already with a keen interest in the environment.

But even if the event draws only active environmentalists, she said, those people will reach out to others and spread the message. "It's okay to preach to the choir," Allen said, "because the choir has a lot to learn."


Environmental Film Festival Schedule



2 p.m.: An Inconvenient Truth

4 p.m.: Who Killed the Electric Car?

6 p.m.: Too Hot Not to Handle


Community Room

2 p.m.: Tallgrass Prairie

3:30 p.m.: Edens Lost & Found - Chicago

5 p.m.: Crapshoot

6:30 p.m.: Life Running Out of Control



2 p.m.: Affluenza

3:30 p.m.: Escape from Affluenza

5 p.m: Buyer Be Fair

6:30 p.m.: Up Close & Toxic


Board Room

Short films running continuously from 2 to 8 p.m.

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by kent beuchert, February 21, 2007
It's a shame that a film like the almost totally fictitious "Who Killed the Electric car?" is not being reviewed by anyone knowledgeable about the history of the
electric car of recent decades. All that you have to know about an electric car is that, without a practical battery, it
is not possible to build one that is a viable alternative to and ICE vehicle. Anyone, like the silly young filmmaker Chris Paine, who claims otherwise is lying thru his teeth. The EV-1 and Toyota Rav 4 electric and Honda EV were ALL cancelled programs that should never have brought their crappy electrics to the market in the first place (actually, the EV-1 was not legal for sale, a point that Paine's film fails to point out as just one of the many reasons (including the product liability concerns of selling a machine that can electrocute its owner, and an almost complete lack of spare parts as called for by Federal statute)that GM crushed many (certainly not all as claimed by the film, and the actual numbers of cars produced was exaggerated enormously). It's very suspicious that Paine made a backroom secret deal with Toyota as his extortion for not including that company along with GM as "killers" of those crappy, overpriced, inconvenient little grocery-getters that should never have been built. Paine has created a film chock full of lies and misleading nonsense, like his "infomercial" technique for convincing his ignorant audience that the EV-1 was something other than what it was. Why doesn't he mention the fact that Toyota charges between $25,000 and $35,000 to replace 5 year old NiMH battery packs? Why doesn't Paine mention the exorbitant costs to produce the EV-1 version II with those same lousy NiMH batteries ($45,000)? I might add that NONE of the current research in developing a practical battery is involved with NiMH batteries. Isn't it wonderful that this country is enriching a fellow who has produced the most fictitious film ever made, and has the gall to call it a documentary? Paine's film will eventually be re-examined by those other than the ignorant reviewers that have so far passed judgment on this film. What's amazing is that these reviewers have actually offered opinions, even while admitting that everything they "know" about electric cars came from viewing the film. That, gentlemen, is fraud. Pure fraud.

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