This post was contributed by P.J.S. Dougherty.
The 11th Hours tagline says, “Turn Mankind’s Darkest Hour Into Its Finest.” So why did I feel so depressed after recently attending a pre-screening of the film? My head spun with information overload as I exited the theater . . . after all, The 11th Hour concentrates over 100 hours of interviews with 54 geniuses into one cohesive 90-minute stream-of-ecoreasoning. For me, it all added up to helpless desolation. I had just witnessed the apocalypse-to-be, rushing up on humankind faster than I ever could have imagined. They had charts and everything. Clearly, the end was near.
Two despondent weeks later, I sat down with sisters Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Petersen, the film’s creators/writers/directors (also co-founders of Tree Media Group). After the interview, the film came into focus. Rather than an avalanche of doomsday scenarios, I now see The 11th Hour as the most ambitious and important environmental documentary of our time. Nadia and Leila poured their souls into this project as a labor of love for the planet and the human heart. The end result is incredibly potent, combining concentrated passion, genius commentary, and undeniable urgency. I need a replay to understand The 11th Hour’s more complex intricacies . . . but I am now looking forward to watching the film again.
On to the Ecorazzi celebrity scoop: Leonardo DiCaprio is not the only star of The 11th Hour. I found this out the hard way. About five minutes into my interview with Nadia and Leila, it dawned on me: I was starstruck. These ladies are gorgeous. I wasn’t expecting that. Hopefully I managed to keep the blushing and stammering to a minimum. Together, Nadia and Leila have an ineffable sibling synergy. At one moment, Leila would be expounding on a super-intelligent environmental tangent while Nadia quietly nodded, patiently waiting to continue with her own insight. At other times, eager to pounce on a juicy question, Nadia and Leila would talk over each other — only to sheepishly apologize, “Sorry . . . we’re sisters.” Beautiful, charming, gracious and brilliant — Nadia and Leila exemplify all the captivating attributes that we adore in our favorite eco-celebrities.
In a supporting role, and likely no less fascinating to interview than the sisters were, are the 54 minds who provided The 11th Hour‘s patchwork of profound environmental dialogue. And there, alongside The 11th Hour‘s passionate call to action, lies a subtle-yet-critical message: Environmentalism’s celebrity face is changing. Increasingly welcome to the ranks of famous enviro-fab faces are the minds behind the revolution; those who live their beliefs and focus their creativity on finding a solution. Here’s to the new celebrities: The eco-warrior inventors, scientists, activists . . . and of course, filmmakers.
The 11th Hour will begin showing in theaters in NYC & LA on August 17. Look for Patrick’s full interview in the October issue of Energy Times magazine.