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Catching Up With Directors Leila Petersen and Chris Paine

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petersen.jpgSome of our favorite green documentary directors have been attendance at Hollywood Goes Green; most notable being Leila Connors Petersen of The 11th Hour and Chris Paine of Who Killed The Electric Car.

Ms. Petersen joined a panel titled “Pitching, Producing and Marketing Environmental Themes in Feature Films” and offered some insightful commentary on the differences between The 11th Hour and An Inconvenient Truth in terms of marketing, timing, and participation. The most pertinent of those three being DiCaprio’s limited availability for promotion (due to tight filming schedules), while Gore was able to continuously push and stump for AIT. Box office numbers for the 11th, while much lower than AIT, were in fact almost 10 times above the average for theatrically released documentaries.

When I briefly talked with Leila after her presentation, one area I did compliment her on was the 11th’s very strong internet presence. Whereas AIT has not updated climatecrisis.net for over a year, Petersen’s production company Tree Media is continuously feeding 11thHourAction.org with the latest in green news, inspirational stories, and eco-friendly advice. “It’s entirely an in-house effort,” she said. “We have all our own writers and intend to continue the message of The 11th Hour going forward through this site. We’ll be expanding our Take Action section in the future to include even more businesses, organizations, and individuals.”

Remember Chris Paine’s next icy adventure? The director of the successful Who Killed The Electric Car was working on a film about alternative fuel vehicles driving to Antarctica in a race tentatively titled ‘Test Zero’. The race would include a bio-fueled car, a hydrogen fuel-cell car, and battery-based car. At an after-party last night, I asked Chris how that documentary was proceeding. “We’ve had some setbacks,” he said. “A grant we were expecting did not come through and the logistics of the operation muddled efforts to get the project running.” Chris mentioned that the project is evolving to potentially include Greenland instead of Antarctica and some additional “renewable energy” technology in the mix.

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