Movies

Carbon Neutral Love in a Cold Climate

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Environmentally conscious moviegoers in the mood for a sappy romance about a mail order bride set in rural 1920s Minnesota can breathe a carbon dioxide-laden sigh of relief–your movie has arrived.

Sweet Land, a "sweet gem," premieres in D.C. today. The film is totally carbon neutral: Moviemakers offset 8,000 tons of carbon emissions by "investing in a reforestation project in Germany and windmills and compact fluorescent lighting in Jamaica" at a cost of $10,000.

"For me, it's less of a political statement about global warming, and more just, there's got to be a nicer, cleaner way to do this," said film director and writer Ali Selim.

Mimizing their carbon footprint also minimized costs:

Filming in Montevideo, Minnesota, population 5,346, Selim used sunlight instead of film lights whenever possible during shooting and had actors carpool to the set instead of driving on their own. He kept them at the location rather than paying to have them fly back and forth.

He also used the practice of "shooting out" each location before moving on to the next, that is, getting every necessary shot, so that transporting the entire costly enterprise from one place to another was kept to a minimum.

No word on how filmmakers plan to offset increased use of Kleenex by teary women nationwide.

The film was made for about $1 million, and will undoubtedly benefit from some free publicity about their carbon-conscious filmmaking techniques. Which goes to show that you don't have to be a big company like Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, or McDonald's to "do well by doing good."

NEXT: Haggard Defense

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  1. I strongly suspect my local cineplex serves recycled popcorn.

  2. Somewhere, a PR firm is missing one of their writers.

  3. Moviemakers offset 8,000 tons of carbon emissions by “investing in a reforestation project in Germany and windmills and compact fluorescent lighting in Jamaica” at a cost of $10,000.

    That’s some sweet action!

  4. Number 6-

    To be fair, while this does indeed sound like a press release from a PR firm, it isn’t as bad as, say, the Walmart article or Starbucks post, both of which sounded like more aggressive spin.

    I don’t have high standards for a blog post, certainly I’ve made my share of “Hey, this is neat!” blog posts. But when a blog post sounds like carefully crafted PR rather than quick “Hey this is neat!” writing, or an article sounds like a press release rather than, say, analysis (this is Reason after all), it just seems out of place in Reason.

  5. Thoreau- You’re right that this is not as bad. But it’s still not up to the standards of Reason. Not by a long shot.

  6. Not to be a cynic or anything, but wake me when some of the higher-profile environmentally-conscious Hollywood types voluntarily car pool to the location and forego air travel. I’m thinking that for many (most?) of the top stars who profess to care for the environment, giving up the perks of stardom is a little too much to ask. It’s OK to throw money at the problem (which also happens to be tax-deductible, in many cases), but to actually undergo privation? As I said, wake me up when the top names start being a good example.

    Of course then I’ll complain about them all being goody-two-shoes. Hollywood just can’t win with me.

  7. Filming in Montevideo, Minnesota, population 5,346, Selim used sunlight instead of film lights whenever possible during shooting and had actors carpool to the set instead of driving on their own. He kept them at the location rather than paying to have them fly back and forth.

    He also used the practice of “shooting out” each location before moving on to the next, that is, getting every necessary shot, so that transporting the entire costly enterprise from one place to another was kept to a minimum.

    This sounds like the way Russ Meyer used to shoot his films. Hell, he’d even make the actors hold the sunlight reflectors for each other when they were off-scene. But I don’t think he was doing it out of concern for carbon emissions.

    Mainstream actors are so spoiled these days.

  8. It sure was mean of Minnesota to steal Uruguay’s capital city like that. Midwestern assholes.

  9. Thoreau- You’re right that this is not as bad. But it’s still not up to the standards of Reason. Not by a long shot.

    Ehn, I have to disagree. This post, while not exactly sparkling, is well within the normal bounds of quality.

  10. This was also done for the Roland Emmerich movie “The Day After.”

    Personally, I think that the best thing they could have done with that suckfest would have been to toss it on the compost heap.

  11. Oh, and many of the techniques that they’re touting as “green” are pretty standard practice for shooting on a low budget. Been there, done that.

  12. Oh, and many of the techniques that they’re touting as “green” are pretty standard practice for shooting on a low budget. Been there, done that.

    Which just drives home the useful point that economic efficiency and Helping The Environment aren’t always in conflict. In my optics class, when teaching about light sources, I would point out that fluorescents, which are far more energy efficient than incandescents, have been used in offices for years. Why? Because the difference in electric bill may be only a tiny portion of the family budget, but the sums become noticeable when you’re lighting up an entire office building.

    So I’m fine with pointing out that saving money is Good For Mother Earth. I just don’t like the cheerleader style of writing. But, as Eric said, it isn’t blatant here, probably because the subject isn’t at all controversial or the target of criticism.

  13. But when a blog post sounds like carefully crafted PR rather than quick “Hey this is neat!” writing, or an article sounds like a press release rather than, say, analysis (this is Reason after all), it just seems out of place in Reason.

    Since when? Rarely do I see anything in these august pages that objectively presents both sides of the story, unless it’s from Cathy Young – who routinely gets the bird for it.

    Maybe your problem is that Ms. Dash hasn’t yet become as subtle in her propagandizing as some of her more practiced cohorts.

    In any event, I have a hard time construing this as a PR post:

    Enviromentally conscious moviegoers in the mood for a sappy romance about a mail order bride set in rural 1920s Minnesota can breathe a carbon dioxide-laden sigh of relief–your movie has arrived.

    Sounds more like a raspberry than a ringing endorsement.

    btw, “environmentally” is spelled wrong.

  14. Private efforts = great. Or at least not in my face.

  15. Nice of them to send the low-wattage fluorescents to Jamaica, whose dim bulb National Petroleum Corporation has a perfect Green track record- hasn’t produced a drop of fossil fuel in its 50-year history

  16. My posts are all carbon free.

  17. I really don’t know what you guys are talking about, I thought there was a pretty clear sarcastic streak throughout the whole article.

    There was an article somewhere that argued that these types of movies (estrogen fests) serve the same purpose for women that porn serves for men. I suppose that makes the Russ Meyer comparison apt.

  18. Modern Hi Tech windmills are a blight upon the land and absent government subsidies wouldn’t exist. Yes that’s a frothing at the mouth flippant remark but I suspect it’s true.

    To reach the goal of providing 5% of US energy needs by 2020 using wind power we need 132,000 more of these 300 foot tall behemoths with wing spans approaching 175 feet.

    How about one in your backyard?

    See a photo of a ridgeline full of windmills on Maui here.

  19. I like windmills. Go ahead and put one or a dozen in my backyard. It wouldn’t be any uglier than what is already there – the headquarters of the world’s largest chemical company.

    I love holding the moral high ground when I encounter NIMBYs. Yes, it is in my backyard.

    That being said, most people find wind generators attractive, and the evidence indicates that they increase, not decrease, local property values.

  20. Chad, you ever been through Cabazon?

    And I’m not a NIMBY, just hate the sight of those ghastly windmills. I also find it ironic that I can’t have a windmill on my property because they are so ugly. I wouldn’t mind having one that pumped water.

    If they increased property values I’m sure the neighbors would agitate at the county to get the zoning changed.

    You think I’m frothing? You shoulda seen all my neighbors come unglued when some poor schmuck wanted a disguised cell tower on his land amongst 100 or so trees. I was the ONLY person to speak in favor of it. The only one.

    So now we have one, but it’s not in the neighborhood. Instead, it’s across the main drag where the neighbors don’t have any say so. And it is not disguised to look like anything other than what it is. Uglier than a mud fence, too. Dopes should let the guy have his tower.

  21. Ms. Dash….

    For steaks? No wait, wasn’t she in the Incredibles?

  22. I’m with db on this one. When I see a report of Cameron Diaz, George Clooney and Drew Barrymore showing up at a location in a Prius, I’ll be impressed. (Those were the first three “socially conscious” actors that came to mind; there are probably better examples.)

    I would think that any director concerned about schedule and budget would “shoot out” a location before moving on.

    But, good for them for taking the initiative, and if it gets them publicity, all the better.

  23. you are sooo great winecommensewer!

    katie

  24. Lisa Snell is the best!xoxoxokatie

  25. go go go go go go go go go go go go go go go go go the wine commonsewer is the best go dad go
    love jacob

  26. go go go go go go go go go go go go go go go go go the reason is the best go mom go
    love jacob

  27. I’d take a windmill in my backyard in a second if I was allowed to sell the power to companies other than my local power monopoly.

  28. I read somewhere that the Altamont Pass windmills are giant bird killing machines. Sopposedly, hawks and other game birds cruise the air currents right into the blades. Don’t know how true this is, sounds plausible.

  29. Environmentalists go nuts when we generate fossil fuel power. They go nuts when we generate nuclear power. They go nuts when we kill birds generating wind power.

    Pick one of them ya fuckers.

  30. re: killing birds. The issue is that airfoil-type wind turbines have blades that move faster than the windspeed; that is why they are used. At the very tip the blades are moving at supersonic speeds, for which the birds have no frame of reference. They cannot go around them.

    This is not something that can really be cured with any kind of new technology…birds have shown themselves remarkably resistant to any kind of repellant, as air forces around the world will attest to: they’ve tried very hard to keep them away from runways, with mixed success.

    The only solution to the problem is to use sail-type blades that move at the speed of the wind, but these are far less efficient. It is amusing to see environmentalists making excuses for killing birds in large numbers (and they are very large numbers.) If a chemical plant had as many dead birds around it, there would be daily protests.

    Windmills aren’t really getting much cheaper or more efficient: the technology has been taken about as far as it can go. It is useful only as a market option for people willing to pay more for non-polluting energy. I, personally, choose to pay a couple of extra dollars a month to Xcel Energy to subsidize bird-killers out near the South Dakota border. In my defense, they are unlikely to kill any endangered birds out there.

    As for the movie, it’s a story about a German mail-order bride in frontier Minnesota after WW1. It’s actually said to be very good, if you’re into that sort of thing.

  31. “I’m with db on this one. When I see a report of Cameron Diaz, George Clooney and Drew Barrymore showing up at a location in a Prius, I’ll be impressed.”

    Not trying to defend the private jets, but…

    George Clooney’s car
    http://www.evworld.com/images/tango_gclooney2.jpg

    Cameron Diaz
    Actress Cameron Diaz goes on the Jay Leno show and all she wants to talk about is her Prius. “It gets 52 miles per gallon,” she told Leno, who generally likes cars with more horsepower. “In the city. Isn’t that exciting? The craziest thing is, ’cause all of a sudden you just, like, you’re sitting at the stop sign? And you can’t hear anything? And you’re like, ‘Omigod! My car has died!’ And then all of a sudden you step on the gas and you’re going again.

  32. Sorry about the kids sneaking in here.

  33. Yes, I remember when Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore did their part for the planet, jetting around the world to the backwoods where life expectancy approaches 45 years and people live in mud huts picking bugs outta their hair. Both these bubble heads then gushed to the MTV crowd about how less is more and how much fun it was to shit in the woods.

  34. James, thanks for the informative post.

    TP Goiter, one of my neighbors put in an exotic solar system that cost a LOT of money. It’s good enough to spin the meter backwards but it turns out Edison is not obligated to buy the electricty he is generating.

    BTW, you and Chad must have really big back yards. Those windmills have a span of 175 feet.

  35. “investing in a reforestation project in Germany and windmills and compact fluorescent lighting in Jamaica” at a cost of $10,000.

    Hmm.. whatever. And “invest[ment] in” doesn’t mean ‘mitigation’.

    db:
    Not to be a cynic or anything, but wake me when some of the higher-profile environmentally-conscious Hollywood types voluntarily car pool to the location and forego air travel.

    What you said. I want to see Hollywood hurt over their environmental stances. I’m not even getting out of my metaphorical bed in the morning until I see Barbara Streisand hanging her laundry on a line.

  36. Leo Dicaprio is hip to his occupational impact on the planet. I think this link has already been tossed around here, but here it is again:

    http://www.tmz.com/2006/10/18/celebs-who-claim-theyre-green-but-guzzle-gas

  37. investing in a reforestation project in Germany

    I could have sworn I read somewhere that trees are a net contributor to global warmenizing.

    Way to go, eco-nerds!

  38. I could have sworn I read somewhere that trees are a net contributor to global warmenizing.

    I understand that it depends on which stage of development the forest is in.

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