Sundance Film Festival

Unlimited Resources?

Park City, UT — For 25 minutes on Friday night, the lights of Park City’s main street went out. A circuit breaker problem sent nearly 1,400 people out of downtown restaurants, bars, parties and boutiques into the already crowded street. People used the glow of their cell phones and blackberries to navigate their way through dark hallways and back stair wells. In the end, the power came back up – neon bar lights went aglow, stereo speakers refilled with music, and the party went on. And while no filmmakers were hurt during the making of this power outage, the incident provided a reminder of how easily our energy comes – and goes.

Two films this year have taken stock of the limited resources we have to live on. John Tickell’s FIELDS OF FUEL [www.fieldsoffuel.com] chronicles one man’s journey to find a way out of the current energy mess, as well as an investigation into how we got here. The documentary is all about movement – the physical fuel necessary to move us, the emotions of fear, and the intellectual resources we’ll need to form a political movement. And it makes this idea material by literally crossing the country in a vehicle powered by biodiesel. Here in Park City, FIELDS OF FUEL again is taking its message to the streets and screen. Josh Tickell and his team of volunteers have been making their way through Park City handing out buttons, caps and pamphlets urging us to “Make Fuel, Not War.” Tickell found a welcome audience here but admits, “most people were admittedly confused about biodiesel (is it made from used cooking grease? Where do you buy it? How do you make your car run on it?).”


FIELDS OF FUEL

Irena Salina’s FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER [www.flowthefilm.com] reminds us that even the things we take for granted shouldn’t be. Covering the globe, FLOW has a thirst for understanding the multiple ways – from commercial wells in Africa to social movements in India – that water controls and makes possible governments, economies, and our lives. But like FIELDS OF FUEL, the filmmakers are not content with just making a movie. The filmmakers are part of a larger movement, including lobbying for a petition for Article 31 [article31.org], an amendment to the United Nation Articles of International Rights that would recognize water as a human right.


FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER

Eco-culture is the next – and, as many warn, final — frontier here in Park City. In The Gateway Center, “The Giving Suite” [www.givingsuite.com] offers for sale merchandise whose profits go to a range of non-profit eco-friendly organizations, including “Earth Pledge” [www.earthpledge.org], which involves groups, including film productions, to commit to eco-friendly methods, “Our Future Now” [www.ourfuturenow.org], which seeks eco-consciousness through music and art, and “Healthy World, Healthy Child” [www.healthychild.org], whose mandate is sort of self explanatory. Earth Pledge is also hooked into the Lexus House, which is, of course, sporting their new hybrid. And Timberland has a place on Main Street to promote footwear made of recycled products. And “TheFindGreen.com” not only has an “eco-stop” among this year’s marketers, but also an ongoing blog [www.thefindgreen.com]. You can even party green with “Vodka 360″ [www.vodka360.com], which labels itself the “Official Spirit of the Sundance Film Festival.”

You can follow – or make — your own green path at THE GREEN [www.sundance.tv].

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Peter Bowen

Editor, FilmInFocus.com