Saving the planet through story is how Arianna shaped the green panel she moderated at the Produced By Conference held at Sony Picture Studios over the weekend. The Conference was put on by the Producer’s Guild of America and co-helmed by the legendary Gale Anne Hurd.
If a person’s clout can be measured by the resources they can commandeer, then Hurd is most certainly still at the top of the Hollywood heap. Not only was the Sony Pictures Studio lot supremely pleasant to stroll around, but volunteers were everywhere to assist with even small things like fetching water. Seriously.
And Sunday’s complimentary lunch featured no less than 10 honey wagons set up to serve the likes of lobster rolls, shrimp tempura and teriyaki flank steak. Hurd commented to me that people were already asking her when next year’s conference was going to happen and said that “we didn’t even think we’d pull this one off!” They expected 600 attendees – 900 paying producers showed up.
HuffPo’s very own Arianna moderated the second of the Green panels and was introduced to the audience by Fred Baron, EVP of Production for 20th Century Fox. In her characteristically insightful way, she directed the conversation towards the power of storytelling to effect changed behavior. She referenced a favored passage of hers in Hamlet that speaks of “Capturing the conscience of the King.” She explained that the conscience we’re trying to capture is public opinion.
On that note, Roland Emmerich, producer of The Day After Tomorrow chimed in saying, “I’m not an environmentalist, but my movie, The Day After Tomorrow, was hailed as the first green movie,” he said, adding that he’d just gone for a ride in his friend, Dean’s, Tesla and that it went faster than his car – “…and it’s electric!”
Emmerich and Arianna then reminisced back to the moment just after he’d screened his movie in a church and Al Gore had been in the audience. He recalled that afterwards Al Gore had said, we need to make a movie about global warming. And then came An Inconvenient Truth. “I can vouch for that. I was there at the church, too,” said Arianna.
Dr. Kevin Geiss, the Deputy Sr. Energy Executive for the Army, sat on Arianna’s left. “Anything we do will be big and will have impact. You can help us with the storytelling part,” he said to the attending audience of producers and Hollywood creative community. He noted that the Army is deploying 4,000 electric vehicles on their bases . “We are doing this not just to go green but also because we have federal mandates. Both the carrot and the stick can help change behavior. It wasn’t just the last year or two that we woke up to this issue that we need to be good stewards of our resources.”
The Green panel was sponsored by Plymouth Rock Studios which is a new studio being built in Massachusetts that will be Platinum LEED certified. It will be open in 2011 and when complete, it will be five times larger than Sony and four times larger than Paramount. Dr. Earl Lestz who heads up the Plymouth Rock Studios project also spoke on Arianna’s panel and said that “When the filmmakers come to our studio, they’re not going to want to come anywhere else.”
He illustrated that the green features of the studio will be both obvious and not. For example, Plymouth Rock sound stages will be metered. There is no other studio that does that. This will allow for productions to measure their energy use and determine how to be more effective. There will be green roofs. They will grow their own vegetables and also buy produce from the local organic farmers.
Arianna asked: “So what you’re saying is that Plymouth Rock is doing something so great that all other studios will want to follow suit?”
Andrea Robinson, Founder and Director of ARC Sustainability commented, “We need to make something terrifying sexy.” At the Produced By Conference Green Panels, the PGA proudly rolled out their new PGA/Green resources guide which they feature on their website. The project was a collaboration between the PGA and Fox Studios who allowed them to fold their own resource guide, compiled to a great extent by Fox Sustainability’s Lisa Day, into their resource listing.
The Producers Guild of America comprises 4000 members working in all areas of film, television, and ancillary production. The Guild’s leadership, guided by its President, Marshall Herskovitz is committed to just treatment for members of the producing team, from rigorous enforcement of workplace labor laws to fair and impartial standards for the awarding of producing credits.
On another note – Sunday also saw the Young Hollywood Life Awards: The Green Award was given to Q’Orianka Kilcher, presented by Philippe Cousteau. Q’Orianka is EXTREMELY green. The young Oscar nominee in Santa Monica Sunday night preferred to drink from the water cooler rather than waste a bottle of water. She showed up in a green car, and she talked about how everything she is wearing and always wears is recycled — vintage from second-hand stores. During her acceptance speech, she spoke about world issues. Q’Orianka’s hair was done by Sebastian.