Monday, July 26, 2010

A word about our green production office

our good friend Carl at the Recycling Center in Pottstown

So, it turns out I don't know nearly as much about recycling as I thought.

At our inaugural new-office meeting, Jenny and Kristin went over our mission "to reduce our carbon footprint on an indie filmmaker's budget" and how it applies to our new space. We're enacting all sorts of new plans to keep our film green-friendly. Keep in mind, this is only the "office plan," our "locations plan" is still in the works for next week.

We've organized our recycling to collect every single plastic category there is, and even if Philly won't pick most of them up, we know where to bring the rest. We've got reusable cloth bags for when we need to buy something (at the local mom 'n' pop store, of course) and a bunch of friends for when we can just borrow instead. We're pulling all plugs before we leave at night (to save ourselves from vampires!) and we bring our own reusable take-out containers when we buy lunch. We even have a communal bike for running local errands - isn't that something?

We are doing our best to stay green - conserving our energy usage, recycling and reusing as much as possible, and choosing local businesses over large corporations - but in the end, we are an independent film, and we have a tight budget. So for those times when Whole Foods gets a little too expensive to feed an indie film crew, don't get too upset, we're doing the best we can!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Man, a Plan, a Fan(tastic) new intern

He's young, ambitious, and bearded - what more can you ask for? After graduating from American University, Zac moved to the Old Oak Homestead in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as part of the
WWOOF program. Camera-in-hand and typing when he could, his five-hour work day allowed for plenty of interesting stories that he has already entertained us with. So without further adieu, allow me to introduce the newest member of our production team, Zac Kind.

Hello everyone, I've come to Future Weather after experiencing life working and living on an organic farm. It's been a bit of a culture shock going from a farm to a city, but I have been welcomed with open arms by the Future Weather team.

As Dan mentioned, I spent the last month and a half working on an organic farm in Chapel Hill, as part of a not-for-profit work exchange program called World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or WWOOF. We worked four to five hours a day on a sustainable vegetable garden in exchange for room and board provided by our host, Barbara Trent. Barbara, a documentary filmmaker, directed Panama Deception, a powerful film about the 1989 US war with Panama. it won the Oscar for Best Documentary film in 1993. Barbara brought this 7-acre land 10 years ago and started with a half-acre vegetable garden. She's now expanded this into a 2-acre plot and it's still growing.

Working as a "wwoofer" was a revelatory learning experience, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. It is great to live on a farm for awhile and work with your hands, watching life grow right in front of your eyes. There's something magical about working with the soil every day, then all of the sudden things start to sprout from the ground and you're rewarded with fresh food that you can just break off and eat. We harvested kale, gold tomatoes, squash, carrots, onions, sweet peas, and bees' honey.

We extracted five gallons of organic honey! I was really excited to be a part of this process because not only is local honey delicious, it's really good for you as well. If your allergies are bad during the summer months, take a teaspoon of honey a day and your allergies will go down immensely. The bees eat pollen and then you eat the honey, and little by little your immune system breaks down the pollen which helps you build a high tolerance for it. Not a bad trade-off if you ask me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rally for the Delaware River Basin Watershed!

Act Now! TOMORROW, Wednesday July 14th, a public meeting will be held by the Delaware River Basin Commission at the West Trenton Volunteer Company, located at 40 West Upper Ferry Road.

On June 14, 2010 the Delaware River Basin Commission(DRBC) expanded its original Executive Director Determination(EDD) that was issued on May 19, 2009 regarding the review of natural gas extraction and development in the Delaware River Watershed to cover "exploratory" natural gas wells in addition to production wells.

Just one month after the EDD was issued, activists will gather TOMORROW to tell the DRBC that they need to include ALL NATURAL GAS PROJECTS in the Delaware River Watershed study, thereby putting in place a moratorium while they address this.

Join the cause and team up with other local supporters @ 1PM to rally before the DRBC meeting. This meeting will be followed by a Public Comment session where five Commissioners, representing PA, NY, NY, DE and the Federal Government, will listen to the public. We'll have about 3 minutes each.

Buses are coming from all around the Watershed! We need your voice!

Transportation Info:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How Green is the Gov?

In the past few years, PennEnvironment has begun to score State House Representatives and Senators on their green efforts (so much for the white house!).

In 2007, the organization launched the scorecard program, to evaluate clean energy, fossil fuels, and wind energy efforts, to name a few. By 2008, the PA State House had voted for new clean energy legislation, established policies to protect open spaces, and increased funding for public transportation.

Sadly, the PA Senator scorecards haven't been good enough to stick to the fridge. Between 2006 and 2008, the Senate halted new clean air standards, voted to raid state conservation programs, and tried to stall regulations to reduce mercury pollution.

With the elections looming this November, keep an eye out for the A+ House District Members Robert Freeman, David Kessler, and PA Senator Andrew Dinniman, and get involved in your local green government!

We finally have a home!

Today, we officially moved into the Production Office!

The Future Weather team woke up early this morning for some tasty muffins at our very first team meeting at Sherman Mills in East Falls, PA! Afterward, the group dispersed for location scouting!

Stay tuned for updates as we settle in!

Monday, July 5, 2010

We won a scientist!

As part of our FIND Sloan Grant, we've been awarded a friendly scientist! When Kristin and Jenny were in L.A. last week, they were finally able to meet Wolfgang Buermann, a geologist and assistant professor at UCLA, to discuss FUTURE WEATHER and the scientific issues woven into the story

Wolfgang, a movie-lover himself, enjoyed the intersection of environmental science and activism in FUTURE WEATHER. He has been an environmentalist since witnessing the formation of the Green Party in Germany in his teens (the hot topic then was nuclear power), and this sparked his interest in physics.

Wolfgang's research on carbon sinks and the terrestrial carbon cycle were the perfect foundation for the discussion of Laduree's experiment on comparing two trees' abilities to sequester CO2. He even provided Jenny with allometric equations to calculate the biomass of each tree. Plus, his studies of changing patterns in biodiversity provided an excellent background for discussing Laduree's mission to save the Ohio Pigtoe.

Jenny was a little worried when it came time to review Laduree's predictions for ways that increasing atmospheric CO2 may change our lives in the coming decades, but according to Wolfgang, her predictions were all scientifically sound. Yikes!

Wolfgang's field work has brought him all over the U.S., Finland, Sweden, and southern Africa (among other places) to research how current patterns of biodiversity are linked to contemporary environmental gradients and historical processes. Considering the fact that he's studied terrestrial hot spots around the world and performed postdoctoral research under a recognized pioneer in the field of climate research and carbon cycles, we think it's safe to assume he knows what he's talking about.

With his knowledge of topics that are at the forefront of current environmental issues, and the help he has already offered our film (after just one meeting!), we are grateful to welcome Dr. Buermann to our team.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Philly! Film! Festival! Finally! Fantastic! Fun!

Attention! Attention! The Philadelphia Film Society has released the lineup for the upcoming 18 1/2 Philadelphia International Film Festival!

A half a year older and all the much wiser, the Society has appointed Michael Lerman as the new Director of Programming. Previously, Lerman served as the Associate Programmer for the Philadelphia Film Festival, so he will also curate for filmadelphiaINDEPENDENT and filmadelphiaDOCUMENTARY. As usual, Philly is filled with movie-making talent, and Lerman proudly agrees, reflecting that "the ever-growing community here of filmmakers and [film] lovers is what first made me fall in love with film."

The Festival, which runs from Oct 15 - 19th, will premiere with F. Gary Gray's Law Abiding Citizen, and will close with local filmmaker Lee Daniels' Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire. Precious received several Academy nominations, including Best Female Supporting Actress (Mo'nique) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Fletcher).

So allow me to speculate just a bit when I say that it will be well worth the wait.

Stay tuned for updates on our local film community!