Saturday, November 15, 2014

A short Q & A on cli fi movies and the Cli Fi Movie Awards program

QUESTION: What, in your view, should movie-goers see in a fully realized cli-fi film?----------- ANSWER: They should see and digest a story that touches them at a deep emotional level and which inspires and motivates them, upon leaving the theater or turning off the DVD, to try to take some personal or group actions to try to stop climate change and global warming. ------------------------ QUESTION: Why aren't we seeing these things? ------------------- ANSWER: Cli fi is such a new term and such a new genre of cinema that most Hollywood studio chiefs and producers and screenwriters and directors have not heard of the term yet. They are only familiar with the sci fi term. But the purpose of my work popularizing the cli fi term in the media is to try to reach into the bowels of the Hollywood system and perhaps inspire some major studios -- and indie producers too -- to turn their gaze to the cli fi genre for future films. But this will take some time. Since most big movies take 5 to ten years to get greenlighted and released, sometimes more, we won't be seeing that many cli fi films until around 2020 or 2025 or 2030. But as the word gets out, as the cli fi term reaches into Hollywood inner circles, more screenwriters will write cli fi scripts and more producers will greenlight them. This is a long term project, the popularizing of the cli fi motif, and it won't happen overnight. But this past summer the PR department of INTO THE STORM called the movie "a cli fi movie" in the press materials and press releases to the media, and many media outlets picked up on the term and used it in print in the reviews and interviews, among them PAGE SIX of the NY Post, TIME magazine, and the AFP -- French News Agency -- which released dozens wire stories about INTO THE STORM as ''a cli fi movie'' in its Spanish, French and Portuguese wire service stories. For some odd reason, AFP's English language news department did not use the cli fi term in its news stories about INTO THE STORM. ------------- QUESTION: What derails more realistic depictions of climate change in major motion pictures?------------------ ANSWER: As many film critics and cultural observers have noted, Hollywood is afraid of ticking off the rightwing conservatives and the climate denialists in the American movie-going public, and they know that any realisetic depiction of climate change issues in an American movie will get so much negative reactions from the rightwing and conservative movie critics at places like the Wall Street Journal and National Review and Weekly Standard that the studios want to stay clear of that. What derails more realistic depictions of climate change issues? Money, the need to make a profit to please corporate shareholders and fear of upsetting the vocal and insane rightwing in the American culture wars. It's not about science. It's about the culture wars. The Hollywood studios need to play it safe in order to make money. But this is changing slowly, and I believe we will see more daring movies from Hollywood and indie directors about climate change in the near futuire. But not overnight. It will take ten to twenty years, maybe 30. Hollywood will move on this, but slowly. -------------------- QUESTION: What feature film released in the last 15 years or so do you think came closest to the mark?---------------- ANSWER: None. But in a strange way, both ''THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW'' and ''SNOWPIERCER'', which were not released or presented as cli fi movies but in many ways can be called cli fi films now in retrospect, had a broad appeal with movie-goers and while the science on both films was wrong -- global cooling? WTF? -- perhaps because filming an Ice Age is more colorful and romantic on film than depecting a hot, dry wasteland where agriculture has collapsed. HBO is now developing Margaret Atwood's MADDADDAM trilogy of novels into a movie to be directed by Darren Aronofsk of NOAH fame. so there's hope that MADDADDAM might become the world's first verifiable and studio-blessed cli fi movie. [And in the archives there was a 1933 cli fi movie titled DELUGE directed by Felix Feist for RKO studios and some footage remains online at YouTube with Italian subtitl3es since the movie print was rescued after being found by chance in an Italian film museum by sci fi coiner Forrest Ackermann.]============== QUESTION: What are you hoping to accomplish with the Cli Fi Movie Awards program, dubbed ''The Cliffies''?------------- ANSWER: I set up the Cli Fi Movie Awards (aka ''The Cliffies'' in a semi-humorous way and named that nickname to recognize and honor a special person who was a Cliffie herself at Radcliffe College in the graduate studies department and who went on to become a major international author of speculative fiction and some might even say cli fi novels) program to accomplish one major goal: to get the cli fi term better known inside the bowels of Hollywood and to use the PR surrounding the Cliffies to motivate studios and indepenedents to greenlight real cli fi movies in the future. So the Cliffies are an incubator. They are not about glitz or glamor on awards night. They are about issuing a wake up call to Hollywood and the movie going public. ---------------------------- QUESTION: As I understand it, this year's Cliffies winners were selected through a consultation process you conducted with a small group of advisors. -------------- ANSWER: Yes.----------- QUESTION: Any plans to allow members of the broader climate change community to participate in the process, perhaps by some form of voting? --------------------- ANSWER: Yes. In future years, winners will be selected by a broader polling and voting system, perhaps via email or an Internet platform to allow members of the broader climate change community worldwide, not just in America or Canada, to participate in the process, and yes, by some form of voting.that will include the public at large as well. The goal of the Cliffies is to involve as many people as possible in the nomination and selection process, and I am working on that now.

No comments: