Wednesday, August 26, 2015

''Cli-Fi'' at the Movies: Can ''Hollywood'' Save the Planet? -- MAYBE! (Knock on Wood!)

TRUE,''cli-fi'' movies are just entertainment and in a world that is so very distracted by 500 TV channels and 10,000 internet playforms/platforms, so Hollywood has a lot of work to do to helo save the planet with well-written and well-produced cli-fi movies. Only we can save the planet, but Hollywood can help too! Cli-fi is here to make a difference!

Here are what some ''clexperts'' are saying about cli fi movies and why they matter. Your take?

NOTE: [*clexperts* is a new coinage meaning "climate experts."]

Cli-fi movies are generated for the purpose of entertainment rather than public empowerment. They  may increase people's sense of concern by giving climate change the shape of a powerful movie, the way 'ON THE BEACH' was a powerful anti-nuclear war movie in 1959. While I'm skeptical that cli-fi movies can raise overall awareness of climate change and AGW, I do think that it might intensify concern amongst the public at large and amongst those people who are already engaged. There is a large body of solid research evidence that demonstrates that well-produced cinematic visions of climate change issues can feed concern and compassion for future generations yet to come.
I predict that “cli-fi” will shift views, yes.
There is way too much silence on the topic, and 'cli-fi' is a welcome addition that could help people talk about climate change more.  To build conviction, cli-fi movies will need to contain stories about a successful struggle to defend shared values with a resolution in a world that is stable, secure and, in some ways, better."

-- George Marshall, founder of Climate Outreach Information Network and author of ''Don't Even Think About It: Why our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change''
Cli-fi films continue some of the same trends we note occurring in monstrous nature cinema, including drawing on anthropomorphism to both humanize and vilify nonhuman nature. Cli-fi films may present important environmental messages, but they also must entertain viewers with spectacular effects to attract audiences. Although there are few studies on the effects cli-fi films have on viewers’awareness of AGW issues, the cli-fi movement has definitely made its mark on classic and contemporary cinema."
- Professors Robin Murray and Joseph Heumann, authors of books on films exploring environmental issues.


''Hollywood movies are the place to go for entertainment; they are not the place to go for information. Typically, movies present a much more extreme view of a future under climate change than what is likely to occur. Movies deal with our anxieties as well as our desire for entertainment. There is evidence from paleo-climate records of abrupt changes happening over a decade or two, but not over several days [as in ''The Day After Tomorrow'']. The idea that somehow global warming will trigger an ice age has no basis whatsoever in sound science. This was an invention of Hollywood.” 

-- Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology.


"The research on ''The Day After Tomorrow'' suggests that it raised awareness. It seems to have been successful also at raising awareness in the U.S., possibly because previous levels of awareness were lower than elsewhere -- or because its release was accompanied by more publicity here. The movie was, as one pundit put it, an 'event-film'."

-- Michael Svoboda, George Washington University


Global warming, as laid out by scientists, is the antithesis of 'news' -- incremental, still largely masked by natural climate variability, with widespread subtle effects and the worst outcomes projected decades, if not generations in the future. That's why the issue, somewhat like the national debt or other creeping risks, tends to hide in plain sight.  [Climate issues are a difficult fit for conventional media, and they're even a worse fit for Hollywood.] When they do  make it into a film, there's inevitable [Hollywood] exaggeration, which is a normal part of the process of making any dystopian, action or horror film. Villains are cartoons, monsters are outsized, and heroes are, too. So from 'Waterworld' to 'The Day After Tomorrow' and 'Snowpiercer' and onward, it's not surprising to see stark futures full of conflict."  
-- Andrew Revkin, DOT EARTH blog, New York Times

It's my hope that cli-fi movies will inspire audiences worldwide and lead to actions or fundamental changes in their perspectives, and I have seen that happening already. There's been a sea change and cli-fi is in the air. True, Hollywood is mostly about entertainment, pure and simple, and making a profit for the bottom line people who do the accounting books, but at the same time, in the right hands, with producers who care and "get it" and with screenwriters who are are not afraid to speak truth to power, I think movies can make a huge difference. That's why I am working day and night 24/7 to make cli-fi part of the culture at large.”
-- Dan Bloom, movie buff and climate activist

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