Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hollywood player Marshall Herskowitz on why there's need for more cli-fi movies now and in the future


Could some related influ­ence come from Hollywood?
My busi­ness is a dis­as­ter in this area. There’s no inter­est at all. I tried to sell  a pilot that dealt with cli­mate change this year. Not one net­work would go near it.

Wouldn’t go near it.

And was cli­mate change very cen­tral to it?
It took place in 2085. It existed in a world that had been utterly trans­formed by cli­mate change; cli­mate change was every­where. It was called “Storm World.” In the open­ing scene, you have a guy in his kitchen in New York City, and he’s look­ing out the win­dow and you are see­ing the beau­ti­ful trees and a nice vista; he does a lit­tle ges­ture and all of a sud­den the win­dow changes to what’s actu­ally out­side – a Cat­e­gory Four hur­ri­cane. A giant branch hits the win­dow and bounces off because every­thing is reinforced.
Basi­cally, they just live in storms all the time. And it just goes on from there. In the show, by 2085, 25 mil­lion Amer­i­cans had to be removed from where they lived because where they lived had been inun­dated, and so they set up what they called “The Ter­ri­to­ries” in the West. Most of the Dako­tas and Utah had been turned into, essen­tially, refugee camps for 25 mil­lion peo­ple to live because there was no other place for them. And these were Amer­i­cans. This dis­place­ment had com­pletely messed up the econ­omy and the pol­i­tics of America.
So the show was essen­tially try­ing to say: this is what is going to hap­pen if we don’t change, that’s the world we are going to live in. The story itself was some­what of a melo­drama. It was using cli­mate change as the background.

And why do you think none of the net­works would go near it?
Because they are not in the busi­ness of mak­ing peo­ple mad. In other words, they are try­ing to max­i­mize their audi­ence, and this is still very polar­iz­ing in the coun­try. I think they feel that for a lot of peo­ple, it’s a turn off.
The TV show "My So-Called Life" (Claire Danes) and the film "Blood Diamond" (Leonardo DiCaprio) are two projects Herskovitz has produced.
The TV show “My So-Called Life” (Claire Danes) and the film “Blood Dia­mond” (Leonardo DiCaprio) are among Herskovitz’s twenty-seven pro­ducer credits.

Among the peo­ple you work with, is there a gen­eral aware­ness and a sense of urgency? Is it just that they don’t want to offend the parts of the coun­try that are still anti cli­mate action? Or, is it an issue that is not on the minds of most peo­ple who are work­ing in the industry?

It’s very much on people’s minds. I just think they feel pow­er­less, they don’t know what to do about it. I feel like I’ve been more active than any of my friends, and I feel pow­er­less at this point.

Herskovitz was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a Jewish family,[2] the son of Frieda (née Schreiber) and Alexander Herskovitz.[1] Herskovitz attended Brandeis University, graduating in 1973. He entered the AFI Conservatory in 1975, where he and Edward Zwick first met.

He frequently collaborates with Zwick, with whom he runs the film and television production company The Bedford Falls Company, named for the fictional town in the classic film It's A Wonderful Life. Their most recent project is the film "Love and Other Drugs". In 2007 Herskovitz ventured into the world of broadband production with the original series Quarterlife, which debuted on MySpace and a dedicated social network also called "quarterlife". It garnered enough views to be picked up by NBC and aired in 2008, but was quickly canceled.

Since May 2005, he has been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post. Herskovitz was featured in The Dialogue interview series. In this 90-minute interview with journalist Jay A. Fernandez, he delves into the mediocrity of the industry, the voices that writers hear in their heads and why it's best to write first and ask questions later.

Herskovitz served as president of the Producers Guild of America from 2006–2010.

He was married to screenwriter Susan Shilliday from 1981–1993. They have two daughters.
Herskovitz married photographer Landry Major in 2015

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