Bulletin September 2006
Volume 74 | Issue 5
September 2006

ACUI introduces sustainability film series

As part of ACUI’s efforts in the area of sustainability, this film list has been created. The hope is that programming boards can use the list as a framework for a film series. Your campus can show films about topics related to sustainability weekly or monthly. Additionally, you could partner with another department, such as political science, engineering, or biology, to include a panel discussion about each film’s topic. The 50 movies included are not all about ecology, nor all social justice issues; they are not all documentaries, nor all mainstream; they are not all old, nor all recently in theaters. There is a variety to attract different audiences as you plan programs for a diverse campus community.

The first 15 movies come highly recommended from undergraduate students at Auburn University, who volunteered to screen films for this project. The films listed after the 15 are suggested alternatives, as no campus has the same tastes, interests, or needs.

1) Blue Vinyl (2002)
Motivated by her parents’ decision to replace their rotting wood with vinyl siding, Peabody Award-winner Judith Helfand and co-director and award-winning cinematographer Daniel B. Gold set on an worldwide journey to unearth the truth about polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, America’s most popular plastic.
A humorous and horrifying film, “Blue Vinyl” puts a human face on the danger posed by PVC from factory to incinerator. The film won the Cinematography Award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.
Find out more at: www.bluevinyl.org/animationlow.htm  

2) The Next Industrial Revolution (2001)
With a positive outlook on the future, “The Next Industrial Revolution” brings to life architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart’s idea of eco-efficiency. The two men work with companies such as Nike and Ford to redesign buildings, processes, and products in accordance with the rules of nature.
Exploring McDonough and Braungart’s work in both Europe and the United States, the film details how businesses are renovating to work with nature and enhance profitability. “The Next Industrial Revolution” has won several awards, including The Chris Award from the Columbus International Film and Video Festival.
Find out more at: www.bullfrogfilms.com    

3) The Future of Food (2004)
As genetically engineered foods fill the shelves of grocery stores, filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia takes the food revolution head-on. “The Future of Food” reveals the truth about the new type of food that is showing up on dinner tables.
The film gives the farmers from Canada to Mexico, who are affected negatively by the new process, a chance to speak out. “The Future of Food” explores the political and market forces and corporate takeover of the food industry that is resulting in this altered food.
Find more at: www.thefutureoffood.com  

4) An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
“An Inconvenient Truth” is a film dedicated to showing the truth about global warming. After 2005, the worst storm season experienced in America, the film details the facts of the phenomenon and tells of how everyone must work to change or the earth will go into a period of extreme weather, with floods, drought, and killer heat waves causing epic destruction.
Featuring Al Gore, “An Inconvenient Truth” breaks down the scientific logic in an eye-opening and entertaining fashion.
Find out more at: www.climatecrisis.net

5) The Corporation (2003)
The most prevailing institution of time, a corporation has been legally defined as a person since the mid-1800s. Now, writer Joel Bakan and his team have set out to find out what type of person a corporation is.
“The Corporation” is an amusing and informative film filled with news clips, advertising, corporate propaganda, and 40 interviews with corporate insiders and critics. The film is the winner of 25 international awards, including Best Documentary Genie Award.
Find out more at: www.thecorporation.com   

6) The End of Suburbia (2004)
For many, the American Dream was realized with the creation of suburbia. Over the past 50 years, the suburban life has been embedded into American consciousness. However, as serious questions about the earth and environment arise, the future of suburbia is questioned.
“The End of Suburbia” explores the suburban American Dream and its future as the planet embarks on the inevitable era of depleted fossil fuels. Made by writer/director Gregory Greene and producer/editor Barry Silverthorn, “The End of Suburbia” was awarded the Bronze World Medal from New York Festivals. 
Find out more at: www.endofsuburbia.com 

7) Affluenza (1997)
Filmmakers John de Graaf and Vivia Boe have defined a new social disease that has negative impacts on families, communities, and the environment. The disease is caused by consumerism, commercialism, and materialism that cause people to want more stuff, but have less time, resulting in the deterioration of lifestyle. 
With personal narrative, historians, and film clips, “Affluenza” explores the dramatic change from a thrifty to extreme consumer society. The film has won several awards, including Best Documentary at the National Wilbur Awards.
Find out more at: www.bullfrogfilms.com

8) Escape From Affluenza (1998)
A sequal to “Affluenza,” filmmakers John de Graaf and Vivia Boe are out to convince Americans to free themselves from the life of ultraconsumerism. Both thought-provoking and humorous, the film shows people how to consume less and simplify their lives.
Offering real life accounts of those who have already rediscovered living, “Escape from Affulenza” was awarded Honorable Mention from the Columbus International Film and Video Festival.
Find out more at: www.bullfrogfilms.com 

9) Kilowatt Ours (2005)
Dedicated to finding an answer to America’s energy problems, filmmaker Jeff Barrie travels across the United States from coal mines to solar panel fields. Through the film, Barrie shows how to save hundreds on energy bills and how companies can provide an immense relief to the environment by becoming Net Zero buildings.
“Kilowatt Ours” was an Official Selection for both the Freedom Cinema Festival and the Activist Film Festival.
Find out more at: www.kilowattours.org/news-media-resources.php

10) Baraka (1992)
“Baraka” relies on pictures as opposed to words to show the destruction going on around the world. The film begins with scenes of nature—volcanoes, waterfalls, forests—and people—monks praying, whole villages dancing—at work. Then, the scenes of life turn to scenes of destruction through logging, poverty, and war. Without words, director Ron Fricke hopes to show his version of the world.
Find out more at: www.imdb.com/title/tt0103767   

11) The Power of One (1992)
Based on the novel by the same name, “The Power of One” is the story of a white boy who grows up in South Africa, where he witnesses the horrible treatment of Africans. From his childhood experiences, the boy obtains a passion for changing the world.
From director John Avildsen, “The Power of One” stars Stephen Dorff and Morgan Freeman.
For out more at: www.teenink.com/Past/2002/June/Movies/ThePowerofOne.html   

12) Supersize Me (2004)
Committed to showing his audience first-hand the results to living on a fast food-only diet, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock lived on a McDonald’s-only diet for a month. “Supersize Me” documents Spurlock from Day 1 of his new diet.
“Supersize Me” offers insight into the negative effects of fast food as well as school lunches, the decline of health and psychical education classes, food addictions, and unhealthy dieting. The film has won more than 20 awards, including Best Director from the Sundance Film Festival.
Find out more at: www.supersizeme.com/home.aspx?page=aboutmovie    

13) Earth on the Edge: Bill Moyer’s Report (2001)
“Earth on the Edge”
is a PBS documentary about an international group of 70 scientists, who, in 1999, analyzed the five ecosystems—freshwater, agricultural, forests, grasslands, and costal—on which all life most greatly depends.
In this documentary, the scientists reveal their findings, along with stories of individuals who are dedicated to restore the health of the world.
Find out more at: www.pbs.org/earthonedge  

14) Dam/Age (2002)
BullFrog films documents the story of writer Arundhati Roy and her fight against the Narmada dam project in India, which will displace up to a million people. Famous for her book “The God of Small Things,” Roy used her fame to start a campaign against the dam and its corporate and government supporters.
From the start of her fight to her imprisonment, “Dam/Age” not only allows Roy to stand up against the dam, but also mediate on the consequences of development and globalization and the immediate need for state accountability and freedom of speech.
Find out more at: www.bullfrogfilms.com 

15) Wetback (2005)
While most all Americans are conscious of the growing number of migrant workers and illegal immigrants, not many really understand why these Central and South Americans take the risk of coming to America. In “Wetback,” filmmakers Arturo Pereze and Heather Haynes provide an exclusive look into why people risk their lives everyday just to cross the border.
Told from the immigrants’ point of view, “Wetback” covers their journey to America. The film has won four awards, including Winner of the Spectrum Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.
Find out more at: www.ironweedfilms.com

Other recommended films

(alphabetical order)
 16) The Ad and the Ego (1996)
 17) Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh (1994)
 18) Arctic Refuge: A Vanishing Wilderness (1990)
 19) The Nature of Things: Biomimicry – Learning from Nature (2003)
 20) Building Sustainability with the Natural Step (1998)
 21) Buyer Be Fair: The Promise of
Product Certification (2006)
 22) The Constant Gardener (2005)
 23) The Day after Tomorrow (2004)
 24) Drumbeat for Mother Earth (1999)
 25) Erin Brockovich (2000)
 26) Freedom Song (2000)
 27) Frontline: In Our Children’s Food (PBS)
 28) Garbage (1999)
 29) Global Warming: The Signs and the Science (PBS)
 30)  Globalization and Nature (2002)
 31) Hotel Rwanda (2004)
 32) In Pursuit of Happiness (2005)
 33) The Killing Fields (1984)
 34) The Lorax (1972)
 35) The Man Who Planted Trees (1987)
 36) Milagro Bean Field War (1988)
 37)  Not the Numbers Game (1996)
 38)  Paul Ehrlich and the Population Bomb (1996)
 39) Power Shift (2004)
 40) Power Trip (2003)
 41)  Razing Appalachia (PBS)
 42) Rising Waters (2000)
 43)  Silent Spring (1993)
 44) Smart Growth (1998)
 45) Velocity (2002)
 46)  Web of Life: Exploring Biodiversity (1995)
 47)  Whalerider (2002)
 48)  Who’s Counting (1995)
 49)  World on Fire (music video Sarah McLachlan)
 50)  The Women’s Bank of Bangladesh (1997)

For more information about this project or ACUI’s other sustainability efforts, please e-mail acui@acui.org