Sundance officials describe Kitchell's film as "a definitive history of one of the most important movements of the 20th century," saying it "chronicles the environmental movement’s fascinating evolution from the 1960s to the present."
“This really opens a lot of doors,” Kitchell told me on the phone from his editing studio in San Francisco after learning the news. “Now we’re in a six-week rush to get it ready. I’m tightening, tightening, tightening the film. We’ve got a ton of work to do.”
It’s the second bit of good news in a month. Kitchell recently added a veteran executive producer to the project. Marc Weiss, an independent producer who created the PBS documentary series P.O.V. in the late 1980s, came aboard after seeing the film in November. “I thought it was terrific -- incredibly timely and important,” Weiss said last week.
Weiss has recently been working with 350.org, the climate activism group led by OnEarth contributing editor Bill McKibben. (Weiss’ short film on last September’s 350.org rally at the United Nations can be seen here.) “I’ve felt an increasing sense of urgency about climate change, and one of the great things about Mark’s film is that it sets the stage for tackling that challenge,” Weiss said. “The first four chapters, in their own complex ways, illustrate the success of the environmental movement. That gives us a sense of possibility in taking on climate change, the biggest challenge of all. If people collectively address it, then we can have an impact. We’ve done it before.”
Other environmentally themed documentaries included in this year’s Sundance Film Festival include The Atomic States of America and Chasing Ice, in which a photographer tracks the decline of the world's glaciers. “There’s talk of a panel discussion with other filmmakers working with social movements,” Kitchell said. “It would be nice if we helped start a conversation about these issues, but I don’t know if Sundance is a place where you expect people to have really substantive conversations. I think you let people see the film and take away their own reactions. This film is more of a long-distance march in terms of how it affects people.”
Follow @fiercegreenfilm on Twitter for updates about A Fierce Green Fire. And check back here in January as Bruce Barcott follows the film to Sundance.
Bruce Barcott was a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow in nonfiction and is the author of The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw and The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier. He writes frequently about the outdoors and the environment for such publications...Bruce Barcott was a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow in nonfiction and is the author of The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw and The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier. He writes frequently about the outdoors and the environment for such publications as the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Harper's, and Sports Illustrated.MoreClose
OnEarth is published by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The opinions expressed by its editors and writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more.