Saturday, December 27, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The headline: The Green Chain just won "El Prat De Llobregat Award" (the Award of the City El Prat de Llobregat") at the 15th Annual Festival Internacional de Cinema de Medi Ambient (FICMA 2008) in Barcelona.
This is me (Mark Leiren-Young) looking stunned next to the award's presenter, Lluís Tejedor, the Mayor of El Prat, the suburb of Barcelona that hosts FICMA.
I'm still waiting for the official translation for all the details of the award, but the explanation that I got after being handed the trophy is that the City of El Prat honours a film that deals with themes they feel are important and need to be discussed. The award is a very cool, very heavy metal sculpture that is going to cost a fortune to Fed Ex from Barcelona, but it'll be worth it...
The entire day of our premiere was a surreal one, which seems fitting since this is Salvador Dali's hometown and the signature buildings are by Antoni Gaudi.
The film screened at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning and the festival was thrilled with the turnout. The subtitles for the movie are in catalán. And I quickly discovered that the catalán translation of "I love trees" is "Jo estimo el arbres."
Following the screening there was a lengthy q&a session where the audience asked about the movie and about the Canadian environmental scene. My translator for the Q&A was Carmen Estevez, who told me at lunch that she got involved with the festival through her brother. I asked what her brother did with the festival. She said, "he's an actor." Then she told me that he's an actor who starred in one of my favourite TV series of all time, The West Wing, and a few little films like... ya know... Apocalypse Now... Yep, her brother is Martin Sheen.
Following the q&a the festival presented a mini-conference with four heavy hitters from the Spanish environmental scene, including Fundacion Mas Arboles -- which appears to be the group in the country for people who love trees and Maderas Nobles de la Sierra de Segura ("an agro-forestry company specializing in native tree plantation management with the aims of forest restoration and the ecological production of high-value timber.") The "administrador de Maderas Nobles" Juan Valero told me after the movie that he's hosting a conference next year about forestry issues and he'd like to arrange bring back the movie... and me... So just to cover all bases I'm planning to take a sip out of the Canaletes fountain which, according to legend, insures visitors will return to Barcelona.
A few hours later it was time for the awards ceremony. I didn't think we were eligible for anything, so I sat at the back. But just before the presentation started, one of the organizers suggested I sit up front with the other filmmakers since the director of the festival might want to introduce us.
After cheering for several other winners I heard the man at the microphone mention "The Green Chain" and I figured he was introducing the filmmakers. Then he said my name and I looked for someone who spoke english to tell me whether I was supposed to stand or... and that's when everyone started applauding and as I sat still in my seat the Argentinian filmmaker a few seats over began waving for me to move. Then the organizers started waving for me to move. I finally got the hint, ran to the stage and gave one of the shortest acceptance speeches on record...
I thanked FICMA for inviting our movie, said "muchos gracias" and hugged the Mayor of El Prat. After the ceremony was over I ran into another ceremony... The night before a woman gets married here she celebrates by dancing in the streets. As I was watching the dance, the bride to be waved for me to join her. So I celebrated the award by dancing something sort of Flamenco-like in the square just in front of the theatre. According to a friend from Buenos Aires whatever I was doing was as close to the Flamenco as whatever the bride-to-be was doing...
So that's the story from Barcelona...
And I guess this is the official victory dance!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Jillian Fargey for her performance in The Green Chain.
Congratulations to Jillian and Green Chain co-star Babz Chula who won the Leo for "Best Guest Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series" for her role in jPod.
The Green Chain also received major kudos from Mockfest in Los Angeles where it was one of only three nominees for "Best Feature."
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Jillian Fargey is nominated for "Best Supporting Performance by a Female
in a Feature Length Drama" for her amazing performance as Jenni Holm in The Green Chain. Jillian received an honourable mention from Women in Film & Television's for their Artistic Merit Award for her "riveting" performance as Jenni Holm in The Green Chain.
Tricia Helfer is nominated for her dominating "Lead Performance by a Female in a Feature Length Drama" for her role in "Walk All Over Me." Tricia was previously nominated for a Leo for her performance in an episode of "The Collector" written by The Green Chain's Mark Leiren-Young
And Babz Chula is nominated for "Best Guest Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series" for her work in the much mourned CBC series, J-Pod.
Let's hope for a hat trick!
Monday, May 19, 2008
The Beachcombers is so iconic, that even if you never saw CBC’s long-running made-in-BC family drama you probably remember it anyway.
In 1990 I was lucky enough to interview actor Robert Clothier (aka the ever cranky Relic) about the final season of The Beachcombers – which wasn’t just Canada’s longest running series, but was challenging Bonanza for the title of longest running drama series ever. And even though I’d never been a fan of the show, his passion for it was so genuine that I found myself missing it desperately and furious at the Torontonians at CBC head office who’d taken a chainsaw to part of BC’s culture.
Jackson Davies (who played RCMP officer Constable Constable on The Beachcombers) has fought to revive the series ever since it left the airwaves and he helped produce two highly rated TV movies that reunited the surviving cast members – and introduced a new generation of stars, and viewers, to one of Canada's most mythic meeting places, Molly’s Reach and the not so mythical land of Gibsons, B.C.
When we launched The Green Chain podcast the idea was to get different perspectives on BC’s forests and it hit me that for a lot of people around the world, the image they have of our forests, our loggers and our trees comes from watching Nick, Relic, Jessie and Constable Constable fight their weekly battles over those drifting logs.
These days Jackson is teaching film at Capilano College and starring in The Producers at the Arts Club’s Stanley Theatre. I met Jackson at Listel O’Douls in downtown Vancouver to talk about the death of The Beachcombers, the death of real-life beachcombing and how the whole world came to Molly’s Reach.
Click here to check out the latest Green Chain podcast. Coming up on future episodes I'll be talking trees, faith and getting scared sacred with Velcrow Ripper.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
So why have I avoided the "m" word? Because The Green Chain is a lot of things, but This Ain't Spinal Tap... What's exciting about Mockfest is they get that doc style films don't have to be comedies to work.
If you're in Los Angeles be sure to check out our LA premiere.
And if you know someone in Los Angeles, be sure to send this their way!
Here's the scoop on Mockfest:
MOCKFEST 2008 FESTIVAL INFORMATION
MISSION & OBJECTIVE
Our mission is to showcase the best mockumentaries from around the world, gathering fans and filmmakers together to celebrate the beauty and brilliance of the mockumentary genre at the center of it all, Hollywood, California.
ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
MOCKFEST is the first film festival solely devoted to the mockumentary, a groundbreaking film style capable of bending reality and shaping human perceptions. MOCKFEST features mockumentaries of all types and lengths, comedic, dramatic, and experimental, and will showcase works from the past, present and future. The festival's most highly prized characteristic in filmmaking is innovation. All films that are selected to appear at the 2008 festival will have that in common.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
The story includes an interview with The Green Chain's Mark Leiren-Young.
``The idea isn't to lecture people, but to have people identify with the characters and . . . open their eyes to the larger issues,'' said Mark Leiren-Young, the director of The Green Chain, a 2007 movie about the many facets of the forestry industry.
``The whole point of this movie is to get people talking about the real issues from an educated position. The dialogue goes nowhere when it devolves into ignorant blanket statements about which side is right and which side is wrong,'' said Leiren-Young.
``The best way to effect change is to bring all areas of the debate to the stage, and let the audience make their own decision. That way it's real because the viewer has internalized the argument and made it his or her own.''Here's the full list of recommended eco-films...
The Lorax (1972): There's no doubt Dr. Seuss moulded the minds of young people with his book, and later this TV adaptation, about a community that cut down all its valuable trees for profit, and later paid the environmental price.
If You Love This Planet (1982): Dr. Helen Caldicott's lecture to a group of college students about the dangers of nuclear war set the tone for most of the films that would follow by laying out in clinical terms our capacity for self- destruction. In this landmark award-winner from the NFB's Terre Nash, nuclear war is the trigger for environmental catastrophe, but its sheer sobriety in the face of a real threat seemed to permeate the popular psyche, and readjust our notions of public responsibility. A wave of anti-nuke sentiment followed.
An Inconvenient Truth (2006): Davis Guggenheim proved the power of a lecture captured on screen once more with this surprisingly dramatic examination of climate change via Al Gore. Thanks to Al Gore's recent Nobel Prize co-win, this Oscar-winning film will forever be seen as the tipping point in the environmental movement, as well as a genre hallmark.
Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006): Chris Paine's little movie is about the little car that could: the General Motors all-electric EV1, a zero-emissions vehicle that was introduced into California as an experiment in the late 1990s, and later destroyed by GM when it appeared the car - if mass-produced - had the potential of eliminating every service station in the state because it needed no gas or maintenance. The film is raw but it's personal, and proves what one person with an idea, some passion, and a camera can accomplish.
Manufactured Landscapes (2007): Jennifer Baichwal records Edward Burtynsky's photographic landscapes as they're being created, and shows us industrial ugliness in a different light. By revealing the poetry in the pictures, she proves how mankind has the capacity to redeem itself - even in the face of industrial horrors.
The Unforeseen (2007): Laura Dunn takes on a familiar story of developers vs. environmentalists and turns it into a meditative study on how we live, and how we choose to house ourselves.
Rivers and Tides (2001): Though not an environmental movie on its surface, this documentary about environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy redefines the way we perceive the natural world by making it into physical art objects.
Flow: For Love of Water
Fields of Fuel
The 11th Hour
Planet in Peril
The Future of Food
The Simpsons Movie
Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea
The Green Chain