Friday, March 21, 2008

The Green Chain Podcast: Antony Marcil, Forest Stewardship Council of Canada

The Forest Stewardship Council of Canada was an early supporter of The Green Chain. They helped with our research, wrote a letter to support us when we applied for a grant (which we didn't get, but still...) and former FSC Canada board member, John Wiggers, played a major supporting role in the making of the movie.

So when I started The Green Chain podcast series, I knew I had to interview the head of the FSC, Antony Marcil. I met him when I was in Toronto interviewing movie stars for The Georgia Straight at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. And this was definitely one of my favourites interviews during the festival. Okay, Sir Richard Attenborough, Paul Schrader, Kevin Bacon, Gabriel Byrne, Ewan McGregor, Jude Law, Michael Caine, Marjane Satrapi and Sidney Lumet weren't too dull either, but they didn't talk trees.

Here's the link to listen on iTunes.

Here's the intro from The Tyee podcast and the link to the story and audio options posted there.

One of Harry Potter's biggest magic tricks was letting the world know about the Forest Stewardship Council. When J.K. Rowling announced that the final installment of her beyond bestselling saga was going to be released on FSC certified paper, it was hard to miss the existence of an international organization that was founded in Toronto back in 1993 to look for better ways to manage the world's forests.

And when Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty made switching government papers to FSC certified paper part of his recent reelection campaign, it was a major triumph for Antony Marcil, president and CEO of FSC Canada since 2005.

Before taking over FSC Canada, Marcil spent 10 years as president and CEO of the World Environment Center. In 1997, he was included in the first worldwide listing of "The Top 100 Figures in Environment, Sustainable Development and Social Issues" by The Earth Times. He did a two year stint as "planner-in-residence" at the School of Planning, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo after devoting five years of his life to an unexpected way to save the planet: tax reform.

I met Marcil at the FSC office in downtown Toronto to talk about the history and future of the FSC, how tax reform could save the world and why he'd trash Canada's Ministry of the Environment.

And when I checked in just before posting this he was thrilled to tell me that there's so much demand for FSC-certified paper that FSC certified mills can't produce it fast enough. Fortunately, we don't need to worry about that since you're reading this online. . .

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Green Chain Script Scores a Canadian Screenwriting Award Nomination

Tony Wosk here with a special guest blog for The Green Chain. Usually I prefer to let Mark handle the blogging, but today is really a special circumstance. On behalf of the producers of the film, I wanted to congratulate our esteemed (and way too busy) writer/director Mark Leiren-Young on being named a finalist for the Writer's Guild of Canada’s 2008 Canadian Screenwriting Awards. Knowing all the wonderful films produced in Canada this past year, I find this peer voted award pretty darn cool.

From my first reading of The Green Chain, I always thought it was wonderfully written; and the script is actually why I got involved in the film in the first place, so it’s great to see that Mark’s being recognized for it and that others found the screenplay as compelling as I did.

Last year Sarah Polley won the award with her screenplay for Away From Her, which went on to garner an Oscar nomination.

This year the competition is just as fierce with screenwriters including Travis Macdonald (Normal), Clement Virgo & Chaz Thorne (Poor Boy’s Game) and Kari Skogland (The Stone Angel). Congrats to all of them as well.

Looking forward to the awards ceremony on April 14th, and not just because of the open bar.

(photo of Mark Leiren-Young by Tim Safranek, courtesy of The 2008 Cleveland International Film Festival.)


Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Green Chain Storms Cleveland

The airport just reopened after a blizzard and the city's still cold, but the audience at The Green Chain's American premiere couldn't have been warmer.

Writer/director Mark Leiren-Young and producer, Tony Wosk, both flew to Cleveland for the premiere and the response was fantastic.

Mark (that'd be me) joked before the movie about Ohio being a big forestry state. And that kicked the night off with a big laugh. The thrill for Mark and Tony was how many laughs there were - and how lovely the response was - from an audience that isn't necessarily raised on the politics of trees.

The movie was followed by a half hour "Question and Answer" session covering everything from the movie's shooting location, to Tricia Helfer's fearless performance as Leila Cole. And some members of the audience were surprised when the final credits started to roll and they realized our actors were actors and that this isn't a documentary -- a comment the movie has received after almost every screening we've done so far.

The Q&A continued at The Hard Rock Cafe when several audience members visited Mark and Tony with more questions and comments.

The Green Chain is part of the Cleveland International Film Festival's special "It's Easy Being Green" environmental program and is also featured as part of the festival's spotlight on new Canadian films. The movie was invited to Cleveland after festival director, Bill Guentzler, screened it at the Vancouver International Film Festival and decided to bring it home.

Mark's looking forward to meeting the audience at The Green Chain's second and final screening at the Festival, this Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. Okay, he's not looking forward to being awake at 9:30 a.m. but... he is looking forward to meeting anyone passionate enough about their movies to see them so early!